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Young talents make debut at state : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Young talents make debut at state
Harris places 11th in 200, Shodipo and Simmons represent Oswego

by Kristin Sharp


For any athlete making a debut in the track and field state finals, ending the season with a personal best finish is an accomplishment.

Oswego East sophomore Morgan Harris and Oswego juniors Princess Shodipo and Natajah Simmons competed at Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Stadium in Charleston for the Class 3A state meet last Friday.

Shodipo was the first to step onto the blue track for the 100-meter high hurdle prelims and clocked in at 15.69 seconds to place seventh in her heat. The final qualifying time to advance to Saturday's finals was 14.92.

"Both the 200 and 100 hurdle races were super fast," Oswego head coach Jamie Bechina said. "We knew going in that the girls would have to run PRs to get into finals. It didn't happen this season, but the girls have already set plans moving forwards. We are really proud of them; just qualifying for the state meet is a fantastic accomplishment."

Harris raced in the first heat of the 200-meter dash and clocked in at 25.03 to place fifth. Simmons was in the second heat and finished in 25.88 seconds to place seventh. With the top nine advancing, the final qualifying time for the finals was a 24.88, leaving Harris in 11th place overall.

"It's so different with every athlete that goes down there. The check-in tent is probably one of the most intimidating places to be. You walk in and you're surrounded by people who are very talented. When you look at that and the fact that Morgan PR'd by over five-tenths of a second, that's pretty incredible," Oswego East head coach Lisa Cook said. "She was really close to getting out of her heat and getting into the finals. Looking back, it's just that bit more that we need to do to get her into the finals next year. Definitely not a disappointing performance and we talked about how proud she should be. She did a great job and we're excited for the next two years."

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