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Carolyn Dietz starts running for the high jump, during Saturday's track and field meet hosted at Bolingbrook High School. | Paul Bergstrom ~ For Sun-Times Media
Bolingbrook’s Lanisha Towner doesn’t possess the experience you might expect of a senior who’s reached the top of a podium. In fact, she has no high school sports background. It’s her first year running track and field and first time competing in a sport for the Raiders.
“I was afraid,” Towner said. “I didn’t think I was fast enough. I didn’t think I was strong enough. I didn’t think I had the mental confidence I needed.”
Oh, how wrong she was.
Towner garnered a pair of first-place finishes at the SouthWest Suburban Blue indoor meet Saturday at Bolingbrook. She won the 55 meters with a time of 7.36 seconds and the 200 (27.94).
“I really am surprised, but I’m proud of myself,” Towner said. “I know I can’t really hold back. This is my senior year so I’m going to do my best.”
Lockport won the meet with 108 points, Sandburg was a close second with 103 and Lincoln-Way Central placed third with 88.
The Porters had a strong day in the field, placing 1-2 in the high jump behind Jessi Wernsman and Carolyn Dietz. Wernsman notched gold at 5 feet. Dietz, a freshman, cleared 4-10.
“This season I’ve been jumping a lot lower than I’ve wanted to jump,” said Wernsman, whose career best is 5-3. “So to jump five feet and win conference as a sophomore is a confidence booster.”
Also winning for the Porters was Lane Kadlec in the shot put (35-51/2) and the 640-meter relay team (1:32.88).
Lincoln-Way Central was led by J.J. Robinson, a returning state qualifier in the mile. Robinson ran the fastest indoor time of her career in the 800 (2:28) for top honors.
“Two of the Lockport girls came close to me, but I out-sprinted them,” Robinson said. “Usually I start out fast. I don’t have the best kick, I just try to hang on. They were right on my neck. My coach and my dad started screaming at me, so I knew they were close.”