LEMONT | It's the time of year for high school seniors when the days dwindle down to a precious few.
At T.F. North and T.F. South, for instance, there are nine days of class remaining for graduates. That means T.F. North's Jermeia Avery and T.F. South's Kadesha Ellison have to make the most of what's left.
Thursday night in the South Suburban Blue girls track championship, they did just that. Avery doubled, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 12.5 seconds, while Ellison trailed only Hillcrest's Destini Artis in the 300-meter hurdles and Artis and Hillcrest's Rashunta Johnson in the 100 hurdles.
For Avery, whose effort was a large part of the Meteors finishing a close second to conference winner Hillcrest, winning the 100 was a repeat of last year's title, which made it all the sweeter.
"I had to keep on my technique," Avery said. "Just run powerful, like my coaches taught me. I knew I could, but I had to work extra hard, because I know what else is on the line."
Minutes later, Avery was part of the Meteors' second-place 800-meter relay crew. To cap off her night, she came back to triumph in the 200, her 26.64 two steps ahead of teammate Charlene Horton's 26.97. That made up for last year, when Avery was in an additional relay and didn't get to run in the conference 200.
"This feels great," Avery said between deep breaths. "I expected to win because I worked so hard. It feels so good to reach my goals."
Tonight, she'll celebrate at the senior prom.
Hillcrest's winning total of 126.5 points was barely ahead of the Meteors' 123 points. Lemont (108) was third, with T.F. South (56) fifth.
Ellison said the hand-timed clocking of 17.8 seconds was her season best. It came in 50-degree temperatures, with lightning flickering in the far western gloaming. She also took second in the 300-meter hurdles, trailing only Ellis.
"I can get faster," Ellison promised. "I'm going to get faster. Summer track will keep me in shape."
Can she do so in a week, when the talent-loaded Class 3A sectional takes place at Homewood-Flossmoor and berths in the state championship are on the line? Perhaps, given the motivation she used to get ready for this meet.
"I'm going to try," Ellison said. "I use my stress to make myself run faster. I like a challenge. If I'm in the front, I slack off. They made me run today."
T.F. North's Erica Levine took second in the 400 (1:03.2), anchored the Meteors' second-place team in the 3,200-meter relay, and cleared 4 feet, 8 inches to secure third in the high jump. Teammate Emani James took second in the long jump (15-1) and third in the triple jump (32-11).
Bremen won the freshman-sophomore title.