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.