Tigers run away with third place


Dylan Budd, Sports Editor

The girls varsity track team placed third out of 12 schools at the Plainfield North Indoor Invite on Feb. 24.

It marked the team’s first meet of the season coming off last year’s record-setting campaign.The girls picked up where they left off last year, boasting 16 broken personal records amongst the group.

“We’ve had high expectations placed on us after we were so productive last year,” senior captain Natalie Liapis said. “Our coaches want to take more people to state. We also want to take down some school records.”

Multiple athletes achieved top honors, including sophomore Elsie Czarniakowski in the 800m run and the Tigers’ 4×400 group. Second place saw even more North athletes such as sophomore Taylor McClain in the 55m dash as well as sophomore Lauren Dellangelo in the 400m run and the 4×200 team.

“This season, these girls have been really dedicated and really focused, and they’re starting to understand that with some hard work, they can be successful,” varsity coach Chris Simon said.

McClain agrees with her coach, citing the importance of the preparation before any given meet.

“All of us have to give it our all during the meet, but more importantly give our all during practice,” McClain said. “That improvement in practice sets us up for growth in meets.”

After the invite, the girls headed to Illinois Wesleyan University next for the Normal U High Invite, North Central College for the Downers South Mustang Relays and Proviso West for a meet before returning home.

“Because it’s a long season, you have to stay focused,” junior Teagan Kiger said. “Focus on your team, your goals, and the fun of the sport. It becomes much easier to do what you do best and what you love doing.”

With such a high bar, many of the team’s members have noticed the greater bonds this year compared to last year.

“I think the team is a better community this year, I feel like everyone gets along better,” Czarniakowski said. “There’s not much judgment. The people I surround myself with are the sweetest people, and I think we’ve gotten more confident as a whole.”

Kiger, a field athlete, placed 5th among pole vaulters and 9th among triple jumpers. She is another athlete who has noticed the growth of comradery on the team.

“I think everyone’s out here cheering really well,” Kiger said. “They’re all super supportive, and we’re doing a really great job.”

Leadership from upperclassmen is always a necessity on a team, and track is no exception. Liapis wants to combine fun and guidance for her teammates, knowing she will have to quite literally pass the baton to the freshmen. 

“For so early on in the year, we’re doing much better than I thought we would,” Liapis said. “It’s going to be really nice to see how we progress as a unit and especially how all of our newcomers do throughout the season. I hope to qualify for state in the 300m hurdles and just have a blast for my senior year.”

 IHSA state finals at Eastern Illinois University are scheduled for May 19 and 20, and the girls have their eye on the prize: a state championship.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I do have some thoughts in mind for what I think we can do,” Simon said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up as one of the top three programs in the state.”