ETHS Girls Indoor Runway: Artley Shines in Tune-up for Prep Top Times
Abrielle Artley pledged Friday night to continue her athletic career at the University of Nebraska.
She followed that decision up with some statement wins on Saturday at the Antioch Last Chance Invitational.
The Evanston senior battled her way to victories in the 60m hurdles and 400m and led the Wildkits to a 3rd place finish in the team standings. ETHS racked up 59 points despite not competing in any relay event and trailing only Lake Zurich (71) and McHenry (63) in the 21-team field.
Credit: Evanston Girls’ Athletics Facebook Page
Sophomore Stella Davis and senior Kai Strickland contributed to the 1600 and triple jump victories respectively, and senior Dawson Wright added a second-place shot put for the Kits.
Artley certainly looked like a Division I athlete on Saturday with times of 56.90 seconds in the 400m and 9.28 in the hurdles. Both scores rank among Illinois State’s best performers this winter and secured the ETHS senior a trip to the Illinois Prep Top Times Invitational – the unofficial state indoor championship meet. — scheduled for next weekend at Illinois Wesleyan University.
Davis clocked a winning time of 5 minutes, 4.85 seconds – 13 seconds faster than second in that race – and Strickland scored an unexpected triumph in the triple jump with a personal best effort of 10.55 meters, or around 34 feet. , 7 inches.
Artley has recently benefited from a reduced workload in training, according to ETHS head coach Fenny Gunter, and now the senior looks set for a big finish when the scene changes away in a few weeks. . Artley placed 2nd in the 300 hurdles last year outdoors in the national finals as a junior.
“She rested a bit more after we changed her training schedule,” Gunter explained. “We did this so as not to exhaust him this year. It can happen to some girls and coaches have to be smart enough to make adjustments when you need to make adjustments.
“Now Abrielle manages her workouts a lot better. She’s fresh and her times go down because her body reacts better. She gets better results, and sometimes as a coach you just have to get them to the line (starting ) healthy and let their natural ability take over.
“I think I made a really good statement today in the hurdles,” Artley said. “I had to stay aggressive and push myself more than I was. I already know I’ve improved a lot when I compare it to last year. I think I’m running cleaner, error-free, without contact with the hurdles and with good starts too.
“I’m happy with where I am (in his training). I had a PR (personal best) today in the 400m. I’m really looking forward to competing in a competition like Top Times because I need it to help me take it to the next level. I will most likely run the long hurdles in college. The Top Times is an important event for me, but I already know what I’m capable of. I’ll just try to do the best I can there.
Gunter was originally not going to send Davis, a sophomore on the track for the first time, to Wesleyan next weekend, even though her best 1,600 times rank in the top 10 class challengers. 3A in this statewide race. But Davis ran virtually on her own on her second trip to an invite to the Lakes High School field in three weeks, and the veteran coach acknowledges she has to find tougher competition while learning the ins and outs of distance running in winter and spring. .
“When she complained about not having a competition, we pointed to the camera and the clock and told her THIS IS your competition. They will always be there,” the Evanston coach said. “She needs more competition. She’s too nice to the other girls she’s up against. She has to bury them in the first two rounds, and that’s what cost her time today.
Wright will join her teammates on the trip to the IWU despite settling for second place in shooting on Saturday with a better throw of 11.52 meters (about 37 feet, 9 inches) behind Stephanie Nosike of Thornwood at 11.82. The irrepressible eldest is looking to write a storybook end to her high school career after switching from contributing to the Wildkit relay teams – when she was healthy, which wasn’t often – over the past 2 last years to score points in field events.
She hasn’t given up running at some point in the 4 x 400 relay team when outdoor competition begins, but the ETHS coaching staff will take a conservative approach to this.
Gunter suggested over the summer that Wright try to work with boys’ weight trainer George Woolridge in the discus, and as this event is only taking place outdoors, she attempted the shot as a means to feel comfortable throwing from a ring.
The results were astounding.
“She got the shot right away,” Woolridge said. “She tried it after having an MRI on her calf and even the boys were impressed with the way she threw. She’s a strong, determined older person, and she’s a good listener. She was doing well over 10 yards the first time she threw and I don’t want to push her too much – we haven’t taught her how to slide or turn yet – but now her inside target is 12 yards.
Woolridge is devoting more time to the boys involved in throwing – it’s his day job at ETHS – and helping the girls after the Wildkits were unable to replace girls’ throwing coach Alex Thomas , deceased. Last year.
This makes things even more difficult for a rookie like Wright, as Woolridge usually travels with the boys when the two programs compete on the same day.
“I had symptoms in late December and four weeks later it still showed up on an MRI,” said Wright, who was diagnosed with shin inflammation. “It only hurts when I run and I feel good now. The doctor just cleared me to run again and now I want to do everything outside – disc, shooting and the 4×400. It would be a amazing way for me to be able to complete my senior year.
“I didn’t expect this (success). I guess what happened is a blessing in disguise. It’s a different journey for me and I’m really enjoying it. I love throwing. The only part hard so far is I have to hear Coach George in my head (during competitions) if he’s not around. It’s up to me to capitalize on what he showed me in competition. The biggest challenge was remembering everything he said to me.
“When I started with shooting I was pretty good, but in competitions I would see these girls who are so tall (physically) and I was like, ‘How can I compete with them?’ But now? I think I can break the state record. The coach measured it the other day in training (about 15 meters) and it didn’t seem that far to me.