Megan Williams has already made her mark in Newark in several sports.
She has the distinction of winning the state volleyball championship in both freshman and sophomore grades, her school’s first two volleyball titles. As a 2019 track rookie, Williams finished seventh in the Class 1A 100-meter hurdles — Newark State’s first women’s track medal.
Could a last first come this weekend in Charleston?
This is a distinct possibility. Williams is ranked first in the triple jump, as is her sophomore teammate Kiara Wesseh in the high jump. Both are vying to win Newark State’s first track and field title while leading a large contingent of Scandinavians to Eastern Illinois University.
Class 1A preliminaries are scheduled for Thursday, with class 2A and 3A preliminaries on Friday and finals for all three classes on Saturday. Medal contenders in multiple events, it’s possible Newark could make a top-10 finish as a team or if the top seeds are vying for a state trophy.
“I think we really have a chance. I didn’t feel like that until now,” Williams said. “Dr. Schutt [Newark coach Jeff Schutt] think very highly of this team. Everyone has performed well since we came out.
Williams qualified for state in four open events – hurdles, triple jump and long jump – as a rookie. But she pulled her quad in the first meet last season and therefore didn’t jump last season. Williams made the 100 hurdles, 4×100 relay and 4×200 relay at State, eighth in the 4×200 relay his best result in what was a one-day competition.
But she enters this weekend’s state competition as the No. 1 seed in the triple jump with her 11.25-meter (36-foot, 11-inch) effort in last week’s section. Williams is also ranked third in the long jump with her section mark of 5.45 meters (17-10.5) and fourth in the 100 hurdles with her section time of 15.59 seconds.
“I feel really good, especially in the triple jump,” Williams said. “It comes naturally to me, and Dr. Schutt is super good at giving directions on my form. We don’t have pits, so we can’t train, but the better I perform in competitions, the easier it is. The long jump is a little more risky. I think it clicked on the sections.
Wesseh, who finished second at the state last year in the high jump as a rookie, also enters the weekend as the No. 1 seed with his PR of 1.70 meters (5 feet , 7 inches) to sections.
Wesseh, who jumped 5-4 at State last year, said she only jumped 5-1 in the first meeting this season. It was a little difficult as she hadn’t jumped in a whole year, but with practice she reached the highest heights.
“I kind of had a mental block,” Wesseh said. “Finally, a few meetings before the sections, I jumped 5-6 and last week I jumped 5-7. I am very grateful to have reached a peak and I hope I can continue to do so.
Wesseh is also fourth in the 100m sprint (12.68 seconds) and sixth in the 100m hurdles (15.89). Newark is also ranked fifth in the 4×200 relay in which Williams and Wesseh race.
“I’m very grateful to be ranked as high as us. Just hoping for the best,” Wesseh said. “I think it’s very cool that we have so many athletes who can all go down. It’s a bit like in training, we have so many girls to be able to push each other. I still have Megan in the hurdles and the 100 to push me. I am grateful to have him to look up to.
Meanwhile, the region’s top medal contenders in Classes 2A and 3A are both competing in the throwing events.
Sandwich junior Claire Allen, second in the Class 2A shot put and fourth in the discus throw as a sophomore, comes to Charleston with the sixth-best sections shot put mark (11.90 meters, 39-0.5 feet) and the 10th best discus throw (35.67 meters, 1170.25 feet). Allen threw farther in both events at the Interstate Eight Conference meet.
“I feel good walking in,” she said. “I know I’m not ranked where I want to be because of the way I threw the tryouts. I work on my footwork and my release point. It is going well. »
Allen also has the confidence of knowing that she is one of the only competitors in Charleston in her events with state experience.
“I know that last year I played against all the seniors. A lot of these girls have never been to a state before,” Allen said. I’m the only person who left. I know how the ring feels, what the temperature is. It’s a lot more pressure there. You can see and feel everyone watching you. Once I block it, everything will be fine.
In Class 3A, Yorkville freshman Courtney Clabough is given the opportunity to join an older brother in rarefied air.
The younger sister of defending state shot put champion Kyle Clabough, who holds the No. 1 boys’ distance in this event, Clabough threw the state’s fifth-best shot put of 12.36 yards and had the second-best discus throw in the state of 41.01 meters at sectionals. Both were public relations for the young Clabough.
“I was very happy with how I pitched,” Clabough said. “For the shot put, I was just trying to focus on being explosive and moving quickly in the ring. I don’t want to change too much this week before the big date. If I can hit the distances I covered last week, I will be happy. Especially in discus, I continue to improve. I want to continue this trend.
This will be Clabough’s first time in Charleston as a contender. She also didn’t make the trip last year to watch her brother, as she had a volleyball tournament. But Clabough has a good benchmark for a big statewide meet. She won the shot put at the unofficial Top Times Indoor Meet in March.
“I went to the competition thinking I had no chance. This experience has shown me that I can compete with the best in the world,” said Clabough. “The Top Times gives me confidence for this meeting.”
Elsewhere, Emma Ponx of Oswego is ranked third in the pole vault based on section performance, Kenna North of Oswego East fifth in the triple jump among area qualifiers.