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.