No one understands tradition better than a senior on the Evanston girls track and field team. By the time they’ve reached their fourth year in the program, Wildkit upperclassmen are fully aware of what it took for the athletes who came before them at ETHS to succeed.

And as one of a handful of seniors on the roster this spring, Remy Amarteifio is doing whatever it takes to continue Evanston’s legacy of success.

She can’t help it. She’s surrounded by Hall of Fame coaches like Tameeka McFarlane and Jesse Sibert, and occasionally past greats like Renee Murphy and Natasha Foreman will drop her a text or email to remind her of the expectations for seniors.

Amarteifio seems poised to make her own significant impact if Evanston’s first two tests of the outdoor season are any indication. The diminuitive senior scored Evanston’s only victory at Saturday’s Springfield Southeast Lady Spartan Invitational and posted the third fastest time in Illinois this spring with her win in the 100-meter hurdles.

Amarteifio’s best time last year in the short hurdle race was 14.94 seconds. Saturday, she and teammate Alexia Harvey placed 1-2 in the race with respective times of 14.87 and 15.05, leading Evanston to a fourth place finish in the team standings with 50 points. Coach Fenton Gunter’s team trailed only East St. Louis Senior (77), Springfield Southeast (60) and Springfield (58.5) in the 20-team field after the competition on a warm afternoon in Central Illinois.

“Remy is the face of the program now and she understands the tradition of the hurdles here,” Gunter said. “And she’s really blessed to have someone like Tameeka (former state champion) coaching her.

“Her work ethic is what’s gotten her to this point. She’s put in the work and she’s really a student of the race now. She’s just worked her tail off, and I think she’s running with a little more confidence this season, too. She had a great fall, she had a good indoor season and I think she’s a little bit quicker than she was last year.

“She ran her best time today and we’re very proud of that because there was no wind assistance. We’ll take it — for now.”

Amarteifio added a fifth place finish in the 300 hurdles in a fast field, where the winner (Ingrid Samuels of Springfield) crossed in 46.50. Amarteifio was clocked in 47.69.

Evanston also counted six other top 5 individual finishes at the invitational. Another senior, Genora Garcia, earned second in the shot put with a best throw of 37 feet, 4 inches and added a fifth in the discus at 98-5. Junior Gabrielle Watson contributed a third in the high jump (5-4) and a fifth in the long jump (15-2), and classmate Hannah Hayat continued dropping time with a third place effort in the 1600 meters in 5:42.60.

But besides Amarteifio, it was freshman Enyaeva Michelin who made the biggest breakthrough for the Wildkits. She dropped two more seconds in the open 800, and her time of 2:27.52 placed third in a race she’s still learning how to run.

The learning curve should be a short one, though, considering her grandfather is boys head coach Don Michelin and her father, Donald Michelin Jr., is an assistant in the boys program. Michelin’s time as a freshman is already quicker than past top-flight half-milers who have worn the ETHS uniform, like Jahnell Horton, Amber Jackson and Laura Schmid, among others during their first seasons.

Michelin had to drop out of the 1600 Saturday because of leg cramps but Gunter sees a bright future for the young distance runner, who also ran cross country during the fall season.

“I think she’ll probably end up a miler for us instead of a half-miler, because that pace is more to her liking,” said the Evanston coach. “She dropped a couple of seconds from the 2:29 she ran last week and we haven’t even had any good training weather yet. She’s finding out that cross country isn’t the same sport as track — she’s not used to timed workouts in practice — and we still need to smooth out some of her (running) motion.

“But she’s very coachable, and she’s a very tough kid. She’s an aggressive runner and you don’t see that in many freshmen. She’ll have a couple of highs and a couple of lows this year, just because she’s a freshman, but she has a great attitude and a great work ethic. I think we’re going to be pretty strong in the mile and 800 over the next couple of years.”

Source: ETHS Sports Information

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