At a time trial earlier in the week, Loyola’s 4×200-meter relay team didn’t look good, according to junior Addison Bendery.
At Thursday’s Class 3A Niles West Sectional, the foursome of senior Jackie Topping, junior Arianna Awdisho, senior Brooke Moran and Bendery finished first in a season-best time of 1 minute, 42.93 seconds to qualify for the state meet.
“Everybody pulled through went it mattered,” said Bendery, who ran the anchor leg.
Bendery and Moran were on the 4×200 team that ran at the state meet last season.
Topping said the relay’s chemistry can’t be understated.
“We are so lucky to have such a deep group of girls that genuinely are excited for one another,” she said. “Everyone wants what is best for the team.”
Bendery was the star at the sectional. She placed second in the 100 in a program-record 12.50 and also took second in the 200 in 25.69. The top two in each event automatically qualify for the state meet as well as those athletes and relays surpassing the state standards.
Loyola started off the sectional by qualifying in the 4×800 relay. The team of freshman Sarah Jay, senior Louisa Edwards, freshman Nicole Cleland and senior Emily Plodzeen ran a 9:31.75.
Junior Kate Santangelo won the pole vault with a mark of 10 feet, 6 inches.
Topping caught a tough break when she set a program record with her mark of 17-5 1/2 in the long jump but didn’t advance to the state meet.
The Ramblers finished fifth as a team with 64 points.
The Class 3A state meet is Friday and Saturday at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Pictured above (left to right): Jackie Topping, Arianna Awdisho, Brooke Moran, Addison Bendery