Prospect pole vaulter Matt Rendino is seeking a happy medium.
Push in the frame that holds the bar, he might clip it on the way up. Push the standards back, he might nick it on the descent.
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Saturday at the 22nd annual Pirate Indoor Classic boys track meet at Proviso West, Rendino hardly hit the bar at all.
Bearing a personal-best mark of 12 feet, 9 inches from last year's sectionals, Rendino pushed it way up to 13-6, finishing second to Plainfield Central's Gordon Rey, who got the edge based on Rendino's one missed attempt at 13-6.
"If we can just find the standards at the right place, I can get over it," said Rendino, part of the Knights' fourth-place finish at the Pirate Classic, the top closer-to-home option to the Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Classic. Prospect's 78 points trailed winner East St. Louis (111.5), Homewood-Flossmoor (90.5) and Glenbard South (83).
The senior's improvement combined better form and a new pole, a 155-pound test model that runs 14 feet, 6 inches in length.
"I got myself more vertical," he said. "I tend to sit over the bar a couple times."
After his 9-inch improvement, Rendino said: "It makes me feel really good. I was actually able to get up there. State, here I come."
Teammate Josh Campos has been there. Last year the senior ran the third leg of Prospect's fifth-place 3,200 relay at the Class 3A state outdoor meet. Saturday, he tore up Proviso West's 200-meter track to win the 600.
"I just ran smart and tried to just get pulled out with (the leaders) and then tried to kick it at the end. It worked out to my advantage," said Campos, who ran the three laps in 1 minute, 26.97 seconds.
He finished three spots ahead of Buffalo Grove's Ryan Degelmann, who helped the Bison place fifth out of 22 teams with 50 points.
Buffalo Grove teammates Dan Roe and Steven Salvano ran as a unit in the 3,200 until Roe shifted gear to win in 9:32.79. His goal was about two seconds faster, but being first 3,200 of the year he was all right with it.
"I thought it went pretty well," Roe said. "It was pretty relaxed until maybe about the last quarter (mile) when I decided to pick it up. But other than that it was a good day."
One of the day's top races was the 1,600, where Prospect's Mike Thill and Buffalo Grove's Jereme Atchison were the class of the field.
Atchison, coming off a stress fracture from cross country, had Thill right where he wanted him, just slightly ahead. Winding out of the final turn, Atchison overtook the fellow senior with about 30 meters left to win in 4:28.54, less than a second ahead of Thill.
"He closed in 64 seconds, which is important because he never closed that hard before," said Bison coach Jamie Klotz.
For Hoffman Estates, fours were wild. James Vaughan placed fourth in both the 55 and the 200 hurdles, as did Jared Bruemmer in pole vault and Fred Williams in triple jump.
Conant got a fifth by Tommy Zidek in the 200 dash, and Scott Eilrich placed seventh in the 55 hurdles.