Sprinting to a spot at state

On March 7, HHS hosted the Fox Valley Conference indoor track & field championships.


Girls track runners from various schools meet with their coach one last time to hear a pep talk before they take to the track and compete.

By Carrie Willig

On Tuesday afternoon, March 7, bright yellow buses lined up in a row outside door 10. As the doors folded open, a parade of girls flowed out, whooping and high-fiving one another. As each individual found their way inside HHS, their excitement and nerves reached their peak. It was time to compete in the Fox Valley Conference indoor track & field championships. This event serves as a vital meet to help prepare all track teams for the Illinois Prep Top Times meet: the unofficial indoor state meet on March 25.

As the girls were warming up, family and friends of the participants were trickling in through the fieldhouse doors. They found their way to the steel bleachers and looked out to observe the gym. Over to the left were massive cushioned pads, situated behind towering bright orange poles. To the right, an announcer, a judging table and a stack of innumerable hurdles could be found. What demanded everyone’s attention, however, was the blur of colors. Red flashed into and out of view, blue was pole vaulting and purple was practicing the correct form for the shot put. There was nine colors total, each representing a different school’s team. The FVC includes all schools near the Fox Valley area, such as Cary Grove, Hampshire.

From 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., the track was bustling with activity. Various events, such as the triple jump, the 4 x 800-meter relay and the 60-meter hurdles were taking place. Often, two or more events would occur simultaneously, leaving the audience with no sense of boredom. 

At the end of the meet, it was announced that Huntley was the conference champion and took home the golden trophy. Many girls helped to contribute to the first-place win, such as Victoria Evtimov and Alexandria Johnson, the first and second-place winners of the 60-meter dash. In addition, Brittney Burak and Ally Panzloff placed first in the 800-meter run and the shot put events, respectively.

The girls have been practicing for four months to get to where they are now, and associate head coach Bradley Gallaugher could not be more proud.

We have a lot of girls standing out and contributing to accomplishing great things this year,” Gallaugher said. “This team’s unselfishness is incredible [and] all [of] the girls are working really hard and being extremely flexible to be able to contribute to a really deep team of talented athletes.”

It takes discipline and dedication to be successful on the track team, but it also requires great leadership, which is exactly what head coach Jason Monson provides. He stresses the importance of learning from your mistakes and successes optimistically. 

“I love Coach Monson!” sophomore Abbie Williams said. “He creates a really great environment and he’s always really supportive.”

Luckily for Coach Monson, the girls make his job a little easier. Each one displays grit and ambition; they all want to achieve success just as much as Monson. And as the team continues to flourish, parents get to be there every step of the way.

“I’ll never forget the day when I first saw [my daughter] pole vault,” parent Tracy Kilvinger said. “I was very proud to see her so far out of her comfort zone and [trying] something new in high school.”

Thanks to great guidance, advice and encouragement from various coaches, teammates and family members, many girls have been projected to compete at the IHSA state championships on May 18 and 19.

As long as Huntley continues down the path they are on, there should be no issues bringing home a couple of medals. To motivate her team, Abbie Williams gives her best piece of advice: 

Run your own race,” she said. “Don’t compare yourself to others, [because] progress is progress.”