CHARLESTON -- Sometimes all it takes is a second try.
"I dropped down times by seconds, it's crazy, " Danville's Ameia Wilson said.
After making it into last year's finals by a fraction of a second, Wilson handedly won both of her heats in the 100 and 200-meter dashes during the IHSA Class 3A state track and field preliminaries at Eastern Illinois University.
"I had never run on a blue track before," she said after posting the day's fastest time in the 100-dash, 11.88 seconds. "It was so distracting but this year I've been to other meets and bigger meets and I've been able to prepare for state."
The same can be said for Eisenhower's Katina and Tina Martin. The junior twins made it to the state preliminaries their freshman year but missed out on a state appearance last season. This year, Katina and Tina won all four of their combined heats, included back-to-back wins in the 200-meter dash.
"I executed the acceleration phase of my 100 better than I did last time," Katina said.
"I want to do some damage," Tina added. "I've worked hard over the summer and hopefully it'll pay off with winning the 400 and the 200."
As for runners making their first trip to state, a little veteran leadership can go a long way. For Urbana's Ayanna Kelley-Weatherspoon, anchoring her team's 4X2 required more than the last leg of the race.
"We've been running since middle school, so our connection is just like this," Kelley-Weatherspoon said. "So I know when she has it, I have to have it. Then Diamonasia has to have it, then (I) just got to go. Or else it's just not a team. I'm just so proud of them, I'm going to cry."