The Washington girls track and field team has a number of candidates in contention for a trip to state.


The Washington girls track and field team has a number of candidates in contention for a trip to state.

Early in the season, several Lady Panthers are close to qualifying standards for the Illinois High School Class 2A state final May 19-21.

“We just have to keep everybody healthy,” WCHS head coach Tom Smith said.

There are a number of strong Washington distance runners in the fold.

Junior Julia Williams ran an 11:57 last month in the 3200 to wind up 14th in the Illinois Prep Top Times indoor meet in Bloomington.

She is only nine seconds off the time needed for state.

Alyssa Johnson, also a junior, is another distance specialist who already has clocked a 2:32 in the 800 run, which is nine seconds above the state level.

Johnson is part of a large pool of options for the 4x800, which also hopes to earn a bid to Charleston.

Sophomores Courtney Spurgeon and Danielle Williams and freshmen Haley Willis, Ashley Knott and Brittany Wright all could be part of the 3200 relay line-up.

Sophomore Lindsey Watson is incredibly versatile. The only challenge with her is deciding what events on which to focus.

She has twice jumped 4-feet-10-inches in the high jump (5-1 is the state-qualifying mark), was a second-team all-Mid-Illini Conference recipient in the triple jump as a freshman and is an up-and-coming discus thrower.

Ann Chapman, a junior, has hit 32-3 in the triple jump. She was the league champion last spring in that event, giving the Lady Panthers a one-two finish.

Newcomer Ashley Scalf, a junior, is a hurdler. Fellow track additions Carly Slagel, a senior, and junior Kyla Hinthorne are sprinters.

Sophomore Jaclyn Finney is an athlete to monitor in the 400 dash.

The 4x400 likely will include Johnson and sister Rachael Johnson, a freshman.

The throwers are an inexperienced group.

“Hopefully they’ll get some experience and be ready for us in the future,” Smith said.

The rest of the team is made up of: seniors — Brittany Spurgeon and Carolyn Riedel; juniors — Lauren Dwyer, Kaili Ruff and Alison Shantz; sophomores — Emily Carlock, Cassedie Dismang, Samantha Haynes and Brenna Sullivan.

Freshmen — Alyssa Barrich, Hannah Davis, Megan Friedmansky, Margueritte Godwin, Claire Hagan, Chelsea Martin and Jessica Sullivan.  

Thrower Brandyce Gordon is the primary loss from last year’s senior class.

Lexie Barra, a first- or second-team all-conference honoree in the high jump the last two years, elected not to go out for track to concentrate on her upcoming volleyball career at Illinois Central College.

Washington was fifth in the Mid-Illini a season ago. It realistically could finish anywhere from fourth to eighth this year, Smith said.

One thing hampering the Lady Panthers’ cause is they share a team strength with others in the league.

“It seems like everybody is good at distance,” said Smith.

Dunlap ended Metamora’s 10-year reign atop the league in 2010. Those two, plus Morton, appear to be competing again for this year’s crown.

Washington lost to host Morton and East Peoria in an M-I triangular April 5.

The Potters had 90 points, the Raiders 60 and the Lady Panthers 36.

Danielle Williams, Alyssa Johnson, Willis and Courtney Spurgeon recorded a 10:48.23 to win the 4x800.

Washington’s season continues tomorrow in a home dual vs. Richwoods.