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Girls Track and Field: Dalton sparks Shepard to title

Courtney Daltanchors Shepard's 4x200m Relay as they take first place for 6th Annual Cathy Harper Girl's Track Invitational Stagg Saturday

Courtney Dalton anchors Shepard's 4x200m Relay as they take first place for the 6th Annual Cathy Harper Girl's Track Invitational at Stagg, Saturday, April 5th, 2014 in Palos Hills | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: May 8, 2014 9:52AM



When Shepard gathered for a team picture Saturday after the Astros won the Stagg Invitational, it was fitting that Courtney Dalton was sitting in the middle, holding the championship plaque.

The versatile senior anchored three first-place relays and won the 300-meter hurdles to lead Shepard to the title of the 15-team meet in its first appearance.

The top five teams were Shepard (109), defending champion Rockton Hononegah (88), Joliet West (66½), Romeoville (46) and Reavis (45). The Rams were led by Loyola recruit Paulina Gal’s meet records in the shot put and discus.

“Our first time coming here, we had to make a name for ourselves,’’ Dalton said. “Nobody knew about us.’’

Dalton ended her busy day and the meet by running the last leg of the 1,600-meter relay that included Katrina Tillman, Jameria Stennis and Chasz Wells (4 minutes, 8.29 seconds).

Before she won the 300 hurdles (46.78), Dalton anchored the 400 relay (51.36) of Day-sha Tillman, Zipporah Allbritton and Anila McFadden and the 800 relay (1:47.90) of Tillman, Wells and Allbritton to first-place finishes.

“It used to be mental because I had all these events,’’ Dalton said. “I didn’t have any rest time. I just had to get in my head: ‘You can do it. You got it. Just push yourself.’ ’’

Shepard’s first-place 3,200 relay (10:18.29) was made up of Katrina Tillman, Kelli Callahan, Kayla Cody and Stennis. In addition to running on two winning relays, Stennis contributed a first place in the 400 (1:02.09).

“I take my time and then I feel at the end I should just go,’’ Stennis said of the 400. “If I’m not doing too strong in the beginning, I’m just going to take off at the end.’’

Shepard won the title without Khalia McIntyre, Mariah Terry and Alondra Delfin, three of its top individuals who are sidelined with injuries.

“That shows they’re ready, they’re committed,’’ Shepard coach Verline Gaddis said. “They’re only in charge of one thing and that’s their attitude. They have to have the attitude to go after it.’’

Reavis’ Gal certainly has that attitude. She set meet records in the shot put (41 feet, 4½ inches) and discus (119-5½) and took second in the 800 (2:30.53) and third in the 300 hurdles.

“Whatever they want to put me in, I really want to put my best out there,’’ Gal said. “I’ve had a lot of success with the things I’m doing so far.’’

Gal is a three-sport standout at Reavis who plays center on the basketball team and outside hitter on the volleyball team.

Other local winners Saturday were Andrew’s Maggie Schultz in the 800 (2:26.45), Oak Lawn’s Victoria Jones in the 100 (12.97) and Andrew’s Baylee Panfil, who tied for first in the high jump (4-11).

Elle Mannix led host Stagg by taking second place in the triple jump (36-2) and 100 hurdles (17.07).



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