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Kiara Wesseh and Sunny Weber achieve state championships in Charleston – Shaw Local

CHARLESTON – Newark star Kiara Wesseh had an unforgettable final international match.

The senior won overall medals in all four of the day's events as well as her second straight state championship in the Class 1A high jump at the IHSA girls track and field state championships at Eastern Illinois University.

Wesseh, who will compete in the heptathlon at Baylor, won the high jump after clearing 1.67 meters (5 feet, 5.75 inches) on her first attempt. Wesseh said she was super excited after clearing the winner's height hurdle on her first attempt.

“It started off a little bumpy because I managed the first height but missed some of my first jumps right at the start,” Wesseh said. “But toward the end I got my last two jumps on the first try, so I was really happy.”

Wesseh also secured national honors with a fourth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles (46.96 seconds) and two fifth-place finishes in the 100-meter hurdles (15.95) and the 4×200-meter relay (1:47.59). Awards.

The senior said she's going into her final competition for Newark with the goal of winning medals in all four events, so making it as a last hurray was special. In the end, Wesseh won her second straight state title in the high jump and finished her career with 15 state medals.

“This morning it really hit me that this was the last time I would run for Newark and I realized I was really going to miss it,” Wesseh said. “But I’m looking forward to finishing it with a good degree and I’m looking forward to college.”

Tess Carlson also earned an all-state finish for Newark. The junior cleared 3.35 meters (10-11.75) in the pole vault to secure seventh place in the event.

Sandwich student Sunny Weber was also at the top of the podium that day. After finishing second in the 3,200-meter run last year, Weber secured victory with a kick in the final 600 meters with a new personal best of 10:30.16.

Weber, who ran most of the race alongside Waterloo's Cameron Crump and University's Zoe Carter and Natalie Bierbaum, said she wanted to make sure her bid for victory stood when she crossed the finish line.

“My game plan was to try as hard as I could,” Weber said. “I feel like the lactic acid is going straight into my legs, but I just tried to ignore it.”

Weber also took second place in the 1,600m race with a time of 5:02.68. Weber said she was really happy to get silver in this event, especially after coming into the race thinking she would finish third or fourth.

“I think I know how I will feel racing in the future,” Weber said. “I wanted to let the leader do her thing while I stayed with the pack, but then I realized I had more. So I just started pushing and I think if I had done that more during the race I could have achieved a PB, but I'm still very happy.”

In Class 1A, Seneca received a third-place finish from Teagan Johnson in the pole vault (3.70 meters), a fifth-place finish from Evelyn O'Connor in the 1,600-meter run (5:11.40) and a sixth-place finish in the 4×800 meters -run (9:50.61) thanks to Clara Bruno, Natalie Misener, Gracie Steffes and O'Connor and a seventh from Faith Baker in the discus (117-6).

Dwight's Mikayla Chambers placed ninth in the 1A 800 (2:20.78).

Somonauk-Leland freshman Alexis Punsalan placed 11th in the 1A pole vault (3.05).

Seneca's Teagan Johnson looks down the runway in the 1A pole vault at the IHSA girls track and field meet in Charleston on Saturday, May 18, 2024.

Anna Harden

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