Lyons Township High School senior Emma Haugen made her third Class 3A high jump state championship the most memorable.
Haugen equaled her all-time best of 5 feet-9 inches to win the event Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston after also winning in 2014 and 2012 both with 5-7. She also was an all-state eighth in her first trip to the 100-meter high hurdles finals (15.02).
“This is definitely the best (title) because this is the best I’ve jumped, I’ve only jumped this high this year and I won by two, three heights,” Haugen said.
Junior Vanessa Flaherty finished an all-state seventh in the 800 in a school-record 2:15.75. Her 2:16.51 in Friday’s preliminaries initially broke the previous school record of 2:17.27.
Haugen beat the high jump field by three inches by clearing 5-7, 5-8 and 5-9 on her first attempt. Haugen attempted to break the 3A state finals record of 5-10 3/4 but missed at 5-11 – the all-time state finals record from 1980.
“It doesn’t even register. It just feels so awesome to cap off my senior year this way, tying my (personal record) and I won,” Haugen said. “I’m really excited. I actually am exhausted, but it’s the adrenaline.”
Haugen previously cleared 5-9 at the Argo Invite April 18. LTHS also participates the night before at the Downers Grove North Invite to replicate the state format of competing on consecutive days.
“One of the other coaches said to me that (Haugen) certainly has to be one of the all-time greats,” said LTHS head coach Greg Frandsen, the team’s high jump coach. “It was really nice for it to come together and you could just see her confidence. It was just a really special, great way for her to go out.”
Haugen owns a program-record six all-state medals for top-nine finishes. She was second in high jump in 2013 despite clearing a then personal-best 5-8 and seventh in triple jump in 2014.
This year, she missed the triple jump finals, but the less pounding Saturday probably paid off for high jump.
“I was like, ‘Hey, maybe this is good,’ ” Haugen said. “I feel like the past two years I’ve been really, really relaxed at high jump. I only had to do three events (Friday) – three triple jumps, three high jumps and a hurdles race. It was kind of an easy day so I felt really good this morning.”
There are 12 finalists in the 800. In a tight finish, Flaherty was .26 from sixth and .10 from ninth.
“I was so scared I didn’t make (all-state) because I didn’t know where I came in,” Flaherty said. “I had a whole mindset the entire track season that I was going to work hard and put in the effort. I really wanted to be all-state for the 800, and then reaching my goal if I set my mind to it.”
Flaherty was the only remaining member of last year’s all-state, sixth-place 3,200 relay. She helped the relay qualify at sectionals but only ran the 800 and 1,600 relay Friday.
“No one returned (in 3,200 relay) so that was kind of sad but it was really fun to run individually (in finals), kind of get that experience, kind of go it on your own,” Flaherty said.