CRETE | Track meets aren’t won by 84 points. Not even on a chilly, windy day in late March.
Tell that to Bloom Township’s girls team. The Blazing Trojans won the 15th Lady Warrior Invitational by 84 points on Saturday, scoring 165 points to more than double runner-up Rich South’s total of 81.
And that was with a disqualification from second place in the 800- meter relay. That would have meant eight more points.
The Trojans rolled thanks to depth in sprints, distance and success in the field. Much of it was accomplished by two juniors, Ivory Cassell and Gina Narcisi.
Cassell won the 100 in 12.62 seconds, anchored the 400-meter relay to victory, won the triple jump, and came in second in the long jump.
Narcisi, eschewing soccer this spring for track to go with her cross country exploits in the fall, scored victories in the 1,600 and 3,200- meter runs.
Together, Cassell and Narcisi accounted for 58 points. They and Cassell’s relay teammates would have finished sixth in the competition by themselves, and Bloom would have had enough to win with the rest of its team.
Each has exterior motivation to do well. For Narcisi, it’s just missing last fall’s cross-country final in Peoria. For Cassell, it’s the memory of how close she came to the Class 3A jump finals last May.
“I was about an inch off of qualifying in triple jump and a couple inches off in long jump,” Cassell said. “And in the 100, I was 0.1 seconds off.”
Cassell used those inches and tenth of a second as the prod to better herself, and did. She surpassed the qualifying time by mid-summer, and jumping 17-8.5 in the long jump and 35-10 in the triple jump Saturday would have qualified her for a trip to Charleston had they come in the 3A sectional.
“I knew I had to push myself,” Cassell said. “My goal by the end of this season is to be jumping 19 in the long jump, 39 to 40 feet in the triple jump, and I want to get my 100 time down to 11 seconds.”
Narcisi was never threatened in either of her races, finishing 1-2 with teammate Sullibet Ramirez in the 1,600. She won the 3,200 by nearly 32 seconds, about a half-lap ahead of Crete-Monee’s Chastity Powell, finishing in 12:35.27.
“It’s not fast,” Narcisi said. “There’s still a couple weeks to bring that down.”
The Trojan domination started with the 3,200-meter relay, when Bloom sophomore Kiki Kezia anchored the Trojans to a 33.37-second win over Joliet West, running the last two laps in 2:40.
“I want to get to 2:28 or 2:30,” Kezia said, looking toward May and the Southland Conference final. “Being the anchor, coach (Huey Johnson) has confidence in me.”
The 400-meter relay followed, and then Narcisi stepped up in the 3,200. Cassell was scoring her victory in the triple jump at about this time, and capped her day by winning the 100.
Crete-Monee’s Tineja Foy took third in the 100 hurdles and tied for first with Kankakee’s Myracle Key in the 300 hurdles. Each was timed in 51.46 seconds in their respective section of the race. Powell was the only Warrior to win outright, capturing to 800 in 2:31.81.