River Trails Middle School’s 4x100-meter girl’s relay team finished in first place this weekend at the track and field state meet in East Peoria, winning the school’s first state championship in recent memory.
The team completed the relay in 53.93 seconds, edging out runners from El Paso Gridley Middle School and Rockridge Junior High. It featured four runners and an alternate, including seventh graders Avery Hinman, Brielle Perrault and Emily Zyluk, and sixth graders Emma Meeker and Jordan Patterson. Patterson also picked up a second-place finish in the girl’s 100-meter dash and third place in the girl’s 400-meter dash.
"We couldn't be more proud of our athletes, who not only exemplify speed and skill, but also display teamwork and determination that's second to none,” Coach Jim Kuperman said. “Their performance was a testament to a lot of hard work, hours of practice, and the incredible spirit of River Trails Middle School."
On the boys’ side, eighth grader Gabriel Gronski placed third in both the 800-meter and 1600-meter runs. Seventh grader Sawyer Koruba took third in the discus throw, while eighth grader Charlie Stempien added a second-place finish in the high jump.
In addition to Kuperman, the team is coached by River Trails teachers Melissa Cascella, Kyle Farley, Scott Kaminsky and Cristy Tracz. The state meet is organized and hosted by the Illinois Elementary School Association.