HIGHLAND | Even though Munster's girls track team lost a lot of talent to graduation last season, the Mustangs haven't missed a beat.
Munster relied on both dominant performances and significant depth to amass 168.5 points and win the Northwest Crossroads Conference meet at Highland on Tuesday.
"We performed really well tonight and set a couple of meet records," Munster coach Rick Sluder said. "Our conference is probably the most competitive it's been. There are good individuals on every team. It was kind of our depth that pulled us through."
While the depth was certainly a key factor in the Mustangs' success, winning eight events certainly helped. Senior Kyela Specht won the 800-meter run (2 minutes, 24.75 seconds), 1,600 (5:22.46) and ran the anchor leg on the first place 4x800 relay (10:07.16). Specht was most satisfied with her 1,600 showing.
"I'm really happy with my times and how I placed," Specht said. "I wanted to feel out the competition (in the 1,600). Some of the girls haven't ran the mile this season, so I wanted to see how they were doing. I felt good the last lap."
Host Highland got victories from Kat Smailis in both the 100 hurdles (16.22) and 300 hurdles (47.40). As a team, the Trojans placed third with 98 points behind Kankakee Valley's 100.5.
"I'm really excited," she said. "I didn't really feel good today because of the weather. We have a lot of upcoming freshmen. I love our team this year."
On the boys side, Andrean led Hobart 129.5-122 after 15 events. The pole vault will be finished at 5:30 p.m. today at Highland. The Brickies have two competitors in the event, while Andrean has none, so Hobart will likely repeat as conference champions.
The Brickies received wins in both hurdles events from Tom Camacho, who set personal records in both events (110 hurdles in 15.17 and 300 hurdles in 40.42). The hurdle events, usually dominated by graduated Lowell senior Ray Skamay, now feature Camacho as the top runner.
"I'm grateful that all my coaches have put me through a lot this year -- I'm just starting to hit my peak," Camacho said. "I'm looking to get better and set a (personal record) every race."
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet, Andrean's Chris Arvia upset Hobart state champion Jarvis McMillian in the 100, finishing in 11.01 to McMillian's 11.03. McMillian rebounded by winning the 200 (22.42) and 400 (49.68).
"I ran AAU with him over the summer, so we had our own little rivalry," Arvia said. "I've never beat him before. It was pretty insane. I didn't know what happened. I leaned across the finish line, looked over and he was right next to me."