Sometimes, you reap.
Sometimes, you invest.
By her own admission — and by her own standards — New Trier junior Savannah Noethlich had just an “okay day” at the Central Suburban League South girls track and field championships at Niles North on May 4.
But after doing yeoman work — competing in the 4×800 relay, 400 meters and 4×400 relay — Noethlich built plenty of collateral for future meets.
Putting her legs to the test is exactly what she’s looking to do — each time out.
“I’m a junior. It’s time for me to come out of my shell,” Noethlich said. “It’s time for me to take some risks.”
Her efforts — first-place finishes in the two relays and fourth in the 400 — helped New Trier take the league title for the third straight year. The Trevians tallied 180 ½ points to easily outscore runner-up Glenbrook South (112 points).
The “Race of the Meet” unquestionably belonged to NT’s Marne Sullivan. The sophomore star came up with a standing-ovation performance in the anchor lap of the 4×400 relay, when she came from way back — trailing by at least 20 yards at the race’s final exchange — to sprint past Evanston’s anchor at the finish line. The winning time was 4:04.05. The second-place time was 4:04.34.
“Marne just took off. Incredible,” said Noethlich, who competed in the relay along with Molly Schmidt and Grace McManus. “She made up a pretty big gap.”
Sullivan had that extra gear all night. She won the 400 in 59.05 and the 800 in 2:21.18.
“We expect big things from Marne,” said New Trier head coach Robert Spagnoli. “I think the rest of the state is taking notice.”
Sullivan was New Trier’s lone triple winner. The double winners included senior sprinter Kate Holly (12.52 in the 100, 26.03 in the 200) and senior thrower Yeji An (111-5 in the discus, 29-8 in the shot put).
NT sophomore Sidney Kunkler just missed claiming two titles. She measured 35-4 in the triple jump to edge Glenbrook South’s Annie Streb (35-3 1/5), while she took runner-up honors in the long jump (16-10 ¼), losing by a mere inch to GBS’s Raelyn Roberson (16-11 ¼).
Meanwhile, one of the gemstone events for New Trier continues to be the 4×800 relay. Thus, it was no surprise that the Trevian foursome of Noethlich, Grace Fagan, Carolyn Trukenbrod and Molly Schmidt rocked the CSL South competition last Thursday, winning the race by more than 15 seconds (9:29.16).
Getting it done in this distance relay is nothing new.
Last spring, Noethlich, Fagan and Trukenbrod teamed with Kelli Schmidt to finish fifth (9:19.04) in the Class 3A state meet in Charleston. In 2015, Noethlich and Fagan combined forces with Molly Schmidt and Kelli Schmidt to place 11th at state.
The goal now is to equal what Mimi Smith, Jessica Ackerman, Courtney Ackerman and Kathleen Keane accomplished in 2013: 1st in state (9:04.86).
It’s not out of reach.
Doing something big is very doable. And the underrated Noethlich no doubt will play a major role.
“She knows what’s expected of her,” said Spagnoli. “She’s that calming influence. The other runners look to her [for leadership].
“And what I like about Savannah is that she sets high goals,” the coach added. “She’s an extremely hard worker.”
Noethlich, at this time, might not be a headliner, but what she does on the track is invaluable.
NT distance coach John Burnside describes her as a “born racer.” He loves her preparedness and mental toughness.
“She doesn’t want to lose any part of a race,” Burnside said. “She goes into a race with a primary plan, along with a back-up plan. She’s so cognizant of developing her race. She steadily improves.
“And she’s a runner with a lot of range and a real good skill set,” he added. “You can throw her in the 400, 800 and 1600.”
Running the 400 at the CSL South Meet served a purpose with Noethlich. It was an investment.
“I’m trying to add speed,” said Noethlich, who was timed in a 1:02.67. “It’s good to go against runners who are faster than you are.”
She shot out quickly but couldn’t hold it, finishing fourth in 1:02.67.
“She’s faster than that,” added Burnside. “She didn’t taper for this meet.”
And that leadership thing? It’s real with Noethlich.
“She definitely leads by example,” said Burnside. “Her teammates see it, and they respond to it.”
Notable: New Trier had strong showings up and down its lineup at the league meet on May 4. Senior hurdler Lauren Chong earned runner-up honors in the 100 hurdles (15.67) and 300 hurdles (49.55). Carolyn Fix in the 3200 (11:05.59) and Natalie Karabas in the high jump (5-0) also turned in second-place finishes. Other Trevians placing in the top five included Grace Fagan (3rd in 1600), Leah Ulrich (4th in 1600), Carla McCanna (4th in 200, 5th in 100), Rebecca Goldman (4th in long jump, 5th in triple jump), Sarah Morton (4th in pole vault), Cara Kelleher (4th in 3200) and Carolyn Trukenbrod (4th in 800). The Trevians also took second in two relays: 4×100 and 4×200 with McCanna, Kate Holly, Sidney Kunkler and McKenna Fox.
Hard to beat this.
In helping Lake Forest to a first-place showing in the North Suburban Conference Meet at Zion-Benton on May 4, junior Emma Milburn went 4-for-4.
Milburn raced to first-place finishes in the 800 (2:18.4) and 1600 (5:21.78). She also was a part of two winning relays: 4×400 (4:09.44) and 4×800 (10:02.66).
The Scouts, who scored 121 points to beat runner-up Warren (104), also received stellar work from Haley Click and Olivia Vallone.
Click claimed top honors in the 300 hurdles (46.86) while placing second in the 200 meters (1:02.60). She also was a member of two winning relays: 4×100 (50.53) and 4×400.
Vallone was the 100 hurdles champ (15.82). She also joined forces with Kamila Obrzut, Claire Gilmore and Ana Francesca Curry to take second in the 4×200 relay (1:49.55).
Sydney Barber and Sydney Leonardi also played vital roles in the win. Barber took second in the 800 (2:21.27), while Leonardi was second in the 300 hurdles (47.46) and fifth in the 100 hurdles (17.26).
Barber also was a member of the winning 4×800 relay with Milburn, Grace Bentley and Ava Caputo and the 4×400 relay with Milburn, Bentley and Click.
Leonardi was part of the winning 4×100 foursome with Click, Obrzut and Curry.
Curry added a third-place finish in the 100 (13.27).
In the field events, LF received top-five performances from Ashlynne Pomerich (4th, long jump), Angela Lee (4th, discus) and Ashley Alghini (5th, triple jump).
Junior Veronica Kriss and freshman Stephanie Kriss led the way as Highland Park placed second (127 ½ points) in the CSL North Championship Meet at Maine West on May 4. Vernon Hills won the title with 127 ½ points.
Veronica Kriss claimed the 1600-meter title in 11:21.17.
Stephanie Kriss won the 800-meter title (2:14.01). She added a third-place finish in the 400 (1:02.57).
Zoe Romoff was one of the meet’s top sprinters. The HP senior took second in the 200 meters (26.80) and third in the 100 (13.10).
Taylor Edelchik picked up a bunch of points in the jumps. She was second in the triple jump (33-11), fourth in the long jump (15-8) and tied for second in the high jump (4-9) with teammate Sarah Lehman and three others.
HP’s other runners-up included Nateciya Gidron-Noutai in the discus (93-1) and the 4×200 relay (Romoff, Emily Shimanovsky, Allison Antman, Riley Williams).
Also helping the Giants’ cause were Jillian Butler in the 1600 (3rd, 11:53.63), Libby Cutler in the pole vault (3rd, 8-9), Leah Weiss in the 100 hurdles (4th, 18.6), Annelise Van Den Akker in the 100 (4th, 13.22) and Elizabeth Sullivan in the shot put (5th, 30-2).
Loyola Academy just missed winning the GCAC Championship on May 6.
The host Ramblers tallied 119.3 points. St. Ignatius won the title with 121 points.
Margot Dooley took first place in the 800 meters (2:20.56).
LA’s 4×800 relay also claimed a championship with a time of 10:10.38.
LA’s runners-up included Anne Santangelo in the 200 (26.67), Payton Hoag in the 3200 (11:59.54) and the 4×200 relay (1:48.58).
The third-place finishers were Emily Plodzeen in the 1600 (5:29.75), Addison Bendrey in the long jump (16-3) and the 4×400 relay (4:13.58).
Brooke Moran (200 meters), Lainey McKinley (800), Raegan Robertson (1600) and Kate Santangelo (pole vault) came up with fourth-place showings, while Brooke Moran (high jump), Ngozi Okoi (triple jump), Allie Zahn (300 hurdles), Angela Lynch (shot put) and Bendrey (100) added fifth-place points.