aThe first meet of the season always has some ups and downs. Our team only sees a track when we are at meets so there is quite a bit of learning that takes place at each meet. However, we had a great showing for our first time with real competition and we can see that great things are in store for us.
As a team, we placed 2nd to a very strong but sprint-heavy Homewood-Flossmoor team on their home track. Considering that the score was 115 to 99.5, we were not that far from what some consider to be the best team in the State.
Field events are tough for us to practice at times, but Neuqua Valley showed up strong here. In the Shot Put, Matt Appel (So.) threw 48-1 to secure a huge personal best and to win the meet. The Pole Vault saw Alex Kiefer (Jr.) and Matt Dziekan (Sr.) take first and third respectively with jumps of 12-6 and 11-0 while only jumping from short approaches. In the High Jump, Chris Guo (Jr.) and newcomer Byron Walker (Sr.) took 4th and 6th. Finally, in the horizontal jumps, Ife Oketona (Sr.) took 3rd in the Long Jump with a leap of 20-8 while Norman Dong (Sr.) took 4th with a mark of 20-4. Our depth in the long jump showed with three jumpers, Joe Hanneman (Sr.), Mac Mitchell (Sr.) and Danny Osafo (Sr.) taking places 6th, 7th and 8th. We saw similar results in the Triple Jump, where Mac Mitchell (Sr.) won the meet with a jump of 41-11, but was followed in place by Alex Xiong (Sr.), Danny Osafo (Sr.) and Darren Huang (Sr.) placing 3rd, 4th, and 5th respectively. Given the fact that these athletes were jumping without spikes and without a jump board, these are some solid first meet marks.
To preserve Homewood-Flossmoor's beautiful facility, spikes are not allowed. However, this means that many of our athletes were missing out on the advantage of running or jumping with spikes. Regardless, Neuqua Valley athletes persevered and post some great early marks.
In the sprints, Myles Gascon (Sr.) and Kai Larson (Sr.) would show that we could keep up with the home team in the shorter events by placing 3rd and 6th in the 60 m. Myles ran 7.11 to break his own school record for the 4th time in a row. Kai would run 7.30, which is faster than the original school record set two years ago. Later in the meet, Kai would run a season opening 52.46 to take 2nd in the 400 m dash and near the end of the meet, Kai and Myles would tie for 3rd with a mark of 23.61 in the 200 m dash.
The middle distance events, Chris Wiemer (Sr.) would take 7th in the 600 m with a time of 1:37.38 and Kel Foley (Jr.) took 4th in the 800 m with a time of 2:09.79. Both of these are solid early season marks for athletes that are still getting into shape.
Our relays were events that the athletes mainly put together as training and to help athletes push each other through some friendly rivalries. The 4 x 200 m relay of Jonah Covarrubias (Jr.), Jackson Russelburg (Jr.), Aditya Sathyaprakash (Jr.) and Joe Sampson (Jr.) took 4th overall without our top sprinters. In the 4 x 400 m, our distance running senior team of Dakota Getty (Sr.), Ryan Kennedy (Sr.), Alex Johnson (Sr.) and Tyler Bombacino (Sr.) would take 4th and the junior team of Zach Kinne (Jr.), Chris Keeley (Jr.), Michael Madiol (Jr.) and Michael O'Connor (Jr.) would take 5th. All of these athletes had run the 1600 m just a hour before this final event.
Speaking of the distance events, the 3200 m was won by Jack Orengo (Jr.) in a time of 10:13.70 with a great kick to hold off Minooka's Hunter Phillips. Kevin Daneliak (Jr.), Lief Anderson (Fr.) and Stephen Smilie (Fr.) would take 3rd, 4th and 7th respectively to round out that event. Despite the excitement of this race, there was little that could prepare us for the 1600 m.
In the 1600 m, Neuqua Valley athletes took control of the race from the gun, with Zach Kinne (Jr.) leading the pack at a blistering pace. As the race unfolded, not only would we see something special from the lead, but from an entire pack of eight athletes. In the final laps, Zach would continue to set the pace and claim the win with a time of 4:17.43. However, on this day we would have eight athletes with marks under 4:33 as shown below. Most of these performances would be among to the top indoor marks in the 1600 m that we have ever had and this was accomplished without spikes. Of course, as the famous coach Ted Haydon used to say, "If you slip, you have a 50% chance of slipping forward."
1. 11 Zach Kinne 4:17.43a PR Neuqua Valley
2. 12 Ryan Kennedy 4:23.73a PR Neuqua Valley
3. 12 Tyler Bombacino 4:24.48a PR Neuqua Valley
4. 12 Dakota Getty 4:27.49a PR Neuqua Valley
5. 11 Chris Keeley 4:29.95a PR Neuqua Valley
6. 11 Michael Madiol 4:31.96a PR Neuqua Valley
7. 12 Alex Johnson 4:32.56a PR Neuqua Valley
8. 11 Michael O'Connor 4:32.93a PR Neuqua Valley
This is a great sign of things to come from our distance squad.
Many of our athletes scored personal bests at the meet and complete results can be found at the site below.
Next Saturday, we travel to Olivet-Nazarene University for our next invitational where we hope to take another step forward as individuals and as a team. We hope to see you there!