Skip to Main Content

Girls Track Wins IHSA Sectional Championship for 1st Time in Fenwick History

May 15, 2019

Friar senior Colleen Grogan is a State qualifier four consecutive years!


Last Friday, the Fenwick Girls’ Track Team won the IHSA Sectional Championship (at Glenbard South) for the first time in school history! It was a true team win with the Friars scoring in 16 of 18 events. Of those events they had eight individual champions:

  • Pole Vault - Claire Gatermann
  • High Jump & Triple Jump - Delaney Seligmann
  • 4x800 - Marie O’Brien, Maggie Van Ermen, Laura Durkin, Maria Quinn
  • 3200 - Katie Cahill
  • 800 - Maria Quinn
  • 300h - Colleen Grogan
  • 4x400 - Maggie Van Ermen, Marie O’Brien, Delaney Seligmann, Natalia Kuchinic

Each of these teams qualified for the State Finals as well as freshman Amanda Berhend, who placed second in the high jump. Other point scorers for the Friars were Margaret Scudder, Sonia Kuchinic, Arlene Amaya, Mikaela Burns, Maggie O’Malley, Paige Henige, Aliki Ameer, Emma Salzman, Loni Nelson, Lauren Hall and Jordyn Van Santen. Congratulations to all the Friar ‘trackletes’ on making history!


Senior Claire Gatermann set the Fenwick school record (10' 9") for girls' pole vaulting last spring.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that Colleen Grogan ’19 (pictured above) has qualified for the State Meet. Grogan has been resilient this season, says Head Coach Dale Heidloff, as she has fought through injury. “We had to slow down Colleen a bit,” he says, “but she’s running and jumping fast now!

“I believe we have had State qualifiers in the 300 hurdles for as many as 10 years dating back to Erin McCoy ’12, then Grace Cronin ’16 [who’s now running at Notre Dame) and now Colleen,” notes Science Teacher Mr. Heidloff, who is in his 19th season as the head coach of girls’ track at Fenwick. “Colleen was fourth her freshman year, third as a sophomore, second last year and champion this year.”

Remembering the Spring of 2016

The past four years have flown by for Grogan. “Two weeks before my freshman State Meet, Coach Heidloff told me that I should believe in myself because ‘crazy things can happen at state …,” she says, “and let me tell you, my first-ever state experience was crazier than I had expected.”


2019 marks a downstate four-peat for Grogan, shown here clearing a hurdle.

Heidloff was working the 2016 IHSA State Finals and “heard on the radio [that] they needed the Fenwick coach to come to the dugout. The officials were calling up to the press box for the PA guys to make the call,” he recalls. “When a coach gets called to the dugout, it’s usually to discuss a disqualification, so I’m like, ‘Who DQ’d?’ I get down to the dugout and they tell me that Colleen had been interfered with in her prelims race, and they wanted to know if I wanted her to run it again.”

Grogan admits to being “beyond nervous” setting the blocks for the prelim race that Friday. “When the gun shot off I raced down the track and was running one of my best times ever,” she reports. “Right at the last 25 meters, the girl who was seeded first in my heat tripped over the last hurdle and rolled into my lane. I was only a step behind her, so I had to step out of my own lane in order to jump the final hurdle and cross the finish line. Even with the slight interference I PR’ed [set a personal record] and got 10th place -- only a few tenths of a second from making it to the finals.”


Coach Dale Heidloff

After contemplating the re-run situation, Heidloff made an executive decision. The coach was keenly aware of the pressure-packed scenario: The then-freshman would have to run the race – by herself -- in front of some 2,000 fans on a nine-lane track with one lane of hurdles. “I had Colleen meet me in the press box so I could explain to her what I decided and then convince her it was a good idea,” he laughs.

“After the entire meet was over, Colleen ran her re-run in front of the entire stadium with the PA guy and the crowd cheering her on,” Heidloff remembers. “She … missed the finals by 0.1 second. That had to be one of the most awesome things for her to experience and was pretty cool to watch.”

Grogan concurs: “I was escorted, alone, back out onto the track to the starting line. At this point, my nervousness was through the roof,” she says. “The whole, entire stadium had their eyes on this little freshman who was about to run all by herself. However, once the gun went off, I managed to forget that I was alone and I ran another amazing prelim. I ran .02 seconds slower than my first time, so I didn’t make it to finals. But running alone on the big blue track was an unforgettable experience and was, honestly, so much fun.

“The moral of the story is that Coach Heidloff is right: You never know what unexpected things can happen at state!”

Keep in mind that pearl of wisdom, ladies, as you compete downstate at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston!



Back to news