It may not seem like it, but there are other girls track and field teams in the Mid-Illini Conference besides Dunlap.
The talented, deep and young — yes, young — Eagles flew to their third straight conference meet championship Thursday at EastSide Centre in East Peoria. They won 12 of 18 events, finishing first and second in seven, and scored 226 points on a perfect spring day.
Runner-up Metamora (92) and third-place Morton (69) couldn’t have beaten Dunlap if they had combined scores.
Pekin got what it wanted. The Lady Dragons finished fourth with 51 points. They edged fifth-place Washington (50) by one point.
East Peoria (34), Canton (28) and Limestone (8) rounded out the standings in the eight-team field.
“I’m very happy with fourth place. One point was enough,” Pekin coach Christian MacEwan said Friday.
The Lady Dragons had one event champion. Sophomore Phalynn Ramer won shot put (35-1). That’s quite an accomplishment for someone who wasn’t on the Pekin team as a freshman and is just starting to learn how to throw the shot.
“Phalynn’s P.E. teacher convinced her to come out for our team and be a thrower,” MacEwan said. “I’m really excited about her future.”
Not even the pressure of being the No. 1 seed in shot put distracted Ramer on Thursday.
“She understood what being the top seed meant. That was a good thing,” MacEwan said.
Dunlap’s Kacie Evans finished second behind Ramer (33-6).
Pekin’s Tori Lodge exceeded expectations in the 100 and 200. Perhaps that’s where the Lady Dragons earned enough points to slip past Washington.
Lodge was third in the 100 (:13.37) and fourth in the 200 (:27.91). The senior’s time in the 200 is a PR (personal record).
“Tori’s runs were phenomenal,” MacEwan said.
Speaking of phenomenal, Metamora senior Gillian Urycki won high jump (meet record 5-9), long jump (19-0.25) and the 400 (:59.94), giving the University of Iowa recruit 13 wins at the conference meet in her high school career.
Athletes can compete in a maximum four events each year at the conference meet. That means Urycki won 13 of 16 times in four years. In baseball or softball terms, that’s an .812 batting average.
Dunlap apparently has a phenomenal freshman in Kiara Pauli.
She won the 100 (:12.62) and 200 (:25.58) and anchored the Eagles’ winning 4x100 (:48.98) 4x200 (1:42.93) relay teams Thursday.
Dunlap sophomores Ayah Aldadah and Miranda Kruiswyk finished 1-2 in the 1600 and 3200. Aldadah won in 5:20.62 and 11:17.10.