By BRADEN LAYER
---- — Battling the wind and rain Wednesday in Mattoon, the Effingham girls track team delivered a second-place showing among a stable of conference competitors. The Lady Hearts finished with 126 points on the afternoon, just barely falling short of the host team at the Mattoon Invitational. The Green Wave ended its day with 142 points for the victory on senior night.Despite the narrow loss, interim coach Norene Ault was thrilled with her squad's performance."This was kind of a preview for most of our conference teams," she said. "I was very pleased with our showing today."The highlights included a 2-3 finish in the 400, with Shayna Phillips coming in second and Claire Niebrugge close behind."Those two girls put in their best two times of the year," Ault said.Effingham also had a solid showing in the relays, excelling in both the 4x200 and 4x400."They ran awesome races," Ault said. "All of the girls had probably their best combined times today."In the field, Jantzen Michael continued Effingham's steady showing with her effort in the discus. Throwing against a tough wind, Michael braved the uncooperative weather."She threw really well for the conditions, she threw a good distance," Ault said.Though the Lady Hearts were edged out of first place, Ault said there were plenty of positives from the meet, especially against a number of competitors they will likely see again."This is what we are looking at for our conference," Ault said. "With Mattoon, Charleston, Mount Zion, it was a preview."No distances or times were made available to the coaches following the meet, nor were they sent to the Daily News by press time. The meet was delayed nearly an hour for weather-related conditions.