MOLINE — It was a double disappointment last spring for Moline girls' track standouts Audrey Lamphier and Megan Pittington. Both saw their hopes of a trip to the IHSA State finals end in the sectional at Rock Island. Lamphier was stonewalled by a disqualification and Pittington went 0-for-4 on the track.
Both vowed to not allow it to happen again.
On their home track at Browning Field, both got the job done at Friday's Class 3A Moline Sectional. Lamphier qualified in the 100-meter hurdles, the same event she was DQ'd in last year, and Pittington qualified in the 100-meter dash and won the 400.
"It was really heartbreaking last year," Lamphier said, "and Megan and I really dedicated ourselves to get there to state this year. I just tried not to think about last year and when I got set in the blocks I took a deep breath and smiled.
"I just felt like I could relax once I found out I qualified (by seven-tenths of a second) and I teared up because this meant so much for me and for Megan."
Pittington was part of the 4x100 relay that did not qualify, which was a disappointment, but the news about Lamphier got her back on track, just barely beating the state-qualifying time in the 100. She led most of the way in the 400 to win and then finished eighth in the 200.
"The 100 was huge for me because I used the energy from Audrey's finish and made me relax because I was going back to state," Pittington said. "The 4x1 was our priority so we could get more teammates to state with us but that didn't go so well.
"In the 400, I was really surprised when I saw I was the top seed. I was just glad the girl from Dunlap pushed me from behind. I'm totally OK not getting to state in the 200. I was not expecting much from that event and I just took an `if it happens, it happens' outlook."
Rock Island qualified in two events and were oh-so-close to making it in two others. MarCeisha Jackson got the Rocks off to an early start, qualifying in the discus. Then, the 4x200 relay team qualified and the 4x100 relay team was .25 seconds from state qualifying and the 4x400 team was .07 seconds shy of qualifying.
"My mindset was to just think technique, technique, technique," Jackson said. "I was the first (of seven, including Moline's Julie Glenn) to qualify and I think that pushed everyone to throw better. As one of the few seniors on the team, I have had to do my job and be a leader, that's been fun."
Junior Jayla Hathorn showed she can be a team-first athlete by giving up her individual events to anchor the three sprint relays.
"Getting to state is really exciting," Hathorn said. "I wish we could have made it in the 4x100 and the 4-by-4 was one we didn't know what we would do in. That was the second time we've run that group together and had a good time (they were nine seconds better on Friday).
"I had to decide what I wanted to do — my individual events or the relays and I'm glad I did the relays. It was the right thing to do by the coaches."
United Township has one state qualifier, sophomore Jade Hunter in the high jump as a qualifier at 5-foot-3.
"I was a little nervous at the start, but my teammates kept telling me I could do it," Hunter said. "That is easier said than done. But once I got to state qualifying that was a load off my shoulders. Now, I just want to either PR or at least get to 5-6 again."