LTHS sophomore Sarah Barcelona

Triple jump success for Lyons Township senior Thomas Saggau began at St. Francis Xavier School in La Grange.

“In fifth grade, I’m not really sure how I ended up triple jumping,” Saggau said. “My first meet ever in track and field, I won triple jump so I continued doing it ever since then.”

Saggau now is a returning Class 3A state qualifier and the school record holder. On April 15, he broke his outdoor record with 45 feet-11 inches at the Minooka Invitational.

Saggau jumped 45-4 1/2 at the Arcadia Invitational in California April 7-8, where junior Danny Kilrea also broke the 3,200 school record (9:00.81).

At Friday’s Prospect Invite, Kilrea (4:23.13) and senior Vince Zona (4:23.33) finished 2-3 in the 1,600 after Kilrea won the 3,200 (9:09.98) and Zona was third in the 800 (1:55.88).

Other winners were Saggau (45-2 1/2), seniors Austin Iturralde (14-1 in pole vault), and Rob Hatch (21-5 in long jump), junior Griffin Vizgirda (400 in 51.18), sophomore Xavier Armand (300 intermediate hurdles in 40.42) and the 800 relay (1:30.37).

Indoors Feb. 16 at LTHS, Saggau set the all-time school mark with 46-10 1/2. Other indoor records this season were by senior Antwane Thigpen (55 and 200), Kilrea (3,200), Zona (1,600), and the 800 relay of Armand, senior Reggie Terrell, Saggau and Thigpen.

Saggau was 34th at 2016 state (42-4) after a then personal-record 44-3 3/4 at sectionals.

“I didn’t compete too well at state but I took a ton away from my experience,” Saggau said. “For me, 47 or 48 should be my goal for state. As long as I PR and know I gave it my 100 percent, I’ll just be happy with that.”

LTHS girls track and field

Lyons Township junior Cara Paliakas enjoyed a breakthrough 2016 season, including a berth to the Class 3A state meet in the 1,600-meter run.

“What really helped was I’ve gotten so close to my teammates and my coaches I know better,” Paliakas said. “We’re all on the same page and it’s really a motivating environment. It’s nice when everyone around you is working hard. It pushes you to try your best for them.”

After sophomores Sarah Barcelona and Emily Henkel ran the No. 1 and No. 3 fastest 3,200s in LT history April 22, Paliakas followed with a lifetime-best 5:09.59 in the 1,600 at the Distance Night in Palatine Invite.

Paliakas, who finished 12th, had previous bests of 5:10.80 indoors March 17 and 5:10.97 at the 2016 sectional.

“That was the big goal, to break 5:10,” Paliakas said. “They were playing music for the races and they had people standing on the track (to cheer) so it was a really different experience. It was really fun.”

Barcelona’s winning 10:43.80 beat the 10:46.9 set by 2012 graduate Lisa Gordon. Henkel was third in 10:48.31.

Junior Sonia Slusarczyk is among the Lions’ top eight all-time for the 100 (12.51) and 300 low hurdles (47.40). On April, 13, the 400 relay of junior Tara Schwarz, senior Maggie Caplice, Slusarczyk and sophomore Renata Wingert ran the Lions’ fastest time in two years (49.83).

Juniors and returning state qualifiers Emma Wink and Julia Cozzi have cleared 5-2 and 9-6 in high jump and pole vault, respectively. Junior Kapria Jackson threw 37-5 1/2 in shot put April 13 and 38-2 indoors.

LTHS junior Cara Paliakas enjoyed a breakthrough 2016 season, including a berth to the Class 3A state meet in the 1,600-meter run.