CHARLESTON — Alexus Jimson-Miller’s best was also the day’s best.
No Class 3A girls’ state track qualifier ran faster in the 100-meter hurdles in Friday’s preliminaries than the Danville High School senior, who was timed in 14.43 seconds.
Jimson-Miller had a near-perfect day on the track, helping the Vikings qualify for the finals in the 800 relay with a school-record time (48.21) and advancing to the nine-person finals individually in the 300 hurdles with the second-best qualifying time (44.01) in Class 3A.
“I went out and did my best,” Jimson-Miller said.
She will try to outdo herself in Saturday’s finals, which start at 10 a.m. at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
“My times can definitely get better,” said Jimson-Miller, who won heat races in both hurdles events Friday but didn’t have a career-best time in either one.
The one-lap relay featured sophomores on the leadoff (Michaela Jones) and anchor legs (Emone Davis) with Jimson-Miller running the second leg and junior Ambrosia Williams the third leg.
“We’re kind of young, but everyone is starting to click,” Jimson-Miller said.
Williams missed last year’s state meet with a pulled hamstring. Friday was her debut at Charleston.
“Once we got here, the nerves set in,” Williams said.
Danville’s sprinting depth is shown by how well the team has performed since senior Jorriel Stewart was sidelined in the Big 12 Conference meet with a hamstring injury.
“It hurt us a lot, but some of us had to step up,” Jones said. “We did, and now we’re here.”
Friday’s relay clocking places Danville first on the all-time area Honor Roll.
Jimson-Miller is finishing her prep career in the same manner she started it. As a freshman, she left state with three medals. She will double that total Saturday.
As a sophomore, she took a break from track and field.
“My freshman year, I knew I wanted to play soccer, but I ran track,” she said. “My sophomore year, I gave up on track a little and played soccer, but I came back to track as a junior and was excited to get back into it.”
She now has a college scholarship to continue running (at Miami, Ohio). Jimson-Miller also has the determination to make up for the misfortunes that marked the end of her junior year.
She was seeded third in the 100 hurdles at state but fell during a heat race and did not reach the finals. She competed in the 400 meters and ran a personal-best time, but she was two spots from earning a berth in the nine-runner finals.
“I don’t know what I was thinking running the 400 instead (of the 300 hurdles last year),” she said. “This is way better.“
She still has a preference for the 100 hurdles but no longer dreads the 300s.
“At the beginning I didn’t like the 300s, but I’ve put so much work into this year, I know I can definitely do it,” she said.
Jimson-Miller is ranked behind Peoria Richwoods senior Brenna Detra (43.45) in the 300 hurdles. Detra’s time is just ahead of the lifetime best Jimson-Miller achieved in Monday’s News-Gazette Honor Roll meet (43.56).
She likes being in a position where there are high expectations.
“I want to perform well,” Jimson-Miller said.