CHARLESTON — Allison Geen and Jada Buehnerkemper were the only individuals to advance from Thursday’s preliminary round at the Class 1A Girls State Final Meet.
Geen qualified with a leap of 10-foot-1.25-inches in the pole vault and is currently ranked fourth heading into Saturday’s final at O’Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
Shabonna (Indian Creek) junior Reagan Gibson is ranked first, St. Joseph-Ogden junior Payton Carter is second and Seneca junior Taegan Jonnson is third.
Moroa-Forsyth senior Livia Bender, the defending Class 1A state pole vault champion, is ranked fifth.
St. Anthony sophomore Anna Greene and Newton sophomores Camryn and Karasyn Martin did not qualify for Saturday.
As for Buehnerkemper, she is ranked 12th in the high jump heading into the final day.
Buehnerkemper finished with a qualifying leap of 5-foot-1-inch.
El Paso-Gridley sophomore Aubrey Phillips is ranked first in the event; Newark junior Kiara Wesseh is second; Toulon (Stark County) senior Lindley Johnston is third; Glen Carbon (Father McGivney) sophomore Mia Range is fourth; Springfield (Lutheran) freshman Ainsley Johnson is fifth; Bismark-Henning-Rossville-Alvin) junior Ella McFarland is sixth; Elmhurst (Timothy Christian) freshman Elizabeth Alex is seventh; Farmer City (Blue Ridge) senior Alexis Wike is eighth; Bloomington (Central Catholic) sophomore Makayla Albrecht is ninth; Pleasant Plains freshman Anna Weber is 10th and Aledo (Mercer County) sophomore Molly Hofmann is 11th.
St. Anthony sophomore Mary Scheidemantel and Newton junior Gracie Smithenry did not qualify for Saturday.
Though Geen and Buehnerkemper were the lone individuals to advance, Newton’s 4x400-meter relay team did the same.
The team of Makayla McVicar, Elley Bennett, Sydney Kinder and Laney Hemrich finished first in their heat and fourth overall with a time of 4:07.40.
Hemrich put both hands over her head and smiled after crossing the finish line.
“All I saw was Sydney; that’s all I could pay attention to,” Hemrich said.
The first two legs of the relay saw Newton neck-and-neck with other teams until Kinder spread herself out from the rest of the pack in the third exchange to give Hemrich a chance as the anchor.
Kinder said she couldn’t be more proud of her team after the win.
“I like to play the catch-up game and I like to give Laney a shot at winning,” Kinder said. “I’m so proud of our team.”
All events begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The 4x400-meter relay race is the final scheduled event and starts at 4:20 p.m.
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