Girls Track: Tigers have near misses at sectional
Elmwood Park's Michelle Accettura (right) runs, while Timothy Christian's Heidi Huiner stumbles in the 400-meter dash at the IHSA Class 2A Fenwick Sectional track and field meet. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 8:35AM
Elmwood Park’s girls track season came to an end on Thursday at Concordia University as the Tigers had a few close calls, but couldn’t qualify anyone for the state meet.
“We got blessed with a beautiful day, so at least we didn’t have to keep our kids under shelter the whole time,” said Elmwood Park head coach John Kingsmill. “We went out there and did our best in every event, but we wound up with a bunch of near misses.”
The closest of calls came through junior Michelle Accettura’s attempt at the 400 meters. She ran a personal-best time of 1 minute, 3.5 seconds, but finished in third just behind Fenwick’s Sarah Pezza, who crossed the line at 1:03.45. Accettura was in third coming down the straightaway when the second-place runner took a tumble, but Pezza wound up doing just enough to leap from fourth to second ending Accettura’s season, but leaving her with plenty of motivation for next year.
“She had been told that she was second by some, but from my vantage point that wasn’t the case,” said Kingsmill. “She was sitting in the tent, and the announcement for her didn’t come, and it started to set in that it wasn’t, and she got kind of emotional.”
The other third-place finisher was senior Patricia Wojcik in the shot put. She had second place heading into the final throw with her personal best of 33 feet, 6 inches, but she was bested by six inches in the last round.
Sophomore Ruth Langkamp took fourth in the pole vault with her height of 7-6. The 3200- and 1600-meter relays also took fourth place with season bests. Accettura was joined by fellow junior Bridget Ziegler and sophomores Linda Langkamp and Maira Figueroa taking 10 seconds off their previous best to run the 3200 in a time of 10:23. Freshman Gianna Rubino replaced Ziegler in the 1600 relay that also took fourth and improved their best time by 1.5 seconds.
“I thought our strength was in the middle distances, and that’s how we set things up in training,” Kingsmill said. “All those kids are returning and should be the strength of our program. My yearly hope is that they’re not one-season athletes, and they get involved and continue to improve and come back stronger than this year.”
The leadership shown by Wojcik and fellow senior Layla Alazawy will definitely be missed. They were true captains and helped get the team ready at meets and keep order during warm-ups and in practice. Wojcik will be tough to replace in the throwing events as well as there isn’t anyone to immediately fill that role at this moment.
“They made sure everyone was doing what they were supposed to do,” Kingsmill said of those seniors. “In terms of progress the kids made and final times and efforts, I am definitely happy for them because they all made considerable improvements. They were such a young and inexperienced team when they started, and they really did come a long way.”
The Tigers took seventh in the 14-team field with 24 points. Metro Suburban Conference rivals and champions Glenbard South won the meet with 131 points. Walther Lutheran was second (102) and host Fenwick finished third (87).