With only six members on its roster as recently as four years ago, the prospects of Young's girls track and field team becoming city champions seemed remote.
But that's exactly what happened Saturday, thanks to the Dolphins' dramatic triumph in the Public League Championships at Hanson Stadium. They needed every ounce of depth possible as their 129 points edged runner-up Morgan Park (127.5) and five-time defending champion Lane (125).
"I was just hoping that the work everyone's been putting in would be enough," said Young junior Raena Rhone, who clinched the title by holding off Morgan Park's Breonna Green by .04 seconds in the meet's final running event, the 4 x 400-meter relay in addition to winning the 400 meters. "I was in so much pain from the beginning (of the anchor leg), but I knew the pain wouldn't matter."
With the team totals not officially tabulated, the single point Young received from Amber Frederickson moments later in the triple jump was clutch as well.
Besides Rhone's output, Young got wins from Lavinia Jurkiewicz in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters, Devyn Thompson in the 800 meters and its 4 x 200-meter and 4 x 800-meter relay teams.
Kenwood senior Kawanna Brooks raised her career total of city titles to 18 with victories in the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter hurdles. She also finished second in the 300 hurdles.
The boys team competition didn't contain nearly the same drama as Lane cruised to its fourth straight title. The Indians' 166.5 points easily outdistanced Morgan Park (100) and Harlan (65).
"Winning city is pretty much a must for us," said Lane senior Chris Kyles, who became the first Public Leaguer to win the 100, 200 and 400, in addition to running on the winning 4 x 100-meter relay. "We come out here to handle business."
Junior distance runner Kulayifi Haji was also a multiple winner for Lane, claiming both the 1,600 and 3,200, and teammates Laken Tomlinson (discus) and Jonathon Jackson (300 hurdles) also earned titles.
After Kyles, the top boys individual was Morgan Park junior Nigel Jolly, who won the long jump and triple jump and tied for second in the high jump. Jolly, last year's Class AA long jump champion, soared to a personal-best 47-0 effort in the triple jump, announcing himself as a contender Downstate in that event as well.