Ava Thomas is looking forward to seeing what she can accomplish.
The Batavia junior ran the 3,200-meters for the first time — and won the race with a 12:05.87 — at the Carlson-Anderson Classic hosted at Batavia High School on Thursday.
Batavia beamed with the top overall finish with 159 points to best Wheaton Warrenville South (112) and Burlington Central (96) for the top three.
The Bulldogs won the 4×100 relay, were second in the 4×400 and won six individual events.
Thomas was diagnosed with iron deficiency during the cross country season of her sophomore year, which proved to be a challenge during the ensuing track season last spring.
“I would come home from practices and be super tired,” Thomas said. “I obviously wasn’t hitting times that I was freshman year. That was hard. I eventually went to the doctor and I got blood work done [and they told me] ‘Yeah, your iron levels are really low.'”
Thomas takes iron supplements twice daily. She is evidently healthy and back ready to roll.
“I’m really happy with the place that I’m at, so I just want to keep pushing myself to be the best I can be. [And] see what times I can hit because I feel like I have a lot more in me and I’m excited to see where that takes me.”
Bulldogs senior Jessica Newburn dazzled with victories in the 200 (26.24) and 400 (1:01.52).
Katrina Schlenker took the 800 (2:18.04), while the Bulldogs also earned event victories by Megan Schulhof in pole vault (3.20 meters) and Alex Baumann in shot put (11.56 meters).
Burlington Central’s Brooke Reynolds placed second in the 100 hurdles (17.24) right behind teammate and best friend Nina Tomko (17.08). Reynolds also anchored the 4×200 relay in their fifth-place finish.
Reynolds has a few tattoos that hold significant meaning. One lies by her ear that says “breathe,” a nod to anxiety-related circumstances.
The other, on her rib cage, is in remembrance of her father who passed away when she was younger. It depicts his signature and birth date.
“It implies him being alive and significance to my life and supporting me,” Reynolds said. “My mom is a long distance runner, so having that in my family, that obviously fuels me. But my dad was a sprinter so [my brother and I] we both did sprints. We kind of got our side of running from him … he was really, really good in college and high school as well.”
Tomko and Reynolds drive to practice together every day.
“Having her in most of the relays and most of the events I do, like today, we were running the same events,” Reynolds said. “Having her in all my events is my best thing because she’s my most supportive person on the track team.”
Burlington also received an individual event victory from Amanda Melton in discus (36.55 meters).
Wheaton Warrenville South won the 4×800 relay (10:22.62) and had an individual victory from Piper Lindsay in the 300 hurdles (48.48).
Natalie Buratczuk from St. Charles North won high jump (1.60 meters), while Glenbard North’s Grace Schager won the 1,600 (5:01.86).
DeKalb placed fifth as a team, led by victories in the 4×400 relay. Sariyah Watson took second in the 100 dash (12.67), while Mia Adeoti took third in 100 hurdles (17.27).
Watson is now fully recovered from a right calf injury that caused her to miss the state meet, one she qualified for the first time in her varsity high school career.
“The week before state, I was training on a big hill and I just strained it,” Watson said. “I couldn’t walk on it; couldn’t run on it.”
The motivation to return to the meet and get back to the level she was is fueling her this year.
“This year, I’ve been trying to take it easy [and] not train too hard,” Watson said. ” … now I’ve been eating more healthy, stretching, dynamic stretching before sleep.”
Korima Gonzalez took second in the 800 (2:24.88) and the Barbs’ 4×100 also placed second behind Batavia.
Plainfield East captured the 4×200 (1:45.86) and had individual victories by Ava Mabry-Spencer in the 100 dash (12.34), Mazie Gierat in long jump (5.38 meters) and Elissa Perkins in triple jump (11.35 meters).