This past Saturday, our team returned to Homewood-Flossmoor High School for a great meet with Argo, Homewood-Flossmoor, Minooka, Neuqua Valley and Shepard. In the team competition, Homewood-Flossmoor took 1st with 116.5 points and Minooka took 2nd with 116 points. Neuqua Valley finished 3rd with 76.33 points. While some may point out the fact that this meet put the top two teams in the State from last season together, it is worth noting that in this sport, our record does not matter. The only meets that matter are the Indoor and Outdoor Conference Meets, the Sectional Meet to qualify you for the State Meet and the State Meet itself. Winning any of the meets means that our team will have won that championship. We use these early indoor meets to help our athletes sharpen their skills and learn to compete.
This bring me to the idea of rankings. In pre-season polls, our team is ranked 2nd or 3rd in the State. What does this mean? Nothing. It is fun to see our team in the polls and these polls help athletes and fans get excited about the season. However, we do not pay much attention to them. We simply try to prepare our athletes the best that we can to get them ready for the important meets at the end of the season. If you do not perform at the end when it matters, no poll is going to save you.
Therefore, despite the team scores, our team performed well. However, we were missing a few key players that are dealing with injuries, involved in other sports or were attending another meet.
The meet began with with the 4 x 800 m relay team of Kevin Daneliak (Sr.), Michael Madiol (Sr.), Blake Storoe (Sr.) and Spencer Teske (Sr.) taking 1st place in a time of 8:36.95. Michael and Spencer put up 2:04 splits on their legs, which is impressive this early in the season. Following up this relay was another distance event, the 3200 m where Neuqua Valley would take the top 4 places. Leif Anderson (So.) took 1st in an time of 10:19.60, followed by Ryan Horn (So.) in 10:21.69, then Stephen Smilie (So.) in 10:25.18 and Quinn Kennedy (Jr.) in 10:38.51.
Moving to the short sprints and hurdles, the 60 m would see Jonah Covarrubias (Sr.) and Aditya Sathyaprakash (Sr.) take 8th and 9th respectively with times of 7.48 and 7.49. Aditya would place 8th in the 200 m later in the meet with a mark of 24.88. Jonah would also be part of our fastest 4 x 200 m and 4 x 400 m relays at this meet. Jacob Guthrie (Sr.) took 2nd place in the 60 m High Hurdles with a time of 9:41. One athlete that we were missing at the meet was Donovan Turner (Sr.) since he was competing at the University of Kentucky's High School Invitational. Donovan took 5th place in the 60 m High Hurdles there, breaking the school record twice. In the preliminary heat, he ran 8.14 and then followed this up with an 8.07 in the final heat. Both of these marks break his own school record.
Donovan's Interview after the race can be seen at the link below.
In the middle distance events, the 800 m would return Michael Madiol (Sr.) and Spencer Teske (Sr.) from the 4 x 800 m to place 2nd and 4th with times of 2:04.67 and 2:07.70. Michael and Spencer only had about an hour of rest before racing again. Kel Foley (Sr.) would take 6th in 2:08.79 and would later anchor our fastest 4 x 400 m relay with a 54.0 split. In the 600 m, newcomer Nate Passaro (Sr.) ran 1:39.70 to take 9th in a race where he showed that he has some true determination.
The 1600 m saw a herd of Neuqua Valley athletes pushing themselves to top places and new personal bests. Michael O'Connor (Sr.) took 2nd overall in a time of 4:39.98, followed by Jack Orengo (Sr.) running 4:47.39 in 4th and Aidan Stone (So.) in 7th with a time of 4:54.53. Aidan kept making surges and fighting for every place during the race and broke his personal best that he had just set last week. Luke Suman (So.) took 9th in 4:58.53 and Noah Schalliol (Fr.) broke the 5 minute barrier, running 4:59.79, good enough for 10th place.
Moving to the field events, our Pole Vaulters took many of the top places. Alex Kiefer (Sr.) won the meet with a jump of 14' 0", and is currently ranked 3rd in the State. Rahul Nair (Sr.) and Trevor Lambert (Sr.) jumped 11' 6" and 10' 0" for 3rd and 4th place, respectively. Jailen Poole (So.) jumped 10' 0" to tie for 5th.
The Long Jump showed that we have a strong contingent of young jumpers almost ready to compete at the Varsity level with 4 Neuqua Valley Frosh-Soph Long Jumpers jumping 18' or better. These jumpers are Ethan Thomas (So.), Jailen Poole (So.), Paul Lee (Fr.) and Jack Wharton (So.). In the Triple Jump, Abood Armouti (Jr.) took 3rd with a jump of 37' 7" and also jumped 18' 3" in the Long Jump. The fact that we continue to produce horizontal jumpers is impressive considering that the only place where they see a pit and runway is at meets.
Finally, Matt Appel (Jr.) threw 52' 8" in the Shot Put to easily win the meet. However, what was more impressive than his final mark was the potential in his last throw, which was well over the present school record of 54' 7.5" but Matt fell out of the ring, fouling. Matt is presently ranked 6th in the State and had he stayed in on his last throw, he would be in 5th.
Complete results can be found at the link below. Find your mark, think about how you competed without emotion and then ask yourself what you can do this week to focus on so that you can improve. If you pick one thing to work on and translate it to a meet performance, you will see improvement in no time at all.
Please see the link below for pictures that the Kiefer Brothers took at the meet. There are some great shots!
We compete this Friday night at Batavia. We hope to see everyone there!