Danielle Taets stepped up her game on Saturday and walked away from the IHSA Class 1A State Track & Field Championships with two gold medals.
The Orion junior won both the triple jump and 100 hurdles titles at O’Brien Stadium. To add to her medal haul, she finished third in the 300 hurdles.
However, Taets wasn’t the only local competitor to home with a gold medal. Fulton junior Chloe Lindeman won the 1A shot put title.
“It’s kind of crazy to me; I never would have expected it coming in my freshman year of track,” said Taets. “It’s kind of unbelievable how much I’ve changed through freshman year. I’m hoping to keep getting better and better.”
Since being shut out in medals as a freshman, the sleek standout now has collected five medallions in the last two years. At the 2017 state meet, she was a triple jump runner-up and finished 7th in the 100 hurdles.
In this year’s 100 highs, she took the lead from the very beginning, not letting up until she crossed the finish line with a time of 14.72, just two-tenths of a second ahead of Arthur’s Kenli Nettles.
“When I pushed out, I felt really fast in the beginning,” she said. “I was just thinking to myself; I’ve gotta keep up this speed.”
As it turned out, the Class 1A triple jump competition turned into a Three Rivers Conference showdown between Taets and Fulton junior Daekota Knott. While Taets carried over her 38-foot qualifying leap from Thursday’s preliminary action, Knott improved 4.5-inches to 37-8.5, but remained in the silver medal position.
Taets made it to the podium in her third event, the 300-meter hurdles, taking third place in 46.03, with only .66 between her and the fourth place finisher.
Thanks to Taets efforts, Orion placed seventh in the team standings with 28 points – a total that included senior Alexandra Mack’s ninth-place finish (15.76) in the 100-hurdles.