HUNTLEY – Prairie Ridge’s Natasha Schaffer walked out to Red Raider Stadium, checked the wind direction and smiled.
The Wolves’ junior does some of her best work at Huntley’s facility, and on Thursday there were gusts hitting 28 mph right behind the jumpers.
“Perfect conditions,” Schaffer said. “I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Schaffer won the long jump, then capped the first day of the McHenry County Track and Field Meet by breaking her own triple jump mark with a 38 feet, 6 1/2-inch effort on her final attempt.
The field events were finished on Thursday, with running events starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday with the first heat of the 3,200 meters. Cary-Grove leads the girls standings after the field events with 44 points, followed by McHenry (38), with Huntley and Prairie Ridge each next with 33.
Prairie Ridge also got a win from pole vaulter Sam Fisher. C-G’s Paige Grove won the shot put, McHenry’s Jenna Pauly won the high jump and Richmond-Burton’s Megan Curran won the discus.
Schaffer won five of six events last year at Huntley, which hosted the county, Fox Valley Conference and Class 3A sectional meets. Jacobs’ Caleigh Walsh was the only competitor to beat Schaffer at Huntley, winning the sectional long jump title.
“(The wind) was a blessing,” Schaffer said. “As soon as I walked out here I was happy to see the wind was at our backs. It definitely played a part in my confidence.”
As Schaffer prepared for her last jump, she began clapping her hands to get the fans around the pit going. She then passed 38 feet for the second time in her career. Schaffer said the wind forced competitors to move their approaches back more than normal.
“I had to go back quite a bit,” she said. “If you hit a really strong gust, you could be off by a foot.”
Fisher said the wind sometimes blew her pole down on her approach in the pole vault.
“The wind would start taking it,” Fisher said. “I had to use my arm strength more before planting it. At first it was hard, but I adjusted and made it work. I’m definitely satisfied with that (10-9) in these conditions.”
Groves threw her career-best 40-7 1/2 to win the shot put over Crystal Lake Central’s Mary Stevens by one-quarter inch. That also was Stevens’ career-best throw. C-G’s Tabor Gleason also took seconds in the high and triple jumps to help the Trojans to the team points lead.
“Usually I hold back on my first throw to make sure I don’t foul,” Groves said. “Today I just gave my first throw all I had. I was really excited because I’ve been working toward that barrier, constantly hitting 39s and getting closer.”
Pauly and Gleason both cleared 5-5 in the high jump, with Pauly winning on fewer misses. Pauly also took second in the pole vault, an event she started about a month ago, clearing 10-3.
Curran threw 113-0 to win the discus, then took third in the shot put.
GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD
McHenry County Meet
Partial Team Scores (field events are final): 1. Cary-Grove 44, 2. McHenry 38, 3 (tie). Huntley, Prairie Ridge 33, 5. Crystal Lake Central 30, 6. Marian Central 17.5, 7. Richmond-Burton 16, 8. Marengo 9, 9. Jacobs 8.5, 10. Crystal Lake South 2, 11 (tie). Johnsburg, Harvard, Woodstock 1, 14 (tie). Alden-Hebron, Woodstock North 0.
Shot put: 1. Groves (C-G) 40-7.5, 2. Stevens (CLC) 40-7.5, 3. Curran (RB) 37-5.5, 4. Cabusao (Jac) 36-8.5, 5. Bessey (Hunt) 35-1, 6. Rhode (CG) 35-0.
Discus: 1. Curran (RB) 113-0, 2. Sanchez (McH) 104-9, 3. Groves (CG) 104-0, 4. Butchley (CLC) 101-4, 5. Maloney (McH) 98-2, 6. Tarazi (PR) 96-8.
High jump: 1. Pauly (McH) 5-5, 2. Gleason (CG) 5-5, 3. Krich (Hunt) 5-3, 4. O’Connor (Hunt) 5-1, 5 (tie). Holstein (Jac), Meintz (MC) 4-11.
Long jump: 1. Schaffer (PR) 17-5.75, 2. Dineen (MC) 16.11.5, 3. Simons (Mgo) 16-9, 4. Vogt (McH) 16-9, 5. Becker (CLC) 16-7.25, 6. Miller (Hunt) 16-6.
Triple jump: 1. Schaffer (PR) 38-6.5 (meet record), 2. Gleason (CG) 37-4, 3. Davis (Hunt) 37-3, 4. Only (Hunt) 37-0.5, 5. Malinowski (CLC) 34-8.5, 6. Sysol (CLC) 34-3.5.
Pole vault: 1. Fisher (PR) 10-9, 2. Pauly (McH) 10-3, 3. Meintz (MC) 9-9, 4. Becker (CLC) 9-9, 5. Whitfield (Hunt) 9-3, 6. Ramirez (CG) 9-3.