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Prep Sports

7th straight (and final) I-8 championship for Lady Irish

SENECA – The Seneca High School girls track and field program has been a dominant force within the Interstate Eight Conference, most notably during the past decade where the Lady Irish have proven to be almost unbeatable.

The Seneca ladies showed that once again throughout their final I-8 Meet, saving one of their best league performances for last knowing they are set to depart the I-8 at the end of the school year.

The Lady Irish racked up 185 points to win their seventh consecutive I-8 Conference
crown and easily outdistance second-place Sandwich, which garnered 131 1/2 tallies Thursday evening here at Seneca High School.

The only other Times-area contingent, Streator, finished eighth with 32 markers amongst the 12-team field.

Seneca produced 17 all-conference performances with five championships, eight seconds and four thirds, as senior thrower Alexandra Draves led the way with two titles as did sophomore sprinter Mara Bruno, while senior vaulter Eve Odum added a single crown to the dominating mix.

Sandwich received 10 all-conference placings with five tallies, one second and four thirds, as senior all-stater Kayla Schiera produced an epic performance, winning three individual distance events for the second year in a row along with a relay crown. Senior quarter-miler Maddie Dawson also garnered an individual event championship for the Lady Indians as well as a relay title.

Long-distance runner Rebecca Neaterour was the lone all-conference performer for Streator on a night where Irish eyes were smiling big time on the Seneca girls in their last I-8 Meet.

"We got some quality first-place finishes here tonight and a bunch of seconds and
thirds, so it was a great night for us winning for the seventh year in a row," said Seneca coach Terry Maxwell. "We'll miss some of these battles we've had with the I-8 schools over the years, and hopefully we can build some back in the future. But to go out with another title tonight was pretty special."

Draves started things off for the Lady Irish in the field events, winning both the shot put with a throw of 33 feet, 7 1/2 inches and the discus with a toss of 107-10.

"I enjoy our team, and I love getting points for us, so tonight was very nice," Draves said. "To win both throwing events in my senior year is a great way for me to go out, especially in our last season in the I-8."

In just her first year running, sophomore Bruno became the fastest girl in the conference, winning the 100 in a time of 13.15 seconds and the 200 with a clocking of :26.80.

"It's great to win like I did, but I just wish our top sprinter from last year, Sara
Cahill, wasn't hurt so she could've run better tonight," Bruno said. "It's fun to be a part of this team and another championship for us."

Odum added the only other Seneca title in the pole vault with a mark of 9-6.

Lady Irish runner-up performances came from the 3200 relay team of Maggie Cade, Natalie Carajohn, Lauren Silvola and Amber Vroman (10:29.54), the 400 squad of Bruno, Grace Alley, Brooklyn Giertz and Lexi Greve (52.04), the 800 grouping of Greve, Odum, Alley and Riley Johnson (1:53.29), the 1600 teaming of Carajohn, Alley, Vroman and Odum (4:23.24), Carissa Simon in the long jump (15-7.5), Alley in the triple jump (37-1), Kenzi Empson in the pole vault (9-0) and Rebekah Chapman in the discus (100-7).

For Sandwich, Schiera won her sixth, seventh and eighth career individual I-8 Conference crowns with a second straight season sweep of the 3200 (11:26.29), the 800 (2:23.36) and the 1600 (5:18.10) before running the third lap of the championship 1600 relay team with Dawson, Claire Roberts and Jillian Fuchs (4:16.86). In her amazing I-8 career, Schiera has collected a whopping 10 championship conference titles.

"It's definitely a source of pride for me to have performed so well over
the years in conference," Schiera said. "In my last year I just went out had fun, enjoyed every moment and made everything count."

Dawson added an individual title, winning the 400 (1:01.74), while the lone runner-up for the Lady Indians came from Sarah Ness in the 100 hurdles (16.97).

Neaterour provided Streator's best finish in the 3200 run, third place (12:49.29).

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