PBL girls track and field athletes set school records at IHSA Class 1A sectional meet and qualify for state meet; GCMS athletes earn state trip

PAXTON -- Sometimes, illness can strike at the most inconvenient of times.
That was the case for Paxton-Buckley-Loda junior Evie Ellis as she made a visit to a doctor for allergy and cold symptoms on Thursday -- the same day on which she was scheduled to run in the 1,600-meter run at the IHSA Class 1A Paxton Sectional.
“I haven't been feeling really well this week," Ellis said.
The doctor tested her breathing and, according to Ellis, said she had an extended asthma attack.
When she completed her mile run, she needed help, due to exhaustion, from coaches, trainers and family to get off the track. 
However, it was a worthwhile exhaustion, as Ellis not only earned a first-place finish to qualify for the 1A state meet, but broke the school record in the process.
“I knew going in that it was going to be a little rough, but I'm really happy with how I finished today," Ellis said.
Ellis set the school record with a time of 5:33.52.
“That was really what I was going for. I figured if I got that (school record," Ellis said. "I could just kick two goals of mine out of the way.”
Along with second-place finisher Abby Lewis (5:38.47) of Bloomington Central Catholic and third-place finisher Layken McGuire (5:42.54), Ellis also outran fourth-place finisher Faith Provost (5:48.63) of Kankakee McNamara. In the 3,200-meter run, Provost won the first-place finish with a time of 12:23.89.
“I did know that I had really good competitors I had to beat," Ellis said. "Faith Provost is probably one of the best runners in the state, and I've always really looked up to her, so it was really nice to be able to compete with her today.”
When Ellis competes at the IHSA Class 1A state meet, the preliminaries of which will take place next Thursday at O'Brien Field in Charleston, she will be making her first-ever state appearance in track and field. Ellis was a state qualifier in cross country during her sophomore year and made two IESA state cross country appearances as a junior high school runner.
“I'm really excited to see how the state meet goes and see how I can perform there," Ellis said. “My goal is to break my record. That's my only goal right now – just to try to compete and see how I do there against all the runners that are in my event and in my heat.”
PBL senior Olivia Frichtl also set a school record with a first-place finish, as she broke her own mark in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 48.77 seconds.
“It feels pretty good," Frichtl said. "It's exciting.”
With her first-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles race, Frichtl is ending her PBL career with her first-ever trip to the IHSA state meet before continuing her track and field career at Illinois College. 
“That's kind of the icing on the top of my senior year," Frichtl said. "It's been a really good year. We all kind of came together as a team, and I'm really excited to see where the program goes after I leave. (I hope to) just get out there (at state), run fast and break some more records. That's the plan.”
Frichtl also took part in PBL's state-bound 4x100 relay, which finished third with a time of 51.54 seconds. 
As a freshman, Hannah Schwarz, who ran the fourth leg of the relay, will be making her first state appearance.
“I'm really excited," Schwarz said. "It'll be a really good experience to build up my high school career in track and field on. I just want us to have fun and try our best, and possibly get a personal record at state.”
Frichtl and junior teammate Lexi Johnson -- who earned a state trip in the long jump and, along with Mackenzie Bruns, was part of PBL's 4x100 relay tam -- are not the only track athletes from a Ford County-based school going to the IHSA Class 1A state meet in multiple events.
GCMS junior Delanie Dykes is going to state in the 800-meter run and 400-meter dash, Dykes placed first in both races, with a time of 2:23.07 in the 800-meter run and 1:00.58 in the 400-meer dash.
“I feel good. I feel really confident going to state," Dykes said. "I feel confident at the time where I need to be.”
Last year, Dykes finished sixth in the state meet in the 800-meter run. She also qualified in the 400-meter dash that year, but could not advance past preliminaries.
This year, Dykes has bigger aspirations.
“I want to come back in the 800, and also want to place in the 400," Dykes said. "Last year at state, I was really tried from (the 800 race), and I didn't perform as well as I could in the 400. This year, I think I can balance it to where I can perform well in both.”
Dykes also ran the fourth leg of GCMS's 4x800 relay team, which qualified for state with a time of 10:18.98, good enough for another first-place finish.
“It's exhausting, but I love doing it," Dykes said. "I loved helping my 4x800 team go to state, so it's worth it.”
Goin, a GCMS senior, said she was happy to have Dykes aboard for the 4x800 race, along with Abigail Sizemore and Leah Martin.
“She was definitely our big push," Goin said. "She really pushed us to the end, and we needed it, for sure.”
The Falcons' time in the 4x800 relay broke a personal record by about 30 seconds.
“(That's) absolutely incredible. I did not expect it to go that well," Goin said. “It just went as well as we could have hoped for.”
Goin, Dykes and Martin were part of GCMS's state-bound 4x800 relay last year as well.
“It's exciting to go back again," Goin said. "It was one of my goals at the beginning of the season, and to get to go in a relay is the best feeling.”
The goal for this year's state met is to “just to go out and have fun," Goin said.
“It's my senior year, and it's an incredible accomplishment to make it to state," Goin continued. "Once we get there, we'll just do our best, but have fun, of course.”
Like Ellis and Frichtl, Johnson is making her first trip to the state meet after placing first in the long jump with a personal-record leap of 16-4 1/2.
“I've just been working hard and practicing a lot," Johnson siad. “I hope to just keep improving.”
Also similar to Ellis and Frichtl, PBL junior Emily Graves reached a school record, as she tied her own mark in the pole vault with a height of 10-0, good enough for second place in the sectional.
Graves said she hopes to break the record again at the state meet.
“I'm really hoping for a personal record because it's time for a new one," Graves said. “I think 10-6 is definitely in the near future.”
GCMS junior Claire Retherford is making a return trip to state after finishing second in the discus with a throw of 114-4.
“It took a lot of work to get a little better each time, and it's awesome to go back," Retherford said.
The throw was two feet off her personal record. 
“It was pretty close," Retherford said. "We still have things to work on, but it looked really good.”
Retherford qualified for state last year, finishing in preliminaries with a throw of 97-10.
“I definitely (want to) do better than last year," Retherford said. "I went to state and didn't do well, so I'm just going to go in there with an open mind. Hopefully, a personal record is the best thing I can do.”
As a team, PBL finished second in the 19-team meet with a score of 63 1/2 while GCMS placed third with a score of 62.
“I'm really proud of the team," Frichtl said. "We really just came together and stepped in where we needed to step in, and I'm really proud of the girls.”
Frichtl finished third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.02 seconds while Gracie Bradshaw placed 13th with a time of 20.01 seconds. Bradshaw also tied for eighth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 54.46 seconds while Sizemore finished fifth with a time of 53.61 seconds.
Schwarz placed third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.4 seconds while GCMS's Megan Meunier and Haley Brown finished sixth and 16th, respectively, with times of 13.7 and 14.37 seconds. 
Schwarz and Dykes also placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 200-meter dash with times of 27.36 and 27.51 seconds. GCMS's Megan Meunier finished 11th with a time of 28.83 seconds and Lexi Johnson finished 13th with a time of 28.97 seconds.
Retherford finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 32-9 while teammate Ryleigh Brown placed 19th with a toss of 25-5 1/2 and PBL's Emma Stocking and Savanna Davis finished 20th and 27th, respectively, with throws of 24-11 1/2 and 19-6 1/2. 
“It's still pretty good," Retherford said.
In the 800-meter run, GCMS's Michaela Dykes finished fourth with a time of 2:35.54 while PBL's Marissa Arnette and Yami Domingo placed 11th and 19th, respectively, with times of 2:47.11 and 3:23.3.
GCMS's Gabby Dammkoehler finished fifth in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 13:57.97 while teammate Scout Rouley finished 12th with a time of 15:58.71 and PBL's Katie Harms placed eighth with a time of 14:56.63.
Martin placed fifth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:55.84 while Dammkoehler finished 13th with a time of 6:25.88 and Harms placed 18th with a time of 6:50.99.
In the 4x200 relay, GCMS (Payton Beach, Haley Brown, Ryleigh Brown and Megan Meunier) finished sixth with a time of 1:56.86 while PBL (Gracie Bradshaw, Emily Graves, Cheyanna Ratcliff and Faith Johnson) placed ninth with a time of 2:06.
In the 4x400 relay, GCMS (Michaela Dykes, Kennedy Fanson, Jacey Goin and Delanie Dykes) finished sixth with a time of 4:34.15 while PBL (Marissa Arnette, Alyssa Hofer, Emily Graves and Evie Ellis) placed ninth with a time of 5:02.11.
PBL's Ariana Gentzler tied for sixth in the high jump with a leap of 4-6 while teammate Mackenzie Bruns finished eighth with a jump of 4-6.
In the triple jump, Johnson finished sixth with a leap of 32-4 while Gentzler placed ninth with a jump of 31-2. GCMS's Payton Beach finished fourth among four competitors in the pole vault with a height of 7-6.
Gentzler also tied for 10th in the long jump with a leap of 14-5 1/2 while GCMS's Haley Brown finished 16th with a jump of 13-7 1/4 and the Falcons' Isabel Eichelberger tied for 19th with a leap of 13-0 3/4.
The PBL 4x800 relay team (Yami Domingo, Olivia Wilson and Marissa Arnette) finished ninth with a time of 13:37.53. GCMS’s 4x100 relay team (Kennedy Fanson, Jacey Goin, Haley Brown and Megan Meunier) finished ninth with a time of 55.81 seconds.
In the discus, Gentzler finished 13th with a throw of 82-7 while teammate Diane Estrada finished 22nd with a throw of 62-8 and GCMS's Rachel Zheng tied for 20th with a throw of 63-2.
PBL's Alyssa Hofer and Gracie Smith finished 14th and 17th, respectively, in the 400-meter dash with times of 1:11.46 and 1:12.33 while GCMS's Kylee Mueller placed 23rd with a time of 1:21.03.
“PBL girls track ran amazing today. I know there are a number of girls who broke personal records," Ellis said. "Even though some of them may not have qualified for state, a personal record is as well as you can do. I'm really proud of all the girls and how they've been training this year. We've got a great team this year, and I'm excited to see what we can do next year.”
IHSA Class 1A
At Paxton
Team scores
1. Ridgeview/Lexington, 72; 2. Paxton-Buckley-Loda, 63.5; 3. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, 62; 4. Bloomington Central Catholic, 50; 5. Clifton Central, 49; 6. Milford/Cissna Park, 44; 7. Tri-Valley, 37; 8. Fisher, 36; 9. Kankakee McNamara, 29.5; 10. Dwight, 28; 11. Watseka, 20; 12. Blue Ridge, 17; 13. Heyworth, 14; 14. St. Anne, 12; 15. Tri-Point, 10; 16. LeRoy, 10; 17. Iroquois West, 1; Momence, NS; Bloomington Cornerstone Christian, NS.
100-meter dash
1. Mya Tinsley (RID) 12.94*; 2. Gabby Wessels (MCP) 13.23*; 3. Hannah Schwarz (PBL) 13.4; 4. Jackie Houck (TP) 13.52; 5. Haley Riechers (STA) 13.68.
GCMS results -- 6. Megan Meunier, 13.7; 16. Haley Brown, 14.37.
200-meter dash
1. Mya Tinsley (RID) 26.69*; 2. Emily Duis (MIL) 26.89*; 3. Hannah Schwarz (PBL) 27.36; 4. Delanie Dykes (GCMS) 27.51; 5. Jackie Houck (TP) 27.87.
GCMS results -- 11. Megan Meunier, 28.83.
PBL results -- 13. Lexi Johnson, 28.97.
400-meter dash
1. Delanie Dykes (GCMS) 1:00.58*; 2. Jules Grunloh (RID) 1:02.1*; 3. Shae Ruppert (HEY) 1:04.96; 4. Caitlyn Murphy (TP) 1:04.97; 5. Koli Croy (DWI) 1:07.51.
PBL results -- 14. Alyssa Hofer, 1:11.46; 17. Gracie Smith, 1:12.33.
GCMS results -- 23. Kylee Mueller, 1:21.03.
800-meter run
1. Delanie Dykes (GCMS) 2:23.07*; 2. Emmerson Tarr (LER) 2:26.91*; 3. Abby Lewis (BCC) 2:28.05; 4. Michaela Dykes (GCMS) 2:35.54; 5. Noelle Ghrer (BCC) 2:37.61.
PBL results -- Marissa Arnette, 2:47.11; 19. Yami Domingo, 3:23.3.
1,600-meter run
1. Evie Ellis (PBL) 5:33.52*; 2. Abby Lewis (BCC) 5:38.47*; 3. Layken McGure (RID) 5:48.63; 4. Faith Provist (KMN) 5:48.63; 5. Leah Martin (GCMS) 5:55.84.
GCMS results -- 13. Gabby Dammkoehler, 6:25.88.
PBL results -- 18. Katie Harms, 6:50.99.
3,200-meter run
1. Faith Provost (KMN) 12:23.89*; 2. Eden Rainbolt (KMN) 12:46.03*; 3. Kendall Antons (CC) 13:18.51; 4. Anna Holland (HEY) 13:31.42; 5. Gabby Dammkoehler (GCMS) 13:57.97.
PBL results -- 8. Katie Harms, 14:56.43.
GCMS results -- 12. Scout Rouley, 15:58.71.
100-meter hurdles 
1. Alayna Stalter (FISH) 15.5*; 2. Julie Ramsey (DWI) 16.48*; 3. Olivia Frichtl (PBL) 17.02; 4. Natalia Garcia (BCC) 17.32; 5. Meghan Scott (DWI) 17.68.
PBL results -- 13. Gracie Bradshaw, 20.01.
300-meter hurdles
1. Olivia Frichtl (PBL) 1:00.58*; 2. Emmerson Tarr (LER) 2:26.91*; 3. Julie Ramsey (DWI) 49.01; 4. Lauren Christopher (TV) 51.56; 5. Abigail Sizemore (GCMS) 53.61.
PBL results -- T8. Gracie Bradshaw, 54.46.
4x100 relay
1. Ridgeview, 50.96*; 2. Milford/Cissna Park, 51.02*; 3. PBL (Lexi Johnson, Mackenzie Bruns, Olivia Frichtl, Hannah Schwarz), 52.46*; 4. Tri-Valley, 52.46; 5. Clifton Central, 52.62.
GCMS results -- 9. Kennedy Fanson, Jacey Goin, Haley Brown, Megan Meunier), 55.81.
4x200 relay
1. Milford/Cissna Park, 1:47.75*; 2. Ridgeview/Lexington, 1:49.05*; 3. Clifton Central, 1:53.05; 4. Blue Ridge, 1:56.44; 5. St. Anne, 1:57.23.
GCMS results -- 6. Payton Beach, Haley Brown, Ryleigh Brown, Megan Meunier, 1:57.86.
PBL results -- 9. Gracie Bradshaw, Emily Graves, Cheyanne Ratcliff, Faith Johnson), 2:06.
4x400 relay
1. Milford/Cissna Park, 4:15.12*; 2. Ridgeview/Lexington, 4:16.23*; 3. Dwight, 4:21.07; 4. Clifton Central, 4:24.23; 5. Heyworth, 4:32.62.
GCMS results -- 6. Michaela Dykes, Kennedy Fanson, Jacey Goin, Delanie Dykes, 4:34.15.
PBL results -- 9. Marissa Arnette, Alyssa Hofer, Emily Graves, Evie Ellis, 5:02.11.
4x800 relay
1. GCMS (Jacey Goin, Delanie Dykes, Abigail Sizemore, Leah Martin), 10:18.98*; 2. Tri-Valley, 10:26.42*; 3. Kankakee McNamara, 10:38.53; 4. Clifton Central, 10:40.98; 5. Watseka, 12:00.51.
PBL results — 9. Yami Domingo, Olivia Wilson, Marissa Arnette, Kylie Piatt, 13:37.53.
High jump
1. Natalia Garcia (BCC) 5-4*; 2. Sarah Stephens (BCC) 5-0*; 3. Caitlin Perez (STA) 4-10; 4. Polly Reynolds (BR) 4-8; 4. Chloe Myszka (TV) 4-8; 6. Akayhia Dixon (KMN) 4-6; 6. Ariana Gentzler (PBL) 4-6; 8. Mackenzie Bruns (PBL) 4-6.
Long jump
1. Lexi Johnson (PBL) 16-4 1/2*; 2. Emily Gresens (CC) 16-0 1/2*; 3. Alayna Stalter (FISH) 15-11 1/4; 4. Ella Larson (BCC) 15-5; 5. Alexis Hallden (FISH) 14-9 3/4.
PBL results -- T10. Ariana Gentzler, 14-5 1/2.
GCMS results -- 16. Haley Brown, 13-7 1/4; T19. Isabel Eichelberger, 13-0 3/4.
Triple jump
1. Emily Gresens (CC) 34-3 1/2*; 2. Ella Larson (BCC) 34-3*; 3. Alayna Stalter (FISH) 33-3; 4. Alexis Hallden (FISH) 32-8 1/2; 5. Camryn Winterland (RID) 32-4.
PBL results -- 6. Lexi Johnson, 32-4; 9. Ariana Gentzler, 31-2.
Shot put
1. Elizabeth Bowns (BR) 37-3*; 2. Asia Benson (WAT) 35-8*; 3. Lauren James (CC) 34-0 1/4; 4. Claire Retherford (GCMS) 32-9; 5. Gracie O'Brien (STA) 31-8.
GCMS results -- 19. Ryleigh Brown, 25-5 1/2.
PBL results -- 20. Emma Stocking, 24-11 1/2; 27. Savanna Davis, 19-6 1/2. 
1. Jayden Standish (RID) 116-5*; 2. Claire Retherford (GCMS) 114-4*; 3. Emily Bunting (WAT) 110-2; 4. Lucy Rieke (DWI) 108-6; 5. Asia Benson (WAT) 106-9.
PBL results -- 13. Ariana Gentzler, 82-7; 22. Diane Estrada, 62-8.
GCMS results -- T20. Rachel Zheng, 63-2.
Pole vault
1. Windsor Roberts (TV) 11-0*; 2. Emily Graves (PBL) 10-0*; 3. Natalie Johnson (TV) 9-0*; 4. Payton Beach (GCMS) 7-0.
* -- state qualifier


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