ALTON - Marquette Catholic had a strong send-off for the five girls who have qualified for the IHSA State Girls Track and Field Meet Wednesday afternoon at Marquette Catholic. A nickname "Fabulous Five" has been coined for this year's group of girls bound for the state meet, each with enormous talents individually and as a collective team.
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The Class 1A IHSA Girls State Track and Field Meet is Thursday, May 19, 2021, and Saturday, May 21, 2021, for Marquette at Eastern Illinois University Track and Field Complex in Charleston. The Explorers' state girls track and field qualifiers are Kailey Vickrey, Sammy Hentrich, Paige Rister, Ava Certa, and Katie Johnson.
Hentrich recorded a time of 27.77 in the 200 meters at the sectional meet to qualify for state. She also long jumped 4.82 meters to advance. Vickrey qualified in the 800 meters with a time of 2:40.03 and Johnson in the 1600 meters with a time of 6:08.20. The 4 x 800 relay of Certa, Johnson, Rister, and Vickrey also qualified with a time of 11:08.54.
Marquette Catholic Principal Tim Harmon spoke briefly at the event. He praised the five girls for their efforts to get to state and all the Explorers' athletes for their efforts this spring.
"I gave a special congratulations to the five girls who are going to state at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston," he said. "I also introduced each girl and their coach Tim Turnbeaugh. I told them good luck going to state at EIU and God bless and Godspeed ladies."
Mrs. Paul Mattix-Wand, the head of the Marquette theology department, provided prayer for the girls and distributed rosaries to each of the girls.
Coach Turnbeaugh said he is excited about the opportunity to take the girls to the state track and field meet again. He said he hopes to see Sammy stretch out to 5.1 meters in the long jump because he thinks that would make the finals. He said he thought the 4 x 800 relay could have a chance to make the finals if they could lower their time in the 10:50 range.
The coach said he expects the Explorers to have solid performances in every event and anything could happen if the girls put forth their best efforts. Vickrey is just healthy again and could shine at state, the coach said.