FULTON, Ill. – It was a happy day on Saturday, with the town of Fulton welcoming home a whole group of state medalists back to town.
The team was welcomed back into town with a police and fire escort from Albany to Fulton High School, while community members joined the procession and welcomed them in the streets. An assembly was held in the gym once the girls got back.
Head coach Tim Wessels was moved speechless by the efforts of the Fulton girls track team over the weekend in Charleston, Ill. Both Chloe Lindeman (shot put) and Daekota Knott (triple jump) came home as state champions while the 4x100 team (Alyjah Carter, Daekota Knott, Kearra Kohrt and Julia Lehman) brought home a silver medal.
“This was amazing from you all,” Wessels said in the assembly at the school. “We finally got a relay team here, and we did amazing things.”
Lindeman, a Wisconsin-commit, nabbed her second outdoor state title in as many years. She easily made the best throw of the day on Saturday in the finals, throwing 47-09.25, beating the runner up by 3.5 feet.
“I love showing that Class 1A is pushing boundaries of what athletes can offer,” Lindeman said. “I was very motivated on my last throw.”
Daekota Knott got her first outdoor state title. She was a runner-up last year, losing only to Danielle Taets of Orion. She went up against Taets again this year.
“It was so exciting, I was so ecstatic,” Knott said. “When I jumped my 38-00 I hoped it would carry me through to the end, and when I heard I couldn’t stop smiling.”
She qualified for the finals with a jump of 37-00.25 qualified her for the finals, but then Knott impressed with a leap of 38-01.75 on Saturday to take the crown.
The biggest surprise of the weekend came from the 4x100 relay. The group surprised at the sectional meet by qualifying for state after running together for the first time at sectionals.
The quartet then qualified for the finals. To top it off, they ran a 49.90 to set a new state record and to take the runner-up spot in Class 1A.
“When I gave the baton to Daekota, and she passed it off, I was running along the track to see who was going to cross,” Kohrt said. “When she crossed the finish line, I was so happy but then I found out our time. I can’t even explain how proud I am of everyone on that team.”
The group ran together a total of three times this season.
Of the qualifiers, Knott, Kohrt and Lindeman are graduating. The team will be returning long jumper Julia Lehman, high jumper Sydney Norman, middle distance runner Emily Schipper and two members of the 4x100 team along with a lot of talented athletes who didn’t qualify for the state meet this year.
Tim Wessels will also be passing on the reigns to the track program after seven years at the helm.
“There are a ton of athletes that are still going to be on this team,” Wessels said. “There are going to be better things than this, believe it or not. There are some good things coming.”
Julia Lehman jumped 16-03.5 on Thursday in the long jump, while Kohrt jumped 16-02.5. In the high jump on Thursday, Sydney Norman cleared 4-08. Emily Schipper ran 2:24.20 in ninth place, just out of qualifying for the finals.