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STATEMENT GAMES: Taking rollercoaster rides in water polo and track

Page 1 Jada right

 Photo by Jeff Vorva

Shepard’s Jada Jackson shows her follow through during a recent practice in Palos Heights. Jackson took second place in the state in Class 3A Saturday in Charleston.

Shepard’s senior Jada Jackson’s love in track is throwing the discus.

At Prairie Junior High School in Alsip, she tried it all – running, jumping and throwing the shot. But discus won out as her favorite by her final year in high school.

“A lot of people think it’s boring,’’ she said.

Over the weekend, throwing the discus around was anything but boring. It was more of a rollercoaster ride as she finished second in the Illinois High School Association State Track and Field Meet in Class 3A Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois in Charleston.

While Jackson was taking her rollercoaster ride in the middle of the state, Mother McAuley’s girls water polo team was up north in Lincolnshire taking a white-knuckle ride of its own as it played in a wild state semifinal match with Naperville Central before losing, 7-5 and later lost to Stevenson, 9-4, to finish fourth.

Jackson had a sectional throw of 145 feet, 1 inch which was the best sectional distance in the state, ahead of Cary-Grove’s Nikki Freeman (142-9).

On Friday, a cold, rainy and windy day in Charleston, none of the 32 elite throwers could touch 140. Matea Valley’s Courtney Morgan was the leader with a 138-5. Freeman was at 128-4. Jackson was seventh with a 117-3.

But the next day, the weather was better and so were the throws. Jackson was hoping to become just the second Astro to win a state title (April Griffin won the 400 in 1997) but the Indiana State-bound thrower came up short. Freeman threw a 142-5 and Jackson was the only other competitor to break the 140 barrier with a 140-11.

Astros track coach Scot Rybarcyk was pumped up about Jackson’s season. Last year, she qualified for state but committed a foul and her distance was not recorded.

“Jada has continued to improve,” the coach said. “She went from about 100 feet her freshman year to 120 feet her sophomore year and last year she was just over 140. She got over 146 this year. Last year she went to state and didn’t know what she was getting into and had some struggles. But learning from that helped this year.”

Other top finishers from the area in Class 3A were Richards’ Kyla Jimmar in the 100 high hurdles with a time of 14.43 seconds and the Mother McAuley 4×200 relay team of Osayi Osaremwinda, Alexandria Bryant, Evelyn Gorman and Raquel Funches, which finished seventh with a 1:43.40.

In Class 1A, Chicago Christian’s 4×800 team of Allie Boss, Alexis VanRyn, April VanRyn and Jill VanDyk finished fourth with a 9:54.77. April VanRyn took seventh in the 3200 with an 11:29.33 and Rylei Jackson was ninth in the 100 with a :12.71.

McAuley’s bid for a fourth water polo state championship was ended by Naperville Central after a back-and-forth battle with Naperville and led 4-2 heading into the final period. But Naperville scored five of the game’s final six points to win, 7-5. Maggie Hennigan scored two goals for McAuley and Paulina Correa, Erin Breakey and Claire Mueller scored one goal each and Mueller added three assists.

In the third-place game, Hennigan had three of the team’s four goals.

The Mighty Macs (26-8-1) won their quarterfinal game over Conant, 14-4, on Friday as Hennigan scored three goals and Mueller, Chloe Ryan, Correa and Julia Olivares two each. Goalie Geena Peyton had 16 saves. 

The team won state titles in 2002, 2003 and 2007.

 

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