PEORIA — Tradition, pride, competitive farewells and inner challenges.

And a wealth of stories to tell.

That's what the 40th Journal Star/CEFCU Honor Roll Meet offered at EastSide Centre on Monday.

Dunlap's relay team blew away the 4x800 field. The 3200 was a photo finish. LaSalle-Peru senior Rachel Hickey turned in a stunning run in the 1600 and Dunlap's Campbell Peterson dominated. Dunlap's Franny Verville had an emotional final run.

There were second-generation Honor Roll medalists and teammates, with their mothers — also Honor Roll medalists and teammates back in the day — on hand.

There was a Metamora senior who loves running so much that she lined up and ran her race even though she knew a medical condition would put her face down, and out cold, at the finish line. Every. Time.

Let's begin.

Zofia LaHew and Alexa Perrow are juniors and teammates at Elmwood High School.

Just like their mothers were back in 1982.

Kim LeHew finished third in the HR's 200 in 1982 and third in the long jump in 1983. Her teammate and friend, Betsy — who is Perrow's mother — won the 3200.

They sat together in the infield, watching their daughters. Zofia LeHew won the high jump with a 5-foot, 3-inch effort, and Alexa Perrow was fifth in the 3200.

LeHew brought her old Honor Roll Meet medals with her, and mother and daughter shared them.

"It's an honor to be in this meet," the elder LeHew said. "I wanted to show her what the medals looked like, give her something to shoot for. They still mean a lot to me."

Said her daughter: "I jumped 5-3 at state, too (finished seventh). It's great to be able to participate in the same meet my mother did."

Alexa Perrow — who ran the 1600 later — said "It was a lot of fun to run the same event my mom did, we have a lot of runners in our family."

Said her mother, Betsy: "It was a lot more nerve-wracking watching her run than it was when I ran here myself."

Then there was Metamora senior Hailey Tackett, who ran the 4x800. She has a medical condition in which her body metabolizes salt rapidly during competition, and her rate speeds up to 130 then dips to 50 by the end of the race.

"And that puts me out," said Tackett, who plans to attend Illinois Central College and then transfer to Colorado State to study equine sciences. "I pass out at the finish line. I know it's going to happen every time.

"It's worth it to me. I really love running. I've gotten accustomed to what happens and I deal with it, and my mom is always there at the finish line and I know it'll be OK.

"I didn't want to give up running. It's a little sad that this was my last (competitive) race."

The 3200 was a photo finish as Dunlap's Ayah Aldadah crossed in 12 minutes. 03.20 seconds and Bureau Valley's Haley Weidner next at 12:03.62.

Peterson — who won the 1600 at the IHSA State Finals and was second there in the 3200 — burned through the 800 on Monday to earn a first-place medal in 2:18.23.

Hickey — the state champion in the 800 and second there in the 1600 — turned in a stunning 1600 first-place run at 4:56.54, erasing her personal best by 12 seconds.

And then there was Dunlap's state champion 4x800 relay team — Andrea Copeland, Miranda Kruiswyk, Sarah Georgieff and Franny Verville — who blew away the 4x800, finishing 34 seconds ahead of the field.

"The 4x800 is very special for us," said Verville, who will attend West Point. "We're all seniors, I've run with some of them for six or seven years.

"That last lap around the track, coming in for the finish and seeing those girls waiting there one last time. That was everything."

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Dave Eminian covers the Rivermen and Chiefs for the Journal Star. Reach him at 686-3206 or deminian@pjstar.com. Check out videos for those teams at youtube.com/pjstarcom and news items on Twitter @icetimecleve.