Ava Thomas can’t wait to see what she can accomplish.
The Batavia junior ran the 3,200 meters for the first time – and won the race with a time of 12:05.87 – at the Carlson-Anderson Classic held at Batavia High School on Thursday.
Batavia shined with the best overall standings with 159 points ahead of best Wheaton Warrenville South (112) and Burlington Central (96) for the top three.
The Bulldogs won the 4×100 relay, were second in the 4×400 and won six individual events.
Thomas was diagnosed with iron deficiency in his sophomore cross-country season, which proved to be a challenge in the ensuing track season last spring.
“I was coming home from training and I was super tired,” Thomas said. “I obviously wasn’t hitting the times when I was in first grade. It was tough. I finally went to the doctor and did a blood test [and they told me] ‘Yeah, your iron levels are really low.'”
Thomas takes iron supplements twice a day. She is obviously healthy and ready to ride.
“I’m really happy with where I am, so I just want to keep pushing myself to be the best I can be. [And] see when I can hit because I feel like I have a lot more in me and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”
Bulldogs senior Jessica Newburn dazzled with wins in the 200m (26.24) and 400m (1:01.52).
Katrina Schlenker won the 800 (2:18.04), while the Bulldogs also had event victories by Megan Schulhof in the pole vault (3.20 meters) and Alex Baumann in the shot put (11, 56 meters).
Brooke Reynolds of Burlington Central placed second in the 100 hurdles (17.24) just behind teammate and best friend Nina Tomko (17.08). Reynolds also anchored the 4×200 relay in her fifth-place finish.
Reynolds has a few tattoos that hold significant meaning. One sits by his ear and says “breathe”, a nod to the circumstances of anxiety.
The other, on her rib cage, is in memory of her father who died when she was younger. It represents his signature and his date of birth.
“It involves him being alive and important to my life and supporting me,” Reynolds said. “My mum is a long-distance runner, so having that in my family obviously motivates me. But my dad was a sprinter so [my brother and I] we both did sprints. We kind of had our side of running away from him…he was really, really good in college and high school too. “
Tomko and Reynolds drive to practice together every day.
“With her in most of the relays and most of the events that I do, like today, we were running the same events,” Reynolds said. “Having her in all of my events is my best thing because she’s the most supportive person on the track team.”
Burlington also had an individual win from Amanda Melton in the discus (36.55 metres).
Wheaton Warrenville South won the 4×800 relay (10:22.62) and had an individual win from Piper Lindsay in the 300 hurdles (48.48).
Natalie Buratczuk of St. Charles North won the high jump (1.60m), while Grace Schager of Glenbard North won the 1600m (5:01.86).
DeKalb placed fifth as a team, led by wins in the 4×400 relay. Sariyah Watson was second in the 100m (12.67), while Mia Adeoti took third place in the 100m hurdles (17.27).
Watson is now fully recovered from a right calf injury that caused her to miss the state meet, one she qualified for the first time in her college high school career.
“The week before state, I was training on a big hill and just stretched it,” Watson said. “I couldn’t walk on it, I couldn’t run on it.”
The motivation to return to competition and regain the level she was is fueling her this year.
“This year I tried to relax [and] don’t train too hard,” Watson said. … now I eat healthier, I stretch, I stretch dynamically before sleeping. “
Korima Gonzalez took second place in the 800 (2:24.88) and the Barbs’ 4×100 also placed second behind Batavia.
Plainfield East won the 4×200 (1:45.86) and had individual victories by Ava Mabry-Spencer in the 100m (12.34), Mazie Gierat in the long jump (5.38 meters) and Elissa Perkins in the triple jump (11.35 meters).