Girls Track: New Trier’s Ackermans pull double duty at state
Jessica Ackerman (left) and Courtney Ackerman (right) make a great duo for New Trier in the 3A 3200 meter. Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:01AM
If only she had more time and more distance.
Courtney Ackerman will tell everyone that even though she was kicking, she was not gaining on Oswego East senior Ariel Michalek.
“She was kicking as well and I don’t think I was gaining on her,” said the New Trier junior. “She ran a brilliant race.”
Courtney Ackerman might be the only person at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Field that saw it that way. She would finish second in the Class 3A 1,600-meter run, finishing in 4:54.45. Michalek won the 1,600-meter title, finishing with a time of 4:53.37. Of the nine athletes who earned medals, eight of them broke 5:00. The final athlete to earn a medal, Oswego junior Kelsey Hjorth, finished in 5:02.99.
“Courtney’s time was her best time ever,” said Bob Spagnoli, the Trevians head coach. “We are thrilled for her.”
Courtney Ackerman’s time was also a school record. It was the final medal of the day for the pair of twin sisters from New Trier, who have made a career of showing up and collecting hardware. Her twin sister, Jessica, earned fourth in the 3,200-meter run. Courtney Ackerman finished a little over 10 seconds later. Jessica finished in 10:40.31; Courtney crossed in 10:50.64.
“I went to the training room and put some water on my face,” said Jessica. “If I had to pick only one race to run, it would be the 3,200-meter run. But, as my secondary race, it would be the 800-meter. I don’t know how my sister did it.”
Courtney might have the same thought on her sister. Jessica, on less than 90 minutes of rest, returned to compete in the 800-meter run. She took seventh in the race, finishing in 2:13.53.
“I just gave it my all for the entire race,” said Jessica. “It was a tough double, but I was happy to not be in the 1,600-meter run.”
While they did not place, the 3,200-meter relay team also advanced to the state finals. They missed the medal stand by only 28/100ths of a second. Three seniors, Samantha Wade, Anna Berglund and Julie Jackson combined forces with freshman Mimi Smith to finish in 9:19.50. Maine South took ninth in the 3,200-meter relay, finishing in 9:19.22, to grab the final set of medals in the event.
“I wished those kids made it on the medal stand,” said Spagnoli. “Our reputation in the distance races has become very respected because of those seniors. It was bittersweet. It was great to see them make it through Friday to Saturday, but tough to see them get so close and not get a medal.”
Jessica’s time in the 800 also set a school record, while her 3,200 was a personal best. New Trier finished 11th overall with 21 points.
“Jessica and Courtney are two of the hardest workers I have ever had,” said Spagnoli. “They both ran difficult double-doubles. This time next year, I know I will have to say goodbye to them. It will be a sad moment for this program.”