Our first official practice is Wednesday, August 8th from 7:15 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. at Dupage River Sports Complex (2807 Washington St.). We will meet in the back of the parking lot. Athletes should bring a reusable water bottle. The full practice and meet schedule can be found under XC Schedule in the menu above. Please register if you have not already done so - http://nvhs.ipsd.org/Subpage.aspx?id=300
We have had great teams in the past. In fact, we have had great teams that won State trophies and others that came very close. But this season, we took a step that we knew that we were ready to take. After the Sectional Meet, I reminded the team that we had won the Indoor and Outdoor Conference Titles, the Sectional Title and remarked that we only had one meet left to win.
A Track and Field Brotherhood
Before we left for the State Meet, we had our traditional send off breakfast and right away, I could tell that this meet was going to be different. I was unable to put my finger on it at the time, but I would later realize that our athletes were all intermingled and were not separated by their normal training groups. This pattern would continue during the entire weekend. When the athletes were having a meal, they sat together, talked, laughed and gelled as a team. When there was downtime, they played video games together, helped each other prepare for their events and supported each other in a way that only a group on a mission can have.
I told the team that I did not know what the outcome of the meet would be. All I asked of them was that we would put up a "good fight". If we did this, we could be proud of what we had accomplished regardless of the scores and marks.
Belief in something bigger than an individual unites people. When we planned for the State Meet back in April, we never mentioned individual event titles. We hoped that some would happen, but we placed our focus on the team title that we were striving for. This hope started a mission that would link a group of 22 athletes into a group of brothers that they will never forget.
Trust the Process and Compete!
One of the hardest things about a sport like Track and Field is that you must be patient while you work hard and develop your skills. The benefits of training will not come overnight and must trust that when the time comes that you and your team will be in the position to compete to the best of your ability.
As we stepped out onto the track for the preliminaries, it was obvious that the process had made us strong and ready. Norman Dong (Sr.) got us started and jumped 20' 11.5" in the Long Jump. For his first time ever in the State Meet, Norman hit the board all three time and competed. While Norman did not make finals, he began to set the tone that this meet was just like any other. Ife Oketona (Sr.) would show the State that his marks at the Sectional Meet were no fluke and jumped 23' 6.25" to lead all long jumpers going into Day 2. This mark would now replace his own school record from the Sectional Meet. Things were starting to look even better.
In the Pole Vault, Alex Kiefer (Jr.) was suffering from an injured back from an incident last week during the Sectional Meet, but still was able to jump 13' 6" and just missed qualifying for Day 2 by one bar. Despite not making finals, Alex showed he was willing to suffer through anything to advance the team. Many athletes would simply give up when they are in pain, but Alex saw it through to the end. Alex is already thinking about next season.
Matt Appel (So.) came to the State Meet for the first time and won his flight of the Shot Put with a mark of 54' 7.5", unfortunately, missing the finals by one place. Undeterred, Matt returned to the discus for some solid throws, marking 152' 2" as his best. While it was again not good enough for finals, Matt had stepped into the ring each time and was not intimidated by the competition. Athletes often need a trip to State before they figure out that they can compete, but Matt showed that he was ready to compete with the best.
The Triple Jump saw Danny Osafo (Sr.) put up a mark of 44' 1.5". This was the second best mark that Danny has ever had. While it was not enough to make the finals, Danny would embody the enthusiasm of this team through the next day. Mac Mitchell (Sr.) would jump 46' 0.75" in a later flight to position himself as one of the top triple jumpers and qualify for the Day 2. Mac had a determination to him that let us know that he was ready to put up some points. During this weekend, Mac emerged as a leader and guide to his fellow teammates. To him, this was as important as anyone. As we moved to the running events, it was clear that we could score in two horizontal jumps and that our athletes were ready.
Moving the track, the 4 x 800 m relay team of distance runners Tyler Bombacino (Sr.), Ryan Kennedy (Sr.), Danny Winek (Sr.), and Dakota Getty (Sr.) showed that we could do something special again. Tyler ran a solid opening leg, something that we knew that we could count on given his experience on this relay last season. As he passed the baton to Ryan, we were in good position and Ryan took over the race in the last 300 m and began to pull away. Danny took over and held back slightly, knowing that he still needed to run the 1600 m later in the day. Finally, Dakota ran a season best time for his leg and held off an advancing Batavia team to take the section win and an automatic qualification to Day 2. The team's time of 7:48.28 was over 9 seconds faster than their Sectional Meet time and was the best of the day.
Donovan Turner (Jr.) would keep the qualifications for Day 2 moving as he ran away with his preliminary heat of the 110 m High Hurdles. His time of 14.04 breaks his own school record. Donovan showed great purpose and composure as he kept pulling away during the race and remarked later that he could have gone faster. Later in the meet, Donovan would also qualify in the 300 m Intermediate Hurdles despite losing his rhythm over the seventh hurdle and nearly falling. Donovan's ability to press on even when things do not go perfectly helped us advance another event to the finals with a time of 39.29.
When Myles Gascon (Sr.) got into the blocks for the 100 m Dash, he knew that he had a job to do. His job was simply to make finals so that he could score points the next day. Myles showed that he was ready and despite two other runners in his heat pulling away from him, he pushed through to the end and captured the last spot in the finals with a time of 10.89. At this point, Myles would simply need to complete the race to score a point, but we knew that he was ready for more.
In the 1600 m, Danny Winek (Sr.) ran another smart race like he did at the Sectional Meet with a hard kick and finished in a pack that the camera needed to sort out. When the dust settled, Danny took 3rd in his heat to qualify for Day 2 and was able to beat many of the best runners in the State. Danny was now in a great position to put up more points in the finals.
In the final event of Day 1, the 4 x 400 m relay team of Kel Foley (Jr.), Kai Larson (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.), and Donovan Turner (Jr.) were ready to show the State that they belonged. Our Sectional Meet seed time was not even close to the top 9 needed to make it to the finals. However, Kel got us started with an early charge from lane 9 and then Kai put us right into the top grouping, only a short distance back from the lead. Patrick ran his fastest 400 m ever to keep us in great position and then Donovan closed us out in a time of 3:20.85, easily making finals and living to race another day. This group showed that rankings do not matter and were willing to go for it on each leg.
As we entered Day 2, we were tired after a full day of competing hard. but we knew that were not finished doing the job that we set out to do. We had qualified 9 events to Day 2, Homewood-Flossmoor had qualified 11 and Plainfield North had the potential to score over 40 points with Marcellus Moore and the rest of their team. Three teams were in the hunt for the title.
In the field events, we knew that if we scored big, we would be in a position to take home a trophy. Ife Oketona (Sr.) managed score 8 points with a 2nd place in the Long Jump, only losing one place in the finals. Ife went from an athlete that was near to the State Qualifying Mark to All-State in a matter of a week and put us on the scoreboard. His final jump of 23' 8.5" would again break his own school record!
Mac Mitchell (Sr.) kept us scoring in the Triple Jump with a 6th place and another 4 points for the team. While Mac lost one place in the finals, we now had scored 12 points in the field events and the job was getting done. Unfortunately, Mac scratched a jump that would have been over 47', showing that he has the ability to do some amazing things at the next level. In the past week, Mac has improved his marks by over 2 feet!
The 4 x 800 m relay team of Tyler Bombacino (Sr.), Ryan Kennedy (Sr.), Danny Winek (Sr.), and Dakota Getty (Sr.) took to the track to defend their number one position. Tyler was running another solid leg when in the final turn, someone tripped up a whole pack of runners, including Tyler. Tyler's great athleticism kept himself upright and charged to the finish. Unfortunately, this stumble had cost us quite a few places. Ryan took the baton and ran one of the most perfect 800 m legs that we have seen. With great patience, he caught up to the pack and then kicked in hard to put us back in the mix. Danny took the baton and continued the move up and got us right up into the lead. Even though this was now his third race, Danny was still racing hard. As Dakota took over, Sandburg had Dylan Jacobs, one of the top distance runners in the country, on the end of their relay. Dakota ran a smart and strong race with the fastest 800 m mark of the season and closed out a second place finish and 8 more points for the team. We were up to 20 and a pattern seemed to be emerging.
Zach Kinne (Jr.) would be next in the 3200 m. In what was a completely loaded field, Zach was ready to show us how strong that he had become this spring. The race began to separate and Zach pushed to the lead, even passing State Cross Country Champion Danny Kilrea from Lyons in the last 800 m. Zach charged hard for the finish but Kilrea's kick got him right before the finish line. As Zach collapsed at the end of his race, he became a symbol of how much effort our athletes were putting in to make this happen for the team. Zach risked places by trying to take the championship and garner more points for the team. So far, we did not have a single State Champion, but we did have 28 points.
The 110 m High Hurdles would see a similar result. Donovan Turner (Jr.) was tired from racing three events the day before, but kept pushing through. Despite a rough start, he charged through the crowd to take 2nd with a time of 14.20 and secured another 8 points. The pattern continued and we now had 36 points. Again we saw athletes willing to sacrifice for the greater good.
The 100 m Dash final was what Myles Gascon (Sr.) had prepared for years to do and now was his chance. With an incredible start, he surged forward and found a rhythm that would having him passing runners as the finish line drew closer. In the end, Myles would take 6th in a time of 10.82 and add another 4 points to the total. At this point, we had 40 points, our highest total ever, which meant that we were certain that a trophy would come back to Neuqua Valley. The only question was, which one?
A tired Donovan Turner (Jr.) returned only about an hour after running his 1st race of the day but 4th race overall to run his 5th, the 300 m Intermediate Hurdles. Donovan powered through one of the toughest races in Track and Field to take 6th in a time of 39.80, adding 4 more points to the mix for a total of 44.
For his 4th race of the two day meet, Danny Winek (Sr.) returned in the 1600 m, and another loaded field. Danny ran smart and did not get caught up in a race that went out hard, but kept working through the ranks of runners until he got to a 9th place finish and added 1 more point for a total of 45. Danny finished up a career full of unfortunate injuries as a two time All-State athlete.
At this point, there were three events left in the meet, the High Jump, the 200 m dash and the 4 x 400 m relay. We were only in one of these races and Homewood-Flossmoor and Plainfield North were in two. Homewood-Flossmoor was leading with 47 points, and Plainfield North had 30. In the High Jump, Homewood-Floosmoor did not score and Plainfield North took 7th, making their total 33. As we watched the 200 m, Marcellus Moore from Plainfield North won the event bringing their total to 43. Grant Floyd from Homewood-Flossmoor would take 9th, making their total 48. Now, we knew that we were going to take 2nd at the very least. Homewood-Flossmoor would have the painful experience of watching an event that they were not in decide the meet. If we took worse than 7th place in the last event, the meet was lost. However, we had a mostly fresh team ready to go.
As the 4 x 400 m relay began, they knew what was on the line. Kel Foley (Jr.) charged out hard and in the last stretch, went to his arms to put us right into the mix. Kai Larson (Sr.) sprinted out the first curve and chased like he always does to bring us within reach of the lead. Patrick Hoffman (So.) took the baton and moved hard along the back stretch, taking the lead and then giving everything he had to finish his leg in the top 3. Donovan Turner (Jr.) racing with a fury inspired by earlier disappointments, finished off the relay in 3rd place in a time of 3:21.04 adding 7 points to the total and capturing the team title!
The moment felt surreal and our team erupted. Parents, coaches, athletes, and fans joined in high fives, hugs and shared tears that our good fight had paid off. All of the preparation came down to this moment when the Neuqua Valley 4 x 400 m, one of the most certain things in life, brought the final act to a close. Dr. McBride had many other duties to see to on this weekend, with graduation and other happenings, but felt compelled to be there as he sensed something special was going to happen. It did. And with it came the validation that our program was the best this season and the legacy of a special team.
The feelings of winning the State Title are confusing. There was elation, there was a rush of energy and there were tears. It might be strange to cry at such a happy event, but it was a common experience for athletes and coaches on this night. For myself, winning a State Championship was amazing, but winning it with my sons on the team was one of the best experiences of my life. All I ever wanted to so was share my passion for this sport with them.
As we talked with the other coaches from Homewood-Floosmoor and Plainfield North, I saw in their faces the feeling of disappointment that we felt when we had fallen short in the past. I truly know their pain. Even if it is just high school sports, when you care about something, it hurts when it does not go as hoped. However, it was an honor to compete against these teams with such amazing coaches and athletes. These are programs we admire and both of these programs competed with class and we look forward to competing against them and the rest of the State next season.
Finally, I hope that there is a young athlete on our team that felt the inspiration that such a moment could bring. I hope that they said to themselves that they could do it too. If so, make the commitment to be there in one year when you can make your own legacy.
Complete results can be found at the link below.
Each season, the coaches refer to our Sectional as the “meatgrinder”. Regardless of the changes from year to year, our Sectional assignment is tough. There is not going to be a single event where getting to the State Meet is easy or straightforward. This year was no different, but did have the extra challenge of the wind. Throughout the entire meet, there was a constant 15 mph wind that only aided a few events and reduced the number of State Qualifiers enormously. As we entered the meet, we knew that some things would go our way and that some would not. However, our team came ready to compete and by the end, we scored an incredible 127 points to win the Sectional Meet over Plainfield North and Yorkville that both tied for 63. To score more than double the score of 2nd place, shows how good and how deep our team really is.
Throughout this season, our field events have pushed us forward in the point totals more than ever before and this meet continued the trend. In the horizontal jumps, we had our first State Qualifier of the evening when Ife Oketona (Sr.) put out a huge mark of 23’ 6” in the Long Jump to set a new school record and take 3rd place. Norman Dong (Sr.) started as a hurdler on our team and after only one year trying the Long Jump, became another qualifier and scorer with a jump of 22’ 5.75”, taking 5th place. Coach Cornelius had bet our Triple Jumpers that if Mac Mitchell (Sr.) jumped over 46’ that he would cut his hair like Coach Ricca’s new clean shaven look. Mac surpassed this mark and jumped 46’ 5.25” and was the Sectional runner-up, qualifying him for the State Meet. Mac also broke the school record by over half a foot! It looks like we need to bring some clippers to practice on Monday! Danny Osafo (Sr.) was a late addition to the lineup considering that we have five Triple Jumpers that could have made the State Qualifying Mark. However, Danny got the job done with a jump of 44’ 8” to qualify and took 4th place. This is the first time in these events that we have had double qualifiers and considering that we do not have an indoor facility to practice these events, this is quite an accomplishment of coaching, even if that coach will have a little less hair soon. Watch out for these athletes to put up some great marks at the State Meet.
The Pole Vault saw the return of Alex Kiefer (Jr.) to the Sectional Meet where he qualified for the State Meet last season. Despite nursing an injured back, Alex jumped 13’ 6” to tie for 3rd place and add to our growing list of State Qualifiers. Alex unfortunately, bottomed out the pit on one of his jumps at 14’, tightening up his back but he will be ready to go for next weekend.
Rounding out the field events were a great pair of performances from Matt Appel (So.). Matt first put up a huge throw in the discus of 163’ 6” which broke the Frosh-Soph school record. This is another Babatunde “OJ” Oshinowo record to fall this season. Matt’s mark was big enough to capture the Sectional Title, break the stadium record and was over 6 feet further than 2nd place. In the Shot Put, Matt put his stamp on the Sectional as the top thrower as he threw 53’ 3” to win this event as well. Throughout this season, our throwers have made tremendous progress and Matt is ready to put up some big throws at State.
Turning to the track, we began the night of finals with the 4 x 800 m relay of senior distance runners Tyler Bombacino (Sr.), Ryan Kennedy (Sr.), Danny Winek (Sr.), and Dakota Getty (Sr.). The race went out faster than expected considering the wind and Oswego opened up a lead even with a strong leg from Tyler. Ryan took the baton and chased in an even and controlled way to take over the lead. When it was Danny’s turn to race, he pulled us away from 2nd place and gave Dakota quite a bit of room. Despite some strong legs from other teams, Dakota had no problem holding the lead with a solid leg. The team won the Sectional in a time of 7:57.94, qualified for the State Meet, and broke the stadium record.
The 4 x 100 m relay was a heartbreaker. Donovan Turner (Jr.), Kai Larson (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.), and Myles Gascon (Sr.) took 4th in a time of 42.92, just missing the State Qualifying Mark by 0.19 seconds. Without the strong wind, we would have easily qualified for the State Meet.
Zach Kinne (Jr.) and Alex Johnson (Sr.) took to the track for the 3200 m and after about 2 laps, Zach had taken over the lead of the race and was trying to keep his pace despite the wind. Coming through the 1600 m in 4:32, it looked like Zach would be able to hold the pace and have a personal best. However, the relentless resistance on the backstretch was affecting everyone and despite an outstanding performance from Zach, the personal best will have to wait until next weekend. Zach easily captured the Sectional title, qualified for the State Meet, and broke the stadium record with his time of 9:13.72. During the race, Alex fought hard against the wind and the competition to take 5th with a time of 9:39.24. Some estimates of the effect of the wind were around 12 seconds in this race. This could have meant that on a calm night Zach would have been right around the 9 minute mark and Alex would have been a State Qualifier. While Alex ended his high school career with this meet, his improvements and efforts will not soon be forgotten.
The 110 m High Hurdles would see Donovan Turner (Jr.) take to the track for the second time of the evening and despite a less than perfect start, he reeled in and passed Yorkville’s Peyton Frankenreider with authority to take the win. Donovan’s time of 14.08 broke the school record, the stadium record and is nearly a second faster than the State Qualifying Mark. A number of coaches from other schools were excited to see what Donovan can do next week and want him to break the FAT 14 second barrier. Donovan has already broken 14 seconds for a hand timed mark.
After a disappointment in the 4 x 100 m, Myles Gascon (Sr.) took to the line in the 100 m dash with some of the fastest sprinters in the State. Myles would get himself in the mix and run 10.92 to qualify for the State Meet and take 4th place, further adding to the number of qualifiers and points for the team.
The 800 m would have us try out Freshman Nicolas Dovalovsky in the second spot while Dakota Getty (Sr.) attempted to double after the 4 x 800 m. The wind made this a tough double for sure, especially as it seemed to pick up throughout the night. However, Nicolas showed that he will be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming years by taking 6th in a time of 2:02.21.
With the steady winds, our relay exchange timing was certainly a little off as incoming runners either came in a little fast or a little slow. Unfortunately this caused the 4 x 200 m relay team of Kai Larson (Sr.), Ife Oketona (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.), and Myles Gascon (Sr.) to fall about 1 second short of qualifying. The team did manage to run 1:30.72 and take 4th, adding 4 points to the total.
By the time that the 400 m went off, the winds were really starting to take their toll. In the 400 m, no one made the State Qualifying Mark. This is normally unheard of in such a tough sectional. While we did not have any state qualifiers in this event, we do have two stories to tell. First, Michael Dy (Sr.) took 3rd in a time of 52.51, only .19 seconds from 2nd place and an automatic qualifying position. Michael showed both patience and strength in this race and ran it perfectly. The first 200 m was not too fast and the second 200 m showed his strength and tenacity. The second story here belongs to Kaden Smith (Jr.), who made a huge leap in effort in this race and truly “went there”. Kaden charged hard at the beginning and set the pace of the race early as he pushed to qualify. Then Kaden held on and fought through every last inch of the race. Kaden finished 9th in 53.53, but it was the effort that showed that his best races are ahead of him.
The 300 m Intermediate Hurdles would be a rematch between Donovan Turner (Jr.) and Peyton Frankenreider from Yorkville. Frankenreider took the lead early only to be caught by Donovan who raced the back half of the race with smooth form over the hurdles and incredible endurance. Donovan would be Sectional Champion for the second time of the night, running 38.52, and achieving another school and stadium record. Donovan then became the first Neuqua Valley hurdler to qualify in both hurdle events in the same year. Mitch Donahue (Sr.) would have another story to tell in this race. Mitch, determined to qualify for the State Meet, was working on form all week. He would go on to set a huge personal best of 40.53 and took 4th place. How Mitch and Donovan were able to run faster than ever before while starting into a headwind is still a mystery.
In the 1600 m, we had Danny Winek (Sr.) and Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) returning after previously qualifying in the 4 x 800 m. The duo fought hard with a pack of runners that were determined to make it to the State Meet despite worsening conditions for the night. With 600 m to go, Danny pulled up into the top group and charged ahead, taking 2nd place in a time of 4:22.24 and qualifying for the State Meet. Ryan took 6th place in 4:30.51 and added to the point total that was now beyond reach for any other team.
In the final event of the evening, the 4 x 400 m relay, the winds continued to blow and we knew that it was unlikely that any relay teams would make the State Qualifying Mark. We were running for the top 2 positions. Kel Foley (Jr.), Kai Larson (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.), and Donovan Turner (Sr.) made it happen with strong legs from everyone. The team finished 2nd in a time of 3:27.54 and true to prediction, no team made the State Mark.
While not everything went our way, we showed up as a team at the Sectional Meet. We were able to get enough athletes and relay teams through so that we could make a solid run for the State Championship with the largest group making the trip in team history. If we focus on ourselves and compete the best of our ability, we will be able to look ourselves in the mirror one week from today with pride.
Complete results can be found at the link below.
We knew that it would be cold and windy on Friday at the DVC Outdoor Championships. We knew that the marks would not matter, only places. All that we needed to do was compete. And compete we did. For the third year in a row, our Varsity team captured the DVC Outdoor Championship title! For as long as we have been in the DVC, we have not lost an indoor or outdoor championship at the Varsity level. Our Varsity team scored a whopping 192 points in 17 out of the 18 events to better Wheaton North's second place score of 149.5. Our Frosh-Soph team took 5th place and with some hard work, they will be ready to take their place next year at the Varsity level.
In the field events, we started to score large numbers of points right away. The Long Jump saw Ife Oketona (Sr.) and Norman Dong (Sr.) take 1st and 2nd places with jumps 21' 7" and 20' 3" respectively. This quickly put 18 points on the board. On the Frosh-Soph level, Prakash Tata (So.) took 8th place with a jump of 17' 4.25". The Triple Jump saw nearly a repeat in the scoring with Mac Mitchell (Sr.) and Alex Xiong (Sr.) taking 1st and 3rd place with jumps of 43' 11.75" and 41' 9.75" and another 17 points. The Pole Vault had us double score at both levels. Alex Kiefer (Jr.) and Matt Dziekan (Sr.) took 4th place and 6th place with vaults of 13' 6" and 12' 0". Alex's jump of 13' 6" equals the State Qualifying Mark in the Pole Vault which is impressive considering the conditions. At the Frosh-Soph level, Paul Kiefer (So.) took 5th place with a vault of 9' 0". In the Frosh-Soph High Jump, Kalon Hale (So.) and Jailen Poole (Fr.) both scored with jumps of 5' 4" and 5' 2", good enough for 3rd and 5th place in slick conditions.
In the Throwing events, we continued to put points up and even had some impressive marks when you consider that a strong wind and wet implements do not help throwers. Matt Appel (So.) took 2nd place in both the Varsity Shot Put and Discus with throws of 53' 4" and 157' 2". Both of these marks are past the State Qualifying Mark. In the Frosh-Soph throws, a trio of young throwers scored points. Hunter Danton (Fr.) took 5th place in the Frosh-Soph Shot Put with a throw of 39' 10" and Elijah Darden (Fr.) and Sam Jourdan (So.) took 3rd and 5th in the Frosh-Soph Discus with throws of 118' 9" ans 103' 6". If we only scored in the field events, our Varsity team would have beaten three teams in the conference and been within a few points of two other teams. Clearly, we were on a roll.
Considering that we only had one conference champion at the DVC Indoor Championships, it was a good start to already have two conference champions in the field events alone. The momentum would continue in the running events as we quickly added more champions to the list as well as many points. The Frosh-Soph 4 x 800 m relay team of Leif Anderson (Fr.), Luke Mennecke (Fr.), William Fu (Fr.) and Quinn Kennedy (So.) took 5th place in a time of 9:19.64. The Varsity team of Jordan Matthews (Jr.), Danny Winek (Sr.), Tyler Bombacino (Sr.) and Kel Foley (Jr.) were conference champions in a time of 8:12.43. The 4 x 100 m would see similar results at the Varsity level with the team of Donovan Turner (Jr.), Kai Larson (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.) and Myles Gascon capturing the DVC title with a time of 43.21.
The 3200 m saw some courageous racing with Vasant Fong (Fr.) pulling away from the field to a 10:01.10 time for the conference win. Ryan Horn (Fr.) charged hard during the entire race and took 4th in a time of 10:14.87. In the Varsity 3200 m, Alex Johnson (Sr.) and Chris Keeley (Jr.) stuck with the top pack and then late in the race, Alex took the lead in a bold move. Alex and Chris would finish 3rd and 5th both with season best times of 9:33.66 and 9:36.16. It was this bold take charge attitude that kept propelling our team forward throughout the night.
The 110 m High Hurdles saw another double score at the Varsity level as Donovan Turner (Jr.) took the win in an time of 14.52 and Jacob Guthrie (Jr.) took 7th with a mark of 17.41. Myles Gascon (Sr.) followed this up with a time of 11.25 in the Varsity 100 m, placing 4th in a tight group.
The 800 m showed another event where we could double score at both levels. At the Frosh-Soph level, David Tassone (So.) and Brandon Do (Fr.) placed 6th and 8th with marks of 2:14.18 and 2:16.74. The Varsity 800 m was one of the most loaded events and featured Dakota Getty (Sr.) and Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) running with some of the top 800 m returners in the State. Dakota took 3rd in a time of 1:58.98 while Ryan took 5th in a time of 2:00.03.
The temperature began to drop as the night went on, but our team kept powering through, competing and scoring. Joe Hanneman (Sr.), Ife Oketona (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) overcame some tough winds and were conference champions in a time of 1:32.74. The Frosh-Soph 400 m saw EJ Oketona (Fr.) back to his form in this event with a time of 56.69 seconds and a 7th place finish. The Varsity 400 m would have another double score with a Kai Larson (Sr.) and Michael Dy (Sr.) taking 2nd and 7th places. Michael ran 53.29 and Kai ran a season best 51.30 and both of these marks were in high wind. In the 300 m Intermediate Hurdles, Enoch Kim (Fr.) took 8th in a time of 47.87. However, even though he did not score, special mention has to be made of Ethan Briones (Fr.) who ran the 300 m Intermediate Hurdles for the first time and did so with an injured wrist. Ethan would later fill in for another athlete in the 4 x 400 m relay as well. Obviously, Ethan is a tough competitor. On the Varsity side, we captured another conference title for team and for Donovan Turner (Jr.) as he ran away from the competition in the last 50 m to win in a time of 38.79. Mitch Donahue (Sr.) has been wondering about his place on this team and has found it with a solid 4th place finish of 41.47 in high wind.
The 1600 m had another double conference champion with Freshman phenom Nicolas Dovalovsky (Fr.) taking the win at the Frosh-Soph level with a time of 4:42.25 and Zach Kinne (Jr.) pulling far from the pack early and running 4:18.78. Zach was nearly 8 seconds ahead of second place by the end of the race. Keeping with DVC tradition, Zach was awarded the travelling Gill Dodds trophy for winning the Varsity 1600 m. Since Neuqua Valley has been in the DVC, we have kept this trophy in the hands of the Neuqua Valley athlete.
By the last two events of the evening, our team was safely ahead in terms of points, but we were still on a mission to compete. In the Varsity 200 m, Myles Gascon (Sr.) and Patrick Hoffman (So.) double scored with 2nd and 4th places and marks of 22.91 and 23.01. Patrick’s strength in this event continues to grow as he was closing on the leaders for the last 50 meters. The Varsity 4 x 400 m relay of Ife Oketona (Sr.), Dakota Getty (Sr.) Kai Larson (Sr.) and Donovan Turner (Jr.) would round out the night with 3rd place in a time of 3:32.99.
When you consider how we scored as a team and how many events we scored in, it is safe to say that we would be a tough team to beat if any team in the state faced us in a dual meet. In fact, this is the most complete team that we have ever had. We are hard-working, talented and deep. As we move to the Sectional Championship this week, we will do our best to put ourselves in the best possible position to score well at the State Meet. This could be an exciting post season and we hope that you will join us at our last two meets! Come join us at Plainfield South on Thursday for the Sectional Championship!
Complete results from the DVC Outdoor Championship can be found at the website below.
The Red Ribbon Invitational at Waubonsie Valley has a long and storied history of great performances and bad weather. As a team, we have witnessed heavy rains, cold temperatures, high winds, a microburst that lifted the pole vault pit and dropped it into the middle of the field and even this year, when straw rained down from the heavens for no particular reason. However, it is also a time when our team seems to weather the storms well and actually take a step forward. This year was no different. With a final score of 135, our Varsity team captured its second invitational win in as many meets. For the first time this season, we beat Homewood-Floosmoor, who took second place. Please keep in mind that our regular season record does not matter and we need to be ready for every team in the post season when everything really matters. We know that Homewood-Flossmoor will be back to full strength soon and we look forward to competing against them at the State Meet.
The meet began as usual with the field events and in the throws, Matt Appel (So) took 2nd place in the discus with a throw of 157’ 4”. Matt has now thrown past the State Qualifying mark in both the Shot Put and the Discus. On the Frosh-Soph level, Elijah Darden (Fr.) and Sam Jourdan (So.) took 4th and 5th place respectively with throws of 113’ 0” and 103’ 9’. The pair would also take 7th and 9th place in the Shot Put with throws of 35’ 6” and 34’ 4”.
In the vertical jumping events, Jailen Poole (Fr.) took 5th place in the High Jump with a jump of 5’ 2” at the Frosh-Soph level and Matt Dziekan (Sr.) took 3rd place in the Pole Vault at the Varsity level with a jump of 12’ 8”. In the Long Jump, Ife Oketona (Sr.) and Norman Dong (Sr.) double scored with jumps of 22’ 2.5” and 2nd place for Ife and 20’ 9” and 4th place for Norman. Ife held the meet record for about 10 minutes before Jalen Hunter from Homewood-Flossmoor jumped 1.25 inches further. Abood Armouti (So.) took 5th place in the Frosh-Soph Triple Jump with a leap of 37’ 9”, which is an outdoor personal best. At the Varsity level, Mac Mitchell (Sr.) set another personal best with a jump of 44’ 5”, taking 4th place.
Moving to the track with our first two relays, the Frosh-Soph relay of Dylan Bushelle (So.), Brian Jett (Fr.), William Fu (Fr.???) and Brandon Do (Fr.) took 5th place with a time of 9:15.43. Brandon ran a solid anchor leg of 2:14.??? In high wind. At the Varsity level, the team of Danny Winek (Sr.), Zach Kinne (Jr.), Alex Johnson (Sr.) and Tyler Bombacino (Sr.) took the invitational title with a time of 8:08.53. In the 4 x 100 m, the Varsity team of Donovan Turner (Jr.), Kai Lason (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) took 2nd place with a time of 42.92. This team keeps improving its exchanges every meet and they were able to run nearly the same time as last week despite an even stronger wind.
In the 3200 m, Nicolas Dovalovsky (Fr.) had an incredible debut in this event, breaking the 10 minute barrier in his first ever attempt with an invitational win in a time of 9:55.32. Vasant Fong (Fr.) would just miss the same barrier with a still impressive time of 10:00.99 and 5th place. The Varsity 3200 m saw a big surge from Chris Keeley (Jr.) in the last half of the race to take 2nd place with a personal best time of 9:41.78 and 2nd place. DJ Sauer would take 7th in 9:58.72 as he crossed the 10 minute barrier.
The short sprints unfortunately were run into the wind, but our athletes fought for place, knowing that the times would be slow. In the Varsity 110 m High Hurldes, Donovan Turner (Jr.) took 2nd with a time of 15.13 and unfortunately hit some hurdles late in the race. In the Varsity 100 m Dash, Myles Gascon (Sr.) captured the win in a time of 11.22. The Varsity 4 x 200 m relay team of Ife Oketona (Sr.), Kai Larson (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) posted a season best time of 1:30.21 and took 2nd place. In the final leg of the race, Myles kept pace with last year’s State Champion in the 100 m and 200 m, Declan Rustay from Hoffman Estates. Donovan came back later in the meet to win the Varsity 300 m Intermediate Hurdles in a time of 39.16. Mitch Donahue (Sr.) would complete the double score in this event with a personal best time of 41.17 and 4th place. Enoch Kim (Fr.) took 5th place at the Frosh-Soph level with a personal best time of 47. 61. Myles Gascon completed yet another quadruple event by taking 2nd place in the 200 m with a personal best open time of 22.61. Patrick Hoffman ran 23.27 to take 5th place. Patrick has been displaying incredible sprint speed for a Sophomore!
In the later distance events, David Tassone (So.) took 3rd place in the Frosh-Soph 800 m with a time of 2:11.05, which is an open 800 m personal best. Dakota Getty (Sr.) held off a charge from Wheaton-Warrenville South’s Sean Maison in the last 300 m to win the Varsity 800 m in a time of 1:59.76. We saw more personal bests in the Varsity 1600 m, where Michael Madiol (Jr.) took 5th in a time of 4:32.44 and Spencer Teske (Jr.) took 6th in a time of 4:32.57. For Spencer, this is a 10 second personal best!
In the last event of the day, our Varsity 4 x 400 m relay team of Michael Dy (Sr.), Kel Foley (Jr.), Donovan Turner (Jr.) and Kai Larson (Sr.), dropped nearly 3 seconds from their previous best to take 3rd overall. Kai ran his fastest split of the season, clocking 49.7 for 400 m. This event also completed another quadruple event day for Donovan.
The Red Ribbon Invitational may be in the books and with it, another step forward for the team. We only have two meets left before the championship part of the season where places really matter.
Complete results from the meet can be found at the website below.
It is hard to believe that the Bob Cohoon Invitational is our first outdoor invitational meet with our full team. Weather forced four meets to be cancelled and you never know how the team will respond to its first taste of intense competition. However, earlier in the week, our team got together to set some exciting and lofty personal and team goals. Quite frankly, our athletes are aiming for the top. And while the Bob Cohoon Invitational lived up to its reputation for having outstanding competition, our team took another big step forward as we captured the invitational title with a score of 120.5 over Minooka’s 2nd place score of 96.5.
We started the meet off with success and kept it up throughout the entire night. In fact, out of 18 events, there was only one event in which we did not score. In 8 of the events, we took either 1st or 2nd place and we double scored in 6 events.
In the jumping events, Ife Oketona (Sr.) put us on the board early with a huge jump of 22’ 4.5” on his first attempt to take 1st place with a mark that is further than the State Qualifying Mark. Norman Dong (Sr.) took 7th place with a jump of 20’ 8.5” for our first double score of the night. Later in the meet, we would double score again in a horizontal jump when Mac Mitchell (Sr.) would take 2nd place with season best jump of 44’ 4” which equals the State Qualifying Mark. Alex Xiong (Sr.) would complete the double score with a jump of 41’ 6” which is an outdoor personal best. The pole vault would continue our set of double scoring events with Alex Kiefer (Jr.) taking 5th with a jump of 13’ 0” and Matt Dziekan (Sr.) taking 6th with a jump of 12’ 6”.
The throwing events would see history made when Matt Appel (So.) threw three consecutive throws in the Shot Put where each was further than the last and all were past the Frosh-Soph School Record. This record has been in place since 1999 and was held by Babatunde “OJ” Oshinowo, an athlete that would be All-State in the Shot Put and Discus several times and would later play professional football for the Bears and the Browns. Matt would take 2nd place in the Shot Put to Lockport’s John Meyer, the current State Record Holder. Matt would return in the discus to score again with a personal best throw of 146’ 1” to take 4th place. This was an impressive set of throws for a Sophomore competing at the Varsity level.
On the track, we opened up with the 4 x 800 m relay team of Nicolas Dovalovsky (Fr.), Chris Keeley (Jr.), Zach Kinne (Jr.) and Dakota Getty (Sr.) taking 3rd place with a time of 8:04.13. Nicolas split 2:02.2 which is very impressive for a Freshman and both Zach and Dakota both split under 1:59.
The 4 x 100 m relay team of Donovan Turner (Jr.), Kai Larson (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) finished in 2nd place with a time of 42.74, which was only .07 seconds out of first place and only .01 seconds away from the State Qualifying Mark. This would be the first event of four for both Myles and Donovan. In their second event of the evening, Donovan and Myles would race in the 110 m High Hurdles and the 100 m Dash respectively. Donovan placed 2nd in the hurdles with a mark of 14.40, which is the second fastest time in school history. In the 100 m, Myles would win the event with a mark of 11.10. However, both of these athletes were only half complete with their events at this point.
Returning to the distance events, the 3200 m saw another score with Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) taking 5th with an impressive last 800 m to cross the finish line in 9:21.12, which is a personal best and is well under the State Qualifying Mark. The 800 m would see more double scoring and more personal bests with Michael Madiol (Jr.) and Kel Foley (Jr.) taking 5th and 7th place respectively. Michael’s mark of 2:00.33 and Kel’s mark of 2:02.17 both represent big improvements and considering that neither of these athletes was in the 4 x 800 m, it shows how deep we are in this event.
The 4 x 200 m relay team of Norman Dong (Sr.), Ife Oketona (Sr.), Patrick Hoffman (So.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) got off to a rough start as Norman was suffering from a tight back, but Ife, Patrick and Myles charged ahead to a time of 1:32.85 which was good enough for 6th place and a scoring position. This was the third event of the night for Myles, who ran an anchor split of 22.2.
After a week-long illness, Kai Larson (Sr.) was beginning to look a little like his old self in the 400 m where he finished 7th in a time of 51.44. The 300 m Intermediate Hurdles would have the rematch of Donovan Tuner (Jr.) and Batavia’s Sam Conger only this time the places were reversed with Donovan taking 1st place in a school-record setting time of 38.74, making this the second school record that was broken. When we were a younger program, we used to go out for Krispy Kreme doughnuts when three records were broken at this meet. However, our records are much harder to break now. Not to be outdone, Mitch Donahue (Sr.) would complete the double score in the 300 m Intermediate Hurdles with a mark of 41.37, which is a personal best by over 2 seconds! Mitch exclaimed after the race that he is going to state and his attitude is what we are looking for from everyone.
Zach Kinne (Jr.) and Dakota Getty (Sr.) completed their double event with another double score in the 1600 m. In another loaded field, Zach and Dakota were not afraid to mix it up and kicked hard to take 3rd and 5th place respectively. Zach’s time of 4:17.13 and Dakota’s time of 4:22.74 represent personal bests for both runners in the outdoor open 1600 m.
The meet drew to a close with two athletes completing a quadruple event meet. In the 200 m, Myles Gascon took 2nd place and would demonstrate that even after three events, he still had fire in his legs. Myles would run 22.88 which is yet another personal best. The 4 x 400 m relay of Kel Foley (Jr.), Donovan Turner (Jr.), Ife Oketona (Sr.) and Michael Dy (Sr.) would complete the quadruple for Donovan where the team ran 3:28.61 and Donovan, Ife, and Michael would post personal bests for their 400 m relay splits. We have not had an athlete even complete a quadruple at this meet since 2004, when Coach Ragusa was an athlete on the team and managed the feat himself.
This meet used to represent our Sectional Lineup preview. Even though that is not the case anymore, if we have a night like this at the Sectional Meet, we will have an amazing showing. However, the coaches and athletes know that we did not have a perfect night and there is still good work to be done. Our motto going into the next few weeks is “Make every rep count.” After all, there are only 5 weeks until the State Meet!
Complete results from the meet can be found at the website below.
One of the things that can be very frustrating about Track and Field in Illinois is the unpredictable weather. Your training can be disrupted and meets are sometimes conducted in rain, wind and even snow, or even worse, cancelled. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we decide to make some of our own luck and make an annual pilgrimage to Arcadia, California for the Arcadia Invitational, considered to be one the most elite high school meets. Seeing some tough competition in your first outdoor meet of the season can be daunting for sure, but it promotes a response from our athletes to rise to the occasion. It may not happen immediately, but we will see the outcome in May when it matters.
Our six athlete squad started things off on Friday night with the 4 x 1600 m relay, a rarely contested distance relay that gives us a good chance to show the strength of our distance squad. Tyler Bombacino (Sr.) started us off and pushed through the race despite continuing to suffer from a respiratory illness and struggled to maintain position. Dakota Getty (Sr.) would take the baton and run a solid leg as he chased through the pack to improve our position. Dakota's relay split of 4:26 is a personal best for the 1600 m. Next the baton went to Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) who did not seem to have his normal spark and later it was discovered that he was suffering from stomach pains. When Zach Kinne (Jr.) took the baton, there was quite a bit of work to do and Zach ran a smart and fast leg pushing through the line of teams to take us through the finish line in 6th place and a time of 17:46.60. This time is presently the fastest time in Illinois. However, with many meets being cancelled and some of this event being rarely contested, the lists are certainly not very long yet.
As moved to the Saturday events, the morning session would see three of the runners from the 4 x 1600 m relay get another chance to race. Tyler Bombacino (Sr.) was still not feeling better from his illness but pushed through his open 1600 m race. After all, he did not come all this way not to race. Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) had recovered from his stomach issues the night before and ran a great first outdoor mile in 4:21.01 with the last 800 m being covered in 2:06. This time equates to a 4:19.5 for 1600 m and is a personal best in both events. In the 800 m, Dakota Getty recovered from getting tripped up early in the race and powered down the backstretch to put himself right back into place. The pace was not as fast as we had hoped but Dakota finished with an outdoor 800 m personal best of 1:59.23.
After a short break, we returned to the track for the 110 m High Hurdles, where Donovan Turner (Jr.) would run for the first time in this event for the season. With a less than perfect start and a less than perfect finish, Donovan would win the seeded heat in 14.27, which is a new personal best by almost 0.4 seconds and a new school record! If Donovan had been in the invitational heat, he would have taken 4th. Donovan's mark is currently the best in Illinois. In the 100 m, Myles Gascon (Sr.) would make Neuqua Valley's first appearance in the invitational heat of a short sprint. Unfortunately, he did not continue his drive phase long enough and was disappointed with his mark of 11.14. However, Myles got up on Sunday, headed over to the track and practiced running his own race. As the wise Stacey Kinne has said "Sometimes not winning means that you learn something." It looks like Myles has.
Speaking of the Kinne Family, Zach Kinne would finish out the meet for Neuqua Valley with his appearance in the invitational heat of the 3200 m. This race had a loaded field with sixteen state champions. The race went out fast and with the crowd, Zach was forced to run in lanes two and three and run extra distance to keep with the top pack. Zach came through the 1600 m mark at 4:30 peaking hopes for Zach to run under the 9 minute barrier. Unfortunately, Zach's efforts early on in the race cost him in the latter half and finished in a still very impressive 9:09.66. While Zach may have been disappointed, he ran a competitive race where he stuck himself right in the pack and fought hard. Efforts like this will pay off in the end.
With another Arcadia Invitational in the books, we understand that we had some successes and disappointments, but more importantly, we look ahead to May knowing that until then there is still plenty of work to do. As we reunite with the rest of the team this next week, we are ready to begin the push to the State Meet, with us trying to get better every week.
Complete results from the meet may be found at the website below.
Up next, we have an open meet with Waubonsie Valley and the Minooka Invitational. Both of these meets are chances to take a step forward in this six week march to the State Meet.
Here are the workouts for Sprinters, Jumpers and Hurdlers for the week of spring break. Remember that you need to document your workouts in some way if you are out of town or we will hold you out of one meet after the break. Please feel free to email the coaches with any questions that you may have. If for some reason you are not able to do these exact workouts, just do your best. Something is always better than nothing.
Not having everything go your way is a part of life and the reality is that you learn much more from the challenges than you would if everything went perfectly. Therefore, it was a pleasant surprise that despite not having many things go our way, our Varsity team won the DVC Indoor Championship for the third year in a row, besting a tough Wheaton Warrenville South team with a great display of resilience. Our Frosh-Soph team took 4th, and showed that they are ready to make great progress in the outdoor season. Complete results are below, but there are many stories to be told. (Note: There are some mistakes in the results. We are aware of them and are trying to sort them out.)
The meet began with the Field Events and us putting some points on the board. KaLon Hale (So.) found his adversity by not making the bus in time but easily made up for it in his performance in the High Jump, where he jumped 5' 6" and took 4th place in only his second meet. Ife Oketona (Sr.) has some knee issues when he High Jumps, but he was still able to jump 5' 8", good enough for 6th place. In the Varsity Long Jump, Ife Oketona (Sr.) would place 2nd with a mark of 22' 0.25" and Joe Hanneman (Sr.) would put up a mark of 20' 1.5" and some points despite some trouble scratching his early jumps. The Triple Jump was one of our strengths at this meet and we double scored at both levels. The pair of Abood Armouti (So.) and EJ Oketona (Fr.) would put up marks of 40' 0" and 39' 9.25" respectively, taking 3rd and 5th place. These marks would have scored at the Varsity level! Mac Mitchell (Sr.) and Alex Xiong (Sr.) scored 14 points with their 2-3 finish at the Varsity level with jumps of 43' 0.25" and 42' 8.25" respectively. These were big personal bests for Abood, EJ, and Alex. The Frosh-Soph pole vault would have Paul Kiefer (So.) take 6th place and a scoring position while his brother Alex Kiefer (Jr.) would take 2nd at the Varsity level with a jump of 13' 0". Matt Dziekan (Sr.) jumped 12' 6" to take 6th at the Varsity level and give us a double score in that event. Rounding out the field events, Hunter Danton (Fr.) would claim 7th place at the Frosh-Soph level with a throw of 36' 10" while Matt Appel (So.) would take 4th at the Varsity level with a mark of 49' 1.25". Matt will go down as one of the best Sophomore throwers in team history.
As the running events began, we already had a good number of points moving us toward victory, but it is really on the track where the meet is finalized. After all, there are roughly twice the running events as there are field events. The Frosh-Soph 4 x 800 m relay of Brandon Do (Fr.), Luke Mennecke (Fr.), Leif Anderson (Fr.) and David Tassone (So.) ran very competitively and through great legs from Leif and David, we were able to move through the pack and capture 3rd place with a time of 8:58.56. The Varsity team of Michael O'Connor (Jr.), Jordan Matthews (Jr.), Kel Foley (Jr.) and Chris Keeley ran 8:24.93 to take 4th with great splits all around including a first time under 2:05 for Kel and Chris running 2:05 after not being able to train steadily due to injury. The distance events would continue with a set of great performances from Ryan Horn (Fr.) and Quinn Kennedy (So.), running with each other nearly the entire race to take 3rd and 4th respectively with huge personal bests of 10:13.30 and 10:19.13. Ryan broke his personal best by over 25 seconds and Quinn by over 35 seconds! Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) and Alex Johnson (Sr.) would take 2nd and 5th in the Varsity 3200 m, with courageous and mature races where both Ryan and Alex balanced patience and a willingness to hold a top position, pulling the race along. Ryan finished in 9:27.66 which is under the State qualifying time in the 3200 m and Alex finished in another personal best time of 9:37.53.
The sprints would now take over the meet with the 55 m High Hurdles and special story. KaLon Hale (So.) and Enoch Kim (Fr.) would run this race for the first time and did so with great tenacity despite being nervous about the foreboding 39 inches that each hurdle stood. They may not have placed the highest, but KaLon and Enoch ran respectable races against athletes far more experienced. These athletes approached the race in the same way that Donovan Turner (Jr.) did in the Varsity race where he finished 2nd despite being hit by Lake Park's Dan Spejcher as they both cleared a hurdle. Donovan stumbled, but never lost focus running 7.73 and the second fastest time in team history. Mitch Donohue (Sr.) also charged to a great hurdle race and personal best, finishing in 8.53 seconds. The 55 m dash would be up next and a newcomer, Patrick Hoffman (So.). Patrick ran from the slow heat to take 4th overall in his first ever Track and Field meet in an impressive time of 6.90. The Varsity 55 m duo of Myles Gascon (Sr.) and Kai Larson (Sr.) would post up season bests with a 2nd and 7th place double score and marks of 6.56 and 6.81. Myles was only .03 seconds from first and was catching up the entire way after his blocks slipped at the start. However, like many others that experienced adversity, Myles never gave up or made excuses. He is ready to carve out some great races in the outdoor season.
The sprints would break for a set of four impressive 800 m races and a side story. Nicolas Dovalovsky (Fr.) and Vasant Fong (Fr.) ran tough races to place 2nd and 5th place with significant personal bests. Nicolas would run nearly 6 seconds faster than his first race with a time of 2:03.92 and Vasant would run nearly 3 second faster with a time of 2:11.19. Since Zach Kinne (Jr.) did not have a seed time in the 800 m, he was forced to run in the slow heat. However, we knew that this would not deter Zach and he pushed himself, even a little too hard at first, to a 1:58.80, good enough for 4th place. In the fast heat, Dakota Getty (Sr.) simply would not let Joey Simon from Wheaton North pull away and ran nearly a 4 second personal best. Dakota's mark is under the State qualifying mark and is currently ranked 3rd in the State! Given Dakota's speed and endurance, we knew that he had it in him to run this fast.
Here is the quick side story...
We kept Zach Kinne out of the longer races to make sure he was ready to race in the Texas Distance Festival in Southlake, Texas, the next day. Zach ran the 5000 m there, taking 8th place with a mark of 14:47.01, which is a personal best and the second fastest 5000 m time in team history! This is impressive considering that Zach had to race on Friday, travel on Saturday and then race Saturday night.
Returning to the sprints with the 4 x 200 m, the Frosh-Soph team of Patrick Hoffman (So.), Christian Allen (Fr.), Jack Wharton (Fr.) and Ethan Thomas (Fr.) get the baton around the track with great exchanges, finishing 5th in a time of 1:41.17. Patrick would run a split of 23.8, which ranks with the Varsity athletes. Donovan Turner (Jr.), Ife Oketona (Sr.), Michael Dy (Sr.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) would approach the Varsity race with a determination to come back from the issues in the short sprints only to have a sloppy exchange between Ife and Michael. However, Michael charged back to a personal best split in the 200 and Myles ran one of the fastest indoor 200 m splits (22.3) in team history, charging forward while staying relaxed for a 2nd place finish in 1:33.10. The 4 x 200 m was followed by the 400 m, where EJ Oketona (Fr.) and Jonah Covarrubias (Jr.) would record personal bests with times of 57.62 and 53.81. In the fast heat of the Varsity 400 m, Kai Larson (Sr.) took the lead at the break and held it until the last two steps when Joe Zubak from Wheaton Warrenville South nipped him at the line beating Kai by only .16 seconds over his time of 51.55.
The last distance event of the evening was the 1600 m, which has Nicolas Dovalovsky (Fr.) and Vasant Fong (Fr.) returning after their 800 m race only a short time before. Nicolas would continue to impress as he became the first and only conference champion of the night in a time of 4:43.83 and showing us that he had some intuition about racing strategy as he toyed with the other runners in the field. Vasant would finish 8th in a time of 4:47.32 for a solid double. In the Varsity 1600 m, Tyler Bombacino would take the lead early but Michael Madiol (Jr.) ran a smart tactical race with a big kick and the top four finishers would need to be sorted out by the FAT camera. In the end, Michael ran a 5 second personal best time of 4:23.80 to take 3rd with only .11 seconds separating the top three runners. Tyler would finish 4th in 4:24.12 and the points from this race would bring us closer to the team championship.
The 200 m again saw Patrick Hoffman take 4th place at the Frosh-Soph level as the rookie continued to dazzle us with his speed. His time of 24.41 would be in the middle of the Varsity pack in the next set of races. With the night closing to an end, Donovan Turner (Jr.) and Myles Gascon (Sr.) would carve out some of our final points with a 2-3 photo finish. Myles would take 2nd in 23.25 and Donovan would take 3rd in 23.27. With these 14 points, our team victory was guaranteed.
However, we always want to win the 4 x 400 m and our Frosh-Soph relay of EJ Oketona (Fr.), Abood Armouti (So.), Jack Wharton (Fr.) and Christian Allen (Fr.) fought right to the finish line to win the heat but take 5th overall. Despite being interfered with by another runner in the home stretch, Christian kept his cool and brought baton home. The Varsity race started off with Joe Hanneman (Sr.) being interfered with at about 325 m and both Joe and a Wheaton North runner fell and lost the lead. Joe got up and handed off to Dakota Getty (Sr.) who fought hard to bring us back to the pack. Michael Dy would take the baton next and run out of his mind as he relentlessly chased the pack and put down a 52.1 split, which is a 2 second personal best! Finally, Kai Larson (Sr.) took the baton across the line for an unfortunate 5th place finish considering the efforts.
However, the story of the Varsity 4 x 400 m was the same story that we had heard all night. Something happened in an event that did not go well. Our athletes responded positively and kept right on competing. We did not plan this lesson, but our athletes passed with flying colors. We might have had only one conference champion on this night, but together as we fought adversity, we rose as a team and claimed the trophy together.
Up next, we have two weeks of solid training to get us ready for the outdoor season and with the lessons that indoor has taught us, we will be ready in the May.
The name of the meet on Saturday was the York Boys Last Chance Open Meet since it was the last meet for most teams before their conference championship meets next week. However, this meet only showed that we are coming together as a team and improving from meet to meet. Here are the list of personal bests that were set on Saturday. There may be more, but athletes have to keep track of their data and let me know if they broke their own record. If I missed anyone, please let me know and I will update this list. Also, please keep in mind that the coaches could keep track of this for the athletes, but that is missing the point. Athletes need to take ownership of their performances so that they can measure their own improvement.
Christian Allen (Fr.) - 400 m - 1:00.27
Leif Anderson (Fr.) - 3200 m - 10:36.86
Matt Appel (So.) - Shot Put - 50' 0.5"
Tony Cai (Fr.) - 200 m - 29.28, 400 m - 1:07.96
Amal Denny (Jr.) - 800 m - 2:14.87
Brandon Do (Fr.) - 800 m - 2:17.10
Michael Dy (Sr.) - 200 m - 24.61, 400 m - 53.90
Nicolas Dovalovsky (Fr.) - 1600 m - 4:43.86
Vasant Fong (Fr.) - 1600 m - 4:45.65
William Fu (Fr.) - 800 m - 2:26.51
Dakota Getty (Sr.) - 400 m - 53.59
Jacob Guthrie (Jr.) - 55 m - 7.08, 200 m - 25.01
Daniel Gutierrez (Fr.) - 1600 m - 5:13.10
Matthew Havlin (Fr.) - 1600 m - 5:33.36
JD Hastings (Fr.) - 1600 m - 5:39.56
Ryan Horn (Fr.) - 1600 m - 4:55.57
Dominick Gramarosso (Fr.) - 3200 m - 12:44.18
Alex Johnson (Sr.) - 1600 m - 4:25.86
Sam Jourdan (So.) - Shot Put - 34' 2.5"
Quinn Kennedy (So.) - 1600 m - 4:56.84
Ryan Kennedy (Sr.) - 1600 m - 4:19.99
Zach Kinne (Jr.) - 1600 m - 4:15.47
Matthew Lindell (Sr.) - 3200 m - 10:39.99
Michael Madiol (Jr.) - 3200 m - 9:54.78
Calvin McIntytre (Sr.) - 1600 m - 5:01.94
Evan McVittie (Sr.) - 3200 m - 10:23.66
Jack Orengo (Jr.) - 3200 m - 10:08.89
Danny Osafo (Sr.) - Triple Jump - 41' 2.5"
Jailen Poole (Fr.) - 200 m - 26.80, 400 m - 1:01.23, Pole Vault - 8' 1", High Jump - 5' 4"
Kevin Saju (Fr.) - 1600 m - 5:42.54
Aakash Sivasankar (Jr.) - Shot Put - 34' 7"
Ethan Smetana (So.) - 1600 m - 6:08.14
David Tassone (So.) - 800 m - 2:15.30
Donovan Turner (Jr.) - 55 m High Hurdles - 7.72, 400 m - 53.29
Alan Xie (Fr.) - 400 m - 1:09.90
Alex Xiong (Sr.) - Triple Jump - 40' 11"
Anthony Xu (Jr.) - 200 m - 25.72
The complete results from the meet are available at the link below. Remember that if you click on an athlete name, you will see all of their performances to date.
While this meet was not about team scores or place, it is worth noting that we took first place in the 55 m, the 400 m, the 800 m, the 1600 m, the 3200 m, the 55 m High Hurdles, as well as the top three places in the Triple Jump and second place in the Shot Put. Just like we were hoping for, our team took another step forward on Saturday.
Finally, we had two records broken at the meet. Zach Kinne (Jr.) broke the 1600 m field house record with his personal best time of 4:15.47. We now have two field house records at the Joe Newton Field House at York, since Kai Larson (Sr.) holds the 400 m record there. Also, Donovan Turner (Jr.) broke the 55 m High Hurdle school record with his time of 7.72.
This week we compete in the DVC Indoor Conference Championship at North Central College on Friday. We hope to see everyone there as we conclude our indoor season!