Track and Field: AAU showing boosts stock of Neuqua Valley’s Katie Sheehan

Neuqua Valley's Katie Sheehan, shown last spring at the state finals at EIU, recently had a strong showing at AAU nationals. |  Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media
Neuqua Valley's Katie Sheehan, shown last spring at the state finals at EIU, recently had a strong showing at AAU nationals. | Brian O'Mahoney/For Sun-Times Media

Katie Sheehan has designs on running for a Division I college a year from now, competing against the best in front of big crowds.

She just got a nice sneak preview.

Sheehan, going into her senior year at Neuqua Valley, medaled twice at the AAU Junior Olympics completed Aug. 2 at Drake University.

Running for the Aurora Flyers club team, Sheehan took fourth in the 17-18 year old 1,500-meter run in 4:49.92 and placed eighth in the 800 in a personal best 2:15.45.

It was the first time medaling at a national meet for Sheehan, 11th in the 800 at the IHSA state meet in May.

“I met a goal to do better than I have before so I’m happy with that,” Sheehan said. “My 800 was a second faster than state. You don’t really run the 1,500 in school.”

Sheehan said that while some track athletes stop competing after spring season she relishes the club experience.

Sheehan, who also made state as a freshman at Naperville Central, has run for the Flyers and coach Tom Boatright since she was 12.

The practices are more relaxed, but the competition is accelerated.

“He is really inspiring,” Sheehan said of Boatright. “He doesn’t set limits on you. He’s said that I could do anything.”

Sheehan has not selected her college destination, but is in the midst of visiting schools.

Being a two-time state qualifier, Sheehan is no stranger to big meets. But she said state doesn’t compare to nationals.

“It’s definitely a lot bigger,” Sheehan said. “The stadium is filled all the way around. It feels like an important meet. Doing as well as I did there, it gives you a lot of confidence moving forward. And I like meeting people from other states.”

Sheehan wasn’t the only local athlete to medal at Drake.

Ty Moss, also a soon-to-be senior at Neuqua, took second in the boys 17-18 year old 800, running in 1:50.52.

In other age brackets, Naperville’s Paris Bowles medaled seventh in the girls 10-year-old 800; Alexandra Barnard of Naperville was third in the age 12 3,000; Miles Miskel of Naperville was seventh in the boys age 8 and under 100-meter dash and fifth in the long jump; Naperville’s Zachary Kinne won the age 14 3,000 and Isaiah Robinson was fifth in the 15-16 year olds 800.

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