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Monday, May 17

One champion, many medals, all winners

Class A girls' state track local results       Send a link to a friend

(Photos will be posted tomorrow)

By Rick L. Hobler

[MAY 17, 2004]  My favorite sporting events are the ones where there are no losers. And while some sports enthusiasts (mostly guys) would say no such sporting event exists, I disagree. I covered one such event this past weekend.

The IESA Class A state track finals in East Peoria this past weekend, would qualify as an "all winner" event. Some girls were crowned state champions, many more were awarded medals for finishing as one of the top eight athletes in the state, and the rest of the approximately 1,000 girls, as far as I could see, were also winners. And as I reflected on the state track meet on a long drive out of state yesterday, I couldn't recall a single young lady who gave anything less than her personal best. Giving one's personal best always fits my definition of a "winner."

Indulge me a moment while I commend the last category of winners first. At this age level (and even at the high school level), I define "winners" as athletes who give their best individual effort regardless of their individual ability level. "Effort" is deserving of encouragement, praise and reward. And what I observed this year was nothing short of amazing!

I saw a little girl who cried as she ran the entire mile. I also saw her finish that mile. I saw another local young lady who left the track momentarily to "get sick," and then I saw her return to the track to finish her race. Another young lady had what I would describe as a "panic attack" just before her race began. She told one of the IESA officials and me that she "just couldn't do it." After a short encouraging talk from the IESA official and a couple of Kleenex from my pocket, she decided to try to run her race. I saw her finish second. I saw her calm, smiling and a little more mature as she walked off the track. I saw others competing with scuffed up knees, wrapped ankles and knee braces -- but regardless, they finished their events. I saw girls who knew they were finishing last run just as hard, maybe harder, than those who finished first.

On top of that, I heard girls encouraging, cheering on and befriending other girls, even though that "other girl" was a competitor on the track or in the field. I heard the fans cheer just as loudly for the last-place finisher, regardless of what school she was from, as they did for the top finisher. I didn't hear one bad attitude expressed by any girl anywhere around the track.

Great efforts plus great attitudes make each of these girls winners. Congratulations to each girl who competed and for the hours of commitment it took to get you to the state finals. Now to the other recognized winners.


[to top of second column in this article]

Logan County was able to garner one state champion this year, that being Chester-East Lincoln's eighth-grade 4 x 200-meter relay team consisting of Ashley Bonaparte, Bridgette Hyde, Emily Berglin and Kelsey Bunner. Having obliterated their competition all year, this fine group of girls was no less dominating as they faced the entire state of Illinois. The relay team won their event with a state record time of 1:51.55. Only four seconds back was the relay team from Carroll Catholic, who brought home a fourth-place finish.

At the team title level, while no local team won a state championship, the eighth-grade squad from Chester-East Lincoln was able to mount up the fourth-highest point total in the state. Due to a tie for first place, this gave C-EL the third-place state trophy. Carroll Catholic's team came in sixth at the eighth-grade level. Congratulations to these eighth-grade squads on their winning team efforts!

The county schools also brought home a load of medals. Medals are awarded for the top eight finishers in the state. Medals were awarded to competitors from Carroll Catholic, Chester-East Lincoln, Mount Pulaski and West Lincoln-Broadwell.

Multiple medal winners at the eighth-grade level included Kate Schonauer of Carroll Catholic, Ashley Bonaparte and Bridgette Hyde of Chester-East Lincoln, and Rachel Robertson of Mount Pulaski. The seventh-grade level produced one multiple medalist, Hilary Hobler from West Lincoln-Broadwell.

A complete (I hope) list of medal winners and their events follows:

Seventh grade

Shot put: Nettie Duncan (C-EL), Chrissy Schonauer (CC)

Long jump: Hilary Hobler (WL-B)

100 meter: Hilary Hobler

Eighth grade

Long jump: Rachel Robertson (MP), Kate Schonauer (CC), Ashley Bonaparte (C-EL)

100 meter: Ashley Bonaparte (C-EL), Kate Schonauer (CC)

200 meter: Ashley Bonaparte (C-EL), Kate Schonauer (CC), Rachel Robertson (MP)

400 meter: Bridgette Hyde (C-EL)

4 x 100 relay: Mount Pulaski, West Lincoln-Broadwell (Browning, Elliott, Hobler and Sheen)

4 x 200 relay: Chester-East Lincoln, Carroll Catholic

And to those who say "bah, humbug" to my suggestion that every girl was a winner this weekend, I say: "You should have been there!" Way to go, girls!!!


[Rick Hobler]

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