Girls Track: Burlington Central’s Autumn Conn medals in vault
By Dan Chamness For Sun-Times Media May 19, 2012 7:46PM
Jacobs senior Allie Virgilio competes in the triple jump on Friday. Virgilio finished in third in the Class 3A competition. | Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 1, 2012 11:54AM
Burlington Central coach Vince Neil knew that Autumn Conn was more than capable of challenging for the Class 2A pole vault state championship.
On Saturday, while competing at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Field, she came very close.
The University of Alabama-bound vaulter finished second with a leap of 12 feet. The winner, Bloomington Central Catholic junior Sarah Bell, also vaulted 12-0. Bell was awarded the state title on less misses.
“I thought we were headed to 13-0,” said Neil. “Autumn did a nice job today. She has a lot more in her. We expected her to finish very high and she met our expectations. Dave Burner worked with her on pole vault and she improved greatly.”
Bell and Conn both passed at 12-3 and went right to 12-6. Neither girl cleared the height.
“Looking back I wish she would have not passed on 12-3, but hind sight is 20-20,” said Neil. “Autumn knows everything you could possibly know about the vault. She is extremely knowledgeable. If you ask her about a competitor, she probably knows what they have done. She is an encyclopedia of vault knowledge.”
Every girl save Bell and Conn left the competition at 12-0. The event was packed with upperclassmen as only three medalists will return next year. Besides Bell, a freshman took third, while a junior took ninth.
Conn was not the only athlete to leave with hardware or the distinction of finishing in the top three. Huntley junior Omo Tseumah, who is battling a back injury for the last week, finished second with a leap of 5-6. The high jump title was won by Lyons Township Emma Haugen, who finished with a leap of 5-7.
“If I was healthy I could have done 5-8 or 5-9,” said Tseumah. “I wanted to finish in the top five, so I am happy. I had to alter my jump a little bit. I had to exert more power because I can’t pull my hips up as well now. I did not make it over until my third attempt over 5-6. I figured this was it.”
Two other girls jumped 5-6 as well, but Tseumah had the least misses. She will have a chance next year at the state title in the event. While a freshman won the state championship, there is plenty of other competition for the Huntley junior. Only three medalists are graduating. Only one senior was in the top five.
At the end of the day, Jacobs senior Allie Virgilio wore a medal, but a frown as well. Try as she might, she could not improve on her leap of 38-9 in the triple jump, which was good for third place. Rich Central senior Chaz Duson and Thronton Fractional North’s were the only two to jump better. Duson won the state title with a leap of 40-6.25, while Greenlee jumped 38-10.5.
“I wanted to do better than last year,” said Virgilio, who also finished third one year ago. “I feel like the state championships are the place you should post your best effort ever. I did not do that today.
“Most triple jumpers would love to be third in the state, but I wanted that gold. We fixed my marks, but I don’t know what happened. The triple jump is an event where you compete against yourself.”
St. Charles East scored 12 points to finish in the top 25 teams in the Class 3A team standings. The Saints top finish was in the 1,600-meter relay as they took fifth.
In the final event of the day, Kelsey Gentry, Jordan Shead, Allison Chmelik and Britney Williams dashed to the finish line in 3:55.91.
Shead, a sophomore, took seventh in the 400-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 57.51 seconds. Annie Martines, a St. Charles East senior, finished seventh in the 300-meter hurdles, posting a time of 44.77 seconds. Saints freshman Toree Scull scored one point as she took ninth in the 800-meter run, finishing in 2:14.80.
Three other athletes from the area earned medals. In the Class 2A 200-meter dash, Hampshire’s Ashley Fouch took fourth with a time of 25.62 seconds. Burlington Central’s Kayla Wolf took seventh in the 800-meter run in Class 2A, finishing the race in 2:15.38. Huntley’s Anthonio Moore grabbed the final medal in the Class 3A 400-meter dash. She finished ninth in :58.19. All three will have a chance to make a return trip to Charleston next year as all three are juniors.