Tuerff takes two
VALPARAISO -- It’s almost become a routine for Riley Tuerff every track meet.
“I usually hit a hurdle during my race so I have a black and blue knee,” she said.
The La Porte star hurdler got through the 100-meter hurdles preliminaries at Tuesday’s Duneland Athletic Conference meet unscathed, but the finals, not so much.
“I smacked my knee right into it,” Tuerff said. “I hit it pretty hard.”
Tuerff was none the worse for wear, though, crossing in 15.75 for a relatively comfortable victory over Merrillville’s Jordan Yanders (16.08) and Chyna Royster (16.1).
“I knew the competition was good, I knew they were coming, I definitely used that as motivation,” Tuerff said. “I think (hitting the hurdle) made me work harder for it. I got it right back. My form would’ve been better, but I’m still pretty pleased.”
The 300s were much less eventful for Tuerff, who breezed to her second title in 45.74, nearly 2.5 seconds ahead of runner-up Haley Moore of Chesterton.
“Some (hurdles) were a little high or I went over with my non-dominant leg. That happens, it kind of throws you off a little bit, but I just kept going,” Tuerff said. “You can hear everybody in the home stretch. It feels like they’re right next to me. It just pushes me more. I’m still just grinding the whole time.”
For all her success, Tuerff had never won an individual DAC title before, having gone up against the likes of Crown Point’s Kristen LaCosse and Lake Central’s Destiney Washington, both state champions, in previous years.
“They’ve pushed me. They helped me, mentally and physically,” Tuerff said. “Coming into this year, it was my goal, I need to achieve it. We won the (400 relay) last year, it was really exciting, I knew how much I loved that feeling, so I definitely wanted to feel that again. I knew if I won, my time would be there.”
Tuerff was the sole champion from La Porte County with teammate Keatyn Boren picking up a second in the shot put (36 feet, 2 inches) behind LC’s Makeda Ellis (40-4). Boren registered a personal best in the discus by over seven feet with a 97-2 to claim fifth.
“I was pleased. The competition was definitely there, I feel like I pulled through, so I’m happy with it,” Boren said. “It’s there, definitely the consistency. It was good for me. As we get out of the Duneland, the competition’s a lot bigger, so we’ll see.”
Arianna Steele claimed third in the 800 with a 2:23.49, but the finish was a victory of perseverance for the La Porte sophomore. She was out of all of indoor season with shin fractures, the result of running on shin splints during cross country/
“I’m very pleased with it. After coming off a two-month injury, this is all I can ask for,” Steele said. “All during cross, I was running with it, being mean to my body, and it just got worse. I feel good now, I just have to be careful with it.”
Steele spent the down time on crutches with air casts on both legs, gradually transitioning to aqua jogging before finally getting back to running.
“I wasn’t supposed to run all season,” she said. “I think it’s a season just full of gratitude, being thankful for everything I get.”
Michigan City’s meet was highlighted by pole vault runner-up Meghan Miller (9-6) and rookie thrower Aaliyah Briggs, who took fourth in the discus (104-2) and eighth in the shot (32-8).
“I just thought it would be fun,” Briggs said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m doing so much better than I did at the beginning. I was 80s maybe (in the discus) and now I’m 100s. They tell me to do something, I change it, I get it right, then I perfect it. It’s a lot of technique and strength. I spent days on (spring) break perfecting it, just trying to improve. I still get butterflies, but I’m so happy with what I’ve done.”
La Porte was sixth with 49 points and City eighth (23). Lake Central was team champion (132), followed by Chesterton (102.5).