It has been nearly four years since Neuqua Valley competed at Batavia High School. When the school left the Upstate Eight Conference for the DuPage Valley Conference, we were leaving behind some years competing at Batavia for the indoor conference meet at a facility well known for its fast track and field event areas. To find ourselves back in Batavia was a pleasant surprise to say the least. However, as we competed there on Friday night, the pleasant surprises kept happening.
It started with the field events where Jared Malcolm (Sr.) returned to the team after a one year hiatus. When Jared was a sophomore, his best mark in the High Jump was 5' 7". Therefore, it was a little surprising when he decided to enter the event at 5' 6". Nine inches later, Jared would clear 6' 3" to win the event, set an 8 inch personal best and achieve a State Qualifying Mark. Another event victory would come from Alex Kiefer (Sr.) in the Pole Vault, where Alex cleared 13' 6" and was just shy of the 13' 8" State Qualifying Mark. The Triple Jump would see EJ Oketona (So.) and Abood Armouti (Jr.) take 3rd and 4th respectively with marks of 38' 4" and 38' 0". EJ and Abood would also put up solid 400 m relay splits later in the meet during the 4 x 400 m relay. Finishing off the field events was another event win with Matt Appel (Jr.) thowing 53' 7" in the Shot Put, which betters the State Qualifying Mark of 52' 8". However, Matt scratched a huge throw that showed that his best marks are ahead of him.
Moving to the track events, Michael Madiol (Sr.) took first place in the 3200 m with a time of 9:50.11, continuing the pattern that he set during the Cross Country season and showing that he has the range to run all of the distance events. He was followed by Vasant Fong (So.) and Aidan Stone (So.) placing 4th and 5th places with times of 10:15.47 and 10:20.31, which are both indoor personal bests for the 3200 m. After a long recovery from an injury, Aidan has shown that he is ready to race!
The 55 m High Hurdles promised to be another fast time for Donovan Turner (Sr.) and he did not disappoint. Running 7.65 seconds, he broke the field house record and the school record in this event. The previous field house record was held by Sam Conger of Batavia, who just beat Donovan in the 110 m High Hurdles at the State Meet last season. Donovan would then run the next race, the 55 m dash, and take 3rd in a time of 6.83 seconds. Jonah Covarrubias (Sr.) took 6th in the 55 m with a mark of 6.90 seconds and Christian Allen (So.) took 7th in 6.92 seconds. Later in the meet, Donovan and Jonah would team up with Kel Foley (Sr.) in the fast heat of the 400 m where they would take the top 3 positions. Donovan was first in 52.67, Kel was second in 53.16 and Jonah was third in 53.79. These three athletes will be three legs of a fast 4 x 400 m in some upcoming meets! This trio would later run the 200 m with Donovan again taking first in 23.66, Kel taking 8th in 24.40 and Jonah taking 12th in 24.54. Many of these marks were indoor personal bests.
Michael O'Connor (Sr.), fresh off of his Mr. NVHS win, took 5th in the 800 m with a time of 2:05.66. Jack Orengo (Sr.) took 7th in the same event with a time of 2:08.95, and both of these athletes put up indoor personal bests. Spencer Teske (Sr.) took 3rd in the 1600 m in an time of 4:34.91 and another indoor personal best. Jordan Matthews (Jr.) returned from a long injury to also record a personal best in a time of 4:48.93 in the 1600 m.
Complete results from the meet can be found at the website below. Athletes should review their marks and see if they achieved a personal best and then figure out what changes they need to make to continue their improvement.
If you look closely at the names listed above, many of these athletes are seniors. We know that we have a strong senior class. However, we have a good number of inexperienced athletes that need guidance and leadership from these seniors as they try to grow and improve. Some people think that leaders are born, but I would disagree. It takes practice and commitment to be a leader and people can get better at it. As we move into the latter part of the indoor season, I want to challenge our seniors to step up their leadership role. This is their team and the leadership that they give will determine where we go from here.
Our next meet will be at Plainfield East on Thursday! We hope to see everyone there!