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High school girls track: Minooka wins final home invitational

MINOOKA – The Minooka girls track and field team hosted its annual invitational Thursday night.

It also was senior night as this was the only home meet for the Indians this season.

The tradition of success, built by coach Kevin Gummerson, continued as Minooka won for the sixth consecutive year, scoring 157 points in outdistancing Metea Valley by 20 points (137). Plainfield South was third with 125 and Lincoln-Way Central finished fifth with 68 in the eight-team meet.

The last time competing on the home track brought sentimental feelings for some of the seniors.

Brooklyn Bachmann, the three-sport athlete and the Herald-News Girls Basketball Player of the Year, won the pole vault with a jump of 9-6.

"This is so bittersweet," Bachmann said. "I'm excited for college, but I'm big on my school, team and community.

"Tonight means a lot. This is the last time I ever get to compete at Minooka High School. [The late] Mark Smith was my coach and he meant so much to everyone here and my goal is to make it to state again in the pole vault and try and win it for him. I strained my hamstring on Tuesday so the pole vault was the only event I competed in tonight."

The Indians' Ashley Tutt, the much-decorated all-stater in both track and cross country, won the 800 (2:19.12) and anchored the winning 4 x 800 relay in a meet-record time of 9:46.70. She was joined on the relay by Emily Shelton (who also won the 1,600 in 5:19.92), Vivian Van Eck and fellow senior Gwen Bames.

"I thought about this a little today, but I didn't want to dwell on it," Tutt said. "It's sad and at the same time I'm so proud of what we have accomplished since my freshmen year in all sports. We won a state championship [in cross country] and have done so much on this track."

Mackenzie Callahan won the 3,200 (11:05.21) and was part of the third-place 4 x 400 relay.

"It's really starting to hit me that we will never compete at home again," Callahan said. "We are a family and that is going away, but what we have done together, we will always remember."

It wasn't all wins for the seniors, but the drive to compete at a high level and make the most of the last opportunity in front of the home crowd was motivation on this night.

High jumper Riley Suplet placed fifth with a personal best of 5-1.

"This was a great day," Suplet said. "I had the support of my family and my teammates, along with some great weather. To do your best at your last home meet is special. Knowing I can jump well gives me so much confidence going forward."

Another personal best came from Danielle Stubner, as she placed fourth in the shot put with a throw of 35-4.

"With only one home meet, all the seniors wanted to make this special and make our mark," Stubner said. "We have to set an example for the underclassmen that they can achieve. I have made so many great memories, from playing football to track and the special friends I have made at the school, this was all so fun."

Ali Mondrella, who placed sixth in the 800 with a season-best time of 2:28.33, summed up the feelings from most.

"I really can't put into words the relationships I've made because of track," Mondrella said. "Even when I'm having a bad day, it always puts me in a better mood when I come to practice or get ready for a meet. I was pretty emotional today, knowing this was the last home event we would have. Someone ask me about it during my first class and I started to tear up. It goes by way too fast."

Plainfield South had four champions, as Daijah Brown won the 400 (58.56) and then ran a fantastic anchor leg of the 4 x 400 relay to bring home the win (4:07.67). She was joined by Trinity Allen, Yanni Hilton and Vivica Phillips on the relay.

"I didn't feel like I was going that fast," Brown said. "That is good and it's my best time this outdoor season. I feel great knowing where I'm at with my training and where the season is at this time."

Lenae Ludy jumped 5-3 to win the high jump and Chisom Ogbozor won the triple jump (34-8).

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