Girls Track: Carmel Catholic’s Baucus pleased — after all — with showing a Lake County Meet
Carmel's Shannon Baucus reacts after finishing second to her friend, Lake Forest's Carolina Carmichael, in the 100 hurdles last Thursday at the Lake County Invite. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:42AM
Rivalries can add even more fuel to contests already laced with heated competition.
During the Lake County Invitational on April 26, Carmel Catholic girls track team member Shannon Baucus was racing Lake Forest’s Carolina Carmichael in the 100-meter hurdles. Friends off the track — they both were in a dance troupe together when younger — Baucus didn’t want that fact to interfere with the task at hand.
“I was so focused in this race,” Baucus said. “I kind of ignored her a little bit.”
When it was over, the University of Memphis-bound Carmichael stood as the winner with a State-qualifying time of 15.06. The College of Charleston (S.C.)-bound Baucus was just behind (16.38), good for second place. So locked into the one-on-one battle with her “fren-emy,” Baucus failed to realize, at first glance, what she’d accomplished.
“I thought I was running really slow, and she beat me, and I was upset until I found out I had PR’d (personal record) with my time,” Baucus said. “I was still down until a few hours later. Then I was like, ‘OK I ran a good time, I should be happy.’ ”
That’s what friends are for — to bring out the best in each other. It’s also what siblings are for. Shannon is the younger sister of Mickey and Jack, both ex-Carmel football players now on scholarship at the University of Arizona.
The will to compete was forged at home for Baucus, while watching her big brothers play — and wanting to be like them — and as she racked up her own accomplishments, even surpassing them.
“Every since we were little, we’ve been competitive,” she said. “And as they made it, I was, like, I can do it, too. I’m just as good as them.”
Her conference-winning high jump last season (5-0) and third-place conference finish in the 100 hurdles (16.4) was enough evidence for colleges to take notice. With no interest in following her brothers into the desert, Baucus decided to look one time zone east, to a charming college town in the Deep South.
In December, on an official visit, it didn’t talk long for her to know she was in the right place: NCAA Division I Charleston.
“It was the first school I visited, and I fell in love with it,” Baucus said. “It has my major … athletic training … a great campus environment.”
Which includes the beach, just blocks away. Guess who has already given notice they are coming for a visit? Jack and Mickey.
“They were excited,” Baucus said. “They were, like, ‘We’re coming to visit. We’re going to hang out with you.’ I was, like, OK. I didn’t invite them, but they can come.”
Recap: Carmel finished 12th in the Lake County meet, competing without a full squad. All-State contender Megan Paul didn’t run any sprints, and Sarah Myss, the top seed in the 800, also didn’t run, nursing a leg injury.
Baucus high jumped 5-0, good for sixth place. Myss finished sixth in pole vault (9-0).
“We didn’t go in with the idea we are trying to knock the world down at the county meet,” said Carmel coach Jim Halford.
Paul won three events — the 100, 200 and 400 — in a dual meet against Marian Catholic the previous night. Paul’s time (55.9) in the 400 was the best in the state so far this season.
On the schedule: Carmel was set to compete in the East Suburban Catholic Conference meet at Illinois Benedictine University on Wednesday.
The Mustangs tallied only six team points in the county meet. All of their production came in the distance races.
Emily Schlebecker placed fifth in the 800 meters (2:28.29. Claire Naughton took fifth in the 3200 (12:10.92). And Ellie Palacios was sixth in the 1600 (5:30.80).
Mundelein also picked up a point with a sixth-place finish in the 4x800 relay.
The Mustangs will compete in the NSC Meet tonight at Round Lake.