There’s a short list of girls track athletes who have won four individual events in one Central Suburban League South division championship meet.
Evanston senior Parker English added that feat to her already impressive career resume Thursday at windswept Maine South.
English claimed titles in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter dashes — breaking her own meet record — and in the long jump as the victorious Wildkits turned in one of their most balanced title meet performances in the past decade.
Outscoring the competition in the 6-team field by a wide margin in the field events, Evanston won 11 events overall and piled up 207 points to reclaim the team crown over defending champion New Trier (180). Maine South (124.5), Niles West (78.5), Glenbrook South (65) and Waukegan (19) followed in order.
English became the first ETHS female to win four events at one league meet since Hall of Famer Shalina Clarke ruled the 200, long jump and both hurdles races back in 2004. And she’s only the fourth runner in league history — along with Adrienne Slaughter of Evanston, Shakedia Jones of Waukegan and Mary Nardini of New Trier — to rule the 100, 200 and 400 on the same day.
Coach Fenton Gunter’s decision to let English attempt four individual events came partly because of the emergence of enough younger runners so the speedy senior wasn’t needed on any relay teams. That might not change for the sectional meet next Thursday at Niles West, or for the Class 3A state finals the following weekend if all goes according to Gunter’s plan.
“She’ll stay in those four events next week, too,” Gunter said. “Hopefully we can get in with the other girls in the relays. The rest of them understand their roles, that they’re the ones who have to get us through. Then, we’ll see where we are.
“Parker’s in good company — real good company — compared to the girls we’ve had here in the past. We generally don’t put a girl in four individual events. She’s ready to run, and it’s just a matter of doing her job, what we need her to do. That 55 (55.61) in the 400 in this kind of wind was really something. She’s only run the 400 three times this year, and two of those times she ran 55s against the wind.”
English fought past an early challenge from New Trier’s Tara Smart and broke her own conference record in the 400 with a winning time of 55.61 seconds. English set the previous mark of 57.36.
She also turned in winning efforts in the 100 (12.85), 200 (26.49) and long jump (17-feet, 7.25 inches).
Evanston also counted a pair of individual wins from Shahara Mitchell in the shot put (39-2.25) and discus (102-8), plus victories by Latalee Lawrence in the triple jump (35-1.5), Ashley Vesotsky in the 800 (2:24.04), Alexia Harvey in the 100 hurdles (15.93) and the 400 and 1600 relay teams.
In the 400, the Wildkit quartet of Lawrence, Harvey, Remy Amarteifio and Astraya Alexander combined for a winning time of 49.48. The 1600 team of Sakor, Amarteifio, Lawrence and Miranda Dangerfield nosed out New Trier by a margin of 4:07.65 to 4:07.73.
Contributing 2nd place individual finishes were Dangerfield in the 100 (13.09), Amarteifio in the 300 hurdles (47.00), Harvey in the 200 (27.26), Genora Garcia in the shot put (personal best 36-10.5) and sophomore Gabriell Watson in both the triple jump (34-7) and high jump (5 feet).
Vesotsky has steadily lowered her times in the open 800, but will likely stick to the 1600 in the postseason after finishing third in the conference race in 5:30.77. Her clever effort in the 800 was enough to pull away from Maine South’s Kalina Gardiner around the final curve after the two runners competed shoulder-to-shoulder for most of the race up until then.
“It’s nice to win a conference championship, because I didn’t expect it,” said Vesotsky, who wasn’t aware she was seeded No. 1 prior to the race. “I just ran for the team and tried to do my best. The wind wasn’t so bad, I’ve definitely been at meets where it was way worse. I just tried to run my race and run smart, not try to be a hero.
“I’ve been working on my kick all season and it’s definitely improving. I saved it for the end.”