GENESEO — A staple of the Geneseo girls' track team in recent years is the ability to consistently peak when crunch time hits.|
Monday night provided more evidence the Maple Leafs are where they want to be.
Season-best performances in two relays and a sweep in the sprint events proved Geneseo is nearing its best with postseason looming. The Maple Leafs used the track dominance to score 171 points during the nine-team Geneseo Invitational at Bob Reade Field, winning the meet for the third consecutive season.
"They (the times) are exactly where we want them to be," first-year Geneseo coach Joni Nelson said. "We're going to see more drops."
In any event on the track, the Maple Leafs dominated. More importantly, they reached state-qualifying times or came close in each event.
The big performances came in the 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays, which each ran season-best times to fall below the state-qualifying mark. Katie Puls, Emily Ford, Halle Olson and Kelcey Adams rolled to the 34-second win in completing the 4x800 in 9:59.2. Two hours later, Hannah Waller joined Puls, Ford and Olson to snag the 4x400 title in 4:09.3.
Three days after setting a personal best in the 300 hurdles, Waller did the same in the 100 hurdles, coasting to the victory in 14.88. She then sprinted to the 300 win in 46.07. Both were state-qualifying times.
"I've made all my times," Waller said. "I'm not worried at all about it. I know what I can do."
Junior Rayne Bodeen reached the state-qualifying mark in winning the 100 in 12.38. Bodeen capped the night by running the anchor leg on the Maple Leafs' title-winning 4x100 (51.08 seconds) and 4x200 (1:48.75) relays.
The two were less than a second off the state time.
"It's the drive phase now where you have to buckle down and focus," Bodeen said. "The big (meets) are coming up. It's exciting to see how you'll do."
Hanna Vanderheyden (26.94) won the 200 and Olson (1:01.32) snared the 400. Continuing the night's theme, both performances were less than a second away from reaching the state mark.
Based on what has happened in recent years, the Maple Leafs will see those times drop as they seek their third consecutive Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference title on Friday.
"We train well enough that we start peaking at the right time of the year," Bodeen said. "We're coming to our best at the best time of the season."
Verbeke sets mark, Maroons take second: Moline senior Haley Verbeke won the 1600 in 5:13.48, establishing a personal best in the race. The key for Verbeke, who went below the state-qualifying standard, was skipping the 3200 to stay fresh for the mile since she ran both distance races in last Friday's Wheaton Warrenville South Invitational.
"I know my workouts have paid off," Verbeke said. "It's good to get these times now. ... I'm working toward doing well in postseason."
Moline, which took second with 133 points, earned three wins in the field events. Alli Patch (8-feet, 6-inches) won the pole vault, Hailey Cook (5-0) captured the high jump and Erika Lopez (124-2.5) took the discus.
United Township (59 points) placed third as a team. Rockridge (25) was seventh, and Orion (nine) finished ninth.
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