Oak Park and River Forest High School sophomore Katie Stabb thought she could achieve a personal record time in the 3,200-meter run April 23 at Distance Night in Palatine.
On a very windy and warm Saturday, Stabb was strong enough to take the lead with two laps remaining.
The third-place result in her heat was a huge PR of 11 minutes, 7.21 seconds — her first time under the IHSA Class 3A state-qualifying standard of 11:07.39. Stabb’s previous best was 11:20.74 for fourth at the West Suburban Silver indoor conference meet on March 18.
“I’m really excited because I wasn’t sure that I would get a PR by that much,” Stabb said. “[Distance coach Ashley Raymond] instructed me to try to beat everybody and just go on the last 800 [meters]. I guess they had more of a kick. It definitely makes me more confident and really hopeful for maybe future PRs when it’s not as windy.”
The annual invitational in Palatine featured many of the state’s top distance runners in girls and boys 800, 1,600 and 3,200 races with at least 49 finishers in each event. There also was a freshman boys 1,600 with 17 finishers.
Stabb, who competed in the third of four seeded 3,200 heats, was 14th overall among 61 finishers.
Top-30 overall finishers in the other five major events were OPRF junior Liam Newhart (21st, 9:32.23), who won the second of four heats for the boys 3,200, and OPRF senior Ryan Leonard (26th, 1:59.88) and Fenwick senior Lee O’Bryan (27th, 1:59.91) and junior Grayden Rill (29th, 2:00.08) in the boys 800.
OPRF’s Liam O’Connor (4:45.31) and Connor Schupp (4:46.80) were 11th and 13th in the freshman boys 1,600.