Girls Track: Ackerman sisters give New Trier twin threat
New Trier's Courtney Ackerman (left) and Mimi Smith finished 1-2 in the 1600 meter run at the Niles West Girls Track Sectional on Thursday, May 10, 2012 in Skokie. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 8:40AM
Courtney and Jessica Ackerman are the faces of the New Trier girls track program.
The junior twins have been in the spotlight since they were freshmen in 2009, and rightly attract most of the attention.
The Ackermans are among the best distance runners in the state, and they helped the Trevians win their first state championship in cross country in the fall.
But there are others who have assisted the program’s rise over the last three seasons, such as seniors Julie Jackson, Sam Wade and Anna Berglund, who — along with freshman Mimi Smith — finished first in the 3,200-meter relay in a season-best 9:24.59 during last week’s Niles West Sectional to qualify for the state meet.
Berglund and Jackson both ran career-best splits, while Wade turned in a season-best leg. Jackson ran the anchor in 2:19.78.
“Last season, I was really frustrated because I couldn’t get under 2:20,” Jackson said. “Doing it (at the sectional) gives me a lot of confidence. We all put up good times, and I know we can still drop time.”
Berglund, Jackson and Wade teamed up with Ellie Pearlman to take ninth, in 9:25.35, at last season’s state meet.
Jackson won’t settle for anything less this time around. The unit clocked the eighth-best time at sectionals among all Class 3A state qualifiers.
“The goal is to make the finals again,” said Jackson. “Hopefully, we’ll place this time.”
Courtney Ackerman made up for a lost sophomore season by winning both the 1,600 (5:01.31) and 3,200 (10:39.05). Jessica Ackerman was second in the 3,200 (10:45.76).
Courtney Ackerman was injured last year, but she figures to be one of the favorites to win a state title in both distance events this weekend. She’s seeded third in the 3,200 and fifth in the 1,600.
Smith continued her standout rookie season by running second to Courtney Ackerman in the 1,600, finishing in 5:06.15.
On the strength of its distance runners, the Trevians took third with 70 points. Evanston won the sectional title with 99 points, while Loyola was second with 71.
North Shore Country Day
North Shore Country Day’s Rachel Mabie and Heather Mabie advanced from the Lisle Sectional to the Class 1A state meet. Mabie went 4-feet-8 in high jump to take second, and Heather cleared 32-11 in the triple jump to also finish runner-up.
The Raiders’ 800 relay team took first in 1:53.58 to also qualify for a trip Downstate.