Hit her first home run!
The ONLY home run of the season.
Kelsie is the only 7th grader on the team!
Both personal and school records were broken Thursday as local track and field athletes competed for spots in the final competition of the Class 1A IHSA state series.
Quad-Cities area schools had nine individual and one relay qualify for Saturday’s 1A finals back at O’Brien Stadium.
Topping that list were Alleman High School sophomore Kiah O’Neal in the high jump and Orion sophomore Danielle Taets in the triple jump.
Taets came out of Thursday’s prelims with the best triple jump mark of 37-00.75. She also qualified for the finals in the 100-meter hurdles (15.46), where she is seeded fifth.
Because it is her second time at state, Taets said she felt more prepared.
“This makes me excited for the next two years,” Taets said. “Maybe I could do even better than I’m doing now.”
Fulton shot putter Chloe Lindeman uncorked a heave of 43-1.5 to sit second heading into Saturday’s finals.
Riverdale junior Darcie Pilon, running in the 400, said she ran the hardest she has all year at the state meet. That led to her running the fourth-fastest qualifying time of :59.43 and breaking the school record that had been :59.6.
“I’ve been lifting a lot more, working harder in practice,” said Pilon of finally getting the mark.
Fulton’s Lindeman, a sophomore, and senior teammate Emma Jacobs (38-feet, 3/4-inch, eighth best) both qualified for shot put finals, competing in the same flight. Lindeman attributes some of her success to this “healthy competition.”
“I have someone to support me, and she has someone to support her,” Lindeman said. “We know if we have each other we can move mountains. (We’re) very strong forces with each other; we always push each other to do better.”
Though Lindeman will miss her teammate next year, she looks forward to helping Jacobs’ incoming younger sister in the same way Jacobs helped her.
Being a senior, Jacobs said she put aside her nerves to throw as well as she could as she also qualified for the discus finals with the seventh-best qualifying throw of 120-10.
“I love that I got to even come here and have this chance to have an extra meet this year,” said Jacobs after her PR toss. “This whole season, I just wanted to hit 38 again.”
After placing second in state last year, Lindeman said she is more confident but also more nervous.
Riverdale also had two throwers advance. Hope Jackson (127-feet even) is fourth in the discus and Carrie Ferguson is sixth in the shot (38-10).
Mercer County’s 4×100-meter relay — Brooke Ziegenhorn (Who missed qualifying in the pole vault and triple jump), Catelyn Hofmann, Kari Coulter and Kenzie Baker — was the only local relay entrant to qualify for Saturday’s finals. It had the fourth-fastest Thursday time of 50.50. Hofmann, a junior who did not advance in the open 200, said the team will work on improving its handoffs and getting “everything on point” so they can do their best.
She admits the team had some tough times at the beginning of the season after losing two of their runners and trying to fill their spots.
“It took us quite a few weeks to actually get people who could work together, but we finally got it,” Hofmann said.
Senior Kenzie Baker, who missed advancing in the 100 and 200, said she was more nervous this year as people had high hopes for her.
“I didn’t want to let them down,” she said. “I’m very excited actually and yeah, a little bit nervous (for finals) but I know if we get the baton and we’re on the track, we’ll medal and that’s pretty cool.”
May 18, 2017
Sharing the experience of last spring’s IHSA state girls’ track and field meet was an enjoyable time for cousins Alexandra Mack and Danielle Taets.
So much so that the Orion Charger standouts decided to do it again this season, only in as many events as possible.
Having competed together with the Chargers’ 4×800 relay last May when Mack was a sophomore and Taets a freshman, the duo will line up in three events beginning today in Charleston.
“Honestly, it’s amazing to be with Danielle,” said Mack, who finished third in the triple jump and 300 hurdles and second in the 100 hurdles at sectionals. “She’s my cousin, and my best friend. It’s really exciting for us to do this, and to push each other in every event we’re in.”
Said Taets, “We push each other, and we support each other. I’m excited to go down with her again this year, and I hope we both do really well.”
The accomplishments of the cousins continue a family line, as both of their mothers achieved state track success in the 1980s and early ’90s during their own prep careers at Orion.
Mack’s mother, the former Beth Lage, was the 1986 Class A state runner-up in the 100 high hurdles, then returned in ’87 and placed third. Beth’s younger sister Mary (Taets’ mom), took seventh in the same event in 1992, and held the school record in the 100 hurdles until her daughter broke it earlier this season.
“That makes it pretty special,” said Taets. “It was pretty cool that both of our moms went to state, and now we’re doing it together.”
“We’ve talked about advancing to the finals,” added Mack, “and hopefully place, so we can have our pictures by our moms at school. It would be cool if we could both compete like they did.”
“It was kind of surprising, but it was cool to do that,” she said. “Doing that with the relay, it was really fun.”
It also planted the seeds for this season’s shared accomplishments.
“This year, we realized we were better in our separate events, and that we could make it further in those,” Mack said. “We knew doing that would help us more in the long run.”
May 17, 2017
After a promising start to her high-school track and field career last spring, it is safe to say that Orion sophomore Danielle Taets is well ahead of schedule in terms of success.
Coming off a stretch the previous week in which she earned three gold medals in the triple jump, 100-meter high hurdles and the 400-meter dash at Orion’s Charger Invitational and the Rockridge Invitational, Taets continued her torrid run at last Tuesday’s Golden Eagle Invitational with another gold-medal trifecta.
In the process, this week’s Dispatch•Argus•QCOnline Area Pacesetter established a school record in the 100 high hurdles, keeping that particular standard a family affair.
“I knew she’d held the record,” said Taets. “It (breaking the mark) was not really one of my top goals for this year, but she wanted me to break it. I was thinking, if it happened, it would happen. She was pretty happy for me.”
That same evening, Taets cleared an even 36 feet to win the triple jump, the event in which she qualified for state as a freshman last spring. She completed the night by taking the 300 low hurdles title in 48.46 seconds.
“I didn’t think I’d be doing this well, especially with how I ran last year, so I’m excited for the next few years,” she said. “Last year, I wasn’t really expecting a lot. I knew my limits. I wasn’t expecting to go to state, so when I did, it was pretty cool. I’m definitely looking to build on what I did last year.”
Taets, who also participated at last year’s 1A state meet with Orion’s 4×800 relay, gave her hometown fans an eyeful at the Charger Invite when she broke the school record in the triple jump by clearing 36-9.
While Taets has picked up an impressive armful of gold medals, her surge of success is not a recent phenomenon.
“Right from the beginning of the season, I thought I’ve been doing better than last year, so I think I’ve been at a pretty consistent level,” Taets said. “I wanted to start off good, and I also wanted to get better as the season went on. I feel like I’ve done that.”
With the season’s stretch drive arriving — including Friday’s Three Rivers Conference meet and then the 1A sectional meet the following week — Taets wants to maintain her current hot streak.
“There’s a lot of big meets coming up,” she said. “I hope to keep dropping my times and expanding my (triple jump) lengths, to get myself back to state.”
May 2, 2017
Last day of school is May 25…
School social workers gave me flowers, cake and a wall plaque…
Renner gave me flowers and a gift card (Outback)…
English Landing did a cake, gift card (Target), front sign and kids hide in my room and surprised me (80 kindergarteners!) plus home made cards from all the kids!
The big Hersey kiss was to “Kiss this job goodbye”!
Park Hill through a dinner and acknowledged you with a plaque.
This was a fun ride!