Huntley girls track and field places first at Rockford Auburn Invitational

By Delaney Cairns

Bright and early, at 6 a.m., the girls track and field team were awake and on the bus getting ready to run with everything they have in them. The athletes prepared on the bus with their protein drinks and black warm ups, proudly wearing the Huntley Track and Field logo on the left side of their chests. 

Today’s meet, the Rockford Auburn Invitational, is what is called a limited entry meet, this is where only three girls per team, per event, are welcomed to race. Huntley picks their top three runners for each event and brings along the rest to support their teammates.

Once the team arrives at the meet, they do a team warm up all together as a sign of unity, even if certain runners will not need to race for a while longer. This warm up is coordinated and organized to show the other teams attending the meet that Huntley means business and is here to win.

The first race to kick off the meet is the 4x800m relay where four runners per team run 800 meters around the indoor track. Huntley’s 4×800 consisted of runners Lauren Courtney, Mia Simons, Audrey Langhenry, and Brooke Garcia.

“Even though we did not win the race, we all ran very hard and pushed one another,” Simons said.

Following the 4×800 is the 3200 meter which if full of long-distance runners everyone admires because of their commitment even when no one is cheering, as it is the longest race. These runners included Brittney Burak, Emily Glass, and Molly Allen.

After the three heats of the 3200 are finished, the start of the 60 meter dash commenced with Huntley runners Makayla Baldwin, Jenna Belonax, and Melissa Aninagyei-Bonsu. Aninagyei-Bonsu came in fourth overall. Followed by the 60 meter hurdles and 800 meter run.

After these races was the 4×200 meter dash with Huntley’s team of Jenna Belonax, Melissa Aninagyei-Bonsu, Taryn Sargent, and Alex Johnson breaking the school’s record with a 1:46.66.

After the 4×200 came the 400 meter dash with runners Alyssa Kelly, Hailey Steiner, and Sammi Campanelli. Campanelli placed fourth overall.

Coming after the 14 heats of the 400 meter dash was the 1600 meter run. Breanna Burak placed third in this event. Next, runner Taryn Sargent won the 200 meter open with a time of 26.43.

Finally came the 4×400 meter relay, the most lively race of the meet as it is the last one, and if it is a close meet points-wise, may decide the winner. Huntley’s team consisted of athletes Jenna Belonax, Bailey Wilk, Sammi Campanelli, and Jessie Ozzauto. As these runners ran their race, the team lines up along the edge of the track and yelled organized chants for each of the Huntley runners as they pass by.

“H-U-N-T-L-E-Y WOOSH,” the team chanted.

While these running events were going, there were field events in the area of the middle of the track. These include high jump, triple jump, long jump, pole vault, shot put, and discus. Standout jumper freshman Alex Johnson made 5.75 meter in the long jump, a new personal record.

The meet was not officially completed until 2:45 p.m. when Huntley was able to walk away with a first-place plaque. This was a very proud accomplishment for the hardworking team as there were 29 teams at this event.

“I am so proud of my team and everything we do to be able to perform so well,” Aninagyei-Bonsu said.