By Jeff Newton
Daily Herald Correspondent
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Scouting boys track sectionals
What's at stake: Qualification for the state track and field championships at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Stadium next weekend.
When: Friday -- field events, 4:15 p.m.; prelims, 4:45 p.m.; finals, 6 p.m.
Area teams: Fremd, Palatine, Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Hersey, Barrington, Grayslake North, Warren, Lake Zurich, Libertyville, Stevenson, Mundelein, Round Lake.
Outlook: The hosts are the newly crowned Mid-Suburban League champions and they will host North Suburban Conference champion Lake Zurich. Fremd will bring some of the best sprint relays in the area, but will get challenges from Stevenson and Grayslake North in the 400 and 800 relays. Lake Zurich features one of the top 1,600 relays in the state and has a dynamic 3,200 relay team that could score big at state next week. Palatine, Fremd, Warren, Hersey, Barrington, and Buffalo Grove should all contend in one of the best races of the night. Barrington senior and Butler-bound Erik Peterson will be featured in the 3,200 and 1,600. Martin Martinez of Warren and Easton Huch of Libertyville will challenge as will Marcus Garcia and Peter Tomkiewicz of Palatine. The middle-distance events could be among the best races of the night. In the 400, Kendrick Cornelius of Palatine and Cameron Decoursey of Wheeling will be chasing Illinois State-bound Round Lake senior Antonio Farley. The field events feature some of the best in the state in Illinois State-bound Fremd senior Nick Bednarek in the pole vault, Carthage-bound Hersey senior Mark Balmes in the throws and Kevin Newman of Buffalo Grove in the high jump. Barrington senior AJ Scarbrough is healthy and looking for big things in the triple jump.
When: Thursday -- field events, 2 p.m.; prelims, 2:45 p.m.; finals, 3:45 p.m.
Area Teams: Prospect, Maine West
Outlook: Prospect brings a nice blend of talented sprint relays and impressive middle distance runners. The 400 and 800 relays for the Knights again will factor in qualifying with Vito Anzalone, Pete Meersman, Nick Meersman and Sam Frasco. Throw in the hurdling dominance of Dave Kendziera and the Knights figure to come away with a big haul to Charleston next week. The middle distance events are strong with Josh Campos and Mike Thill of Prospect and Felipe Garcia of Maine West ruling the 800 meter run and the relays. Prospect is an annual participant downstate in the 3,200 relay and figures to be that again with Campos, Thill, Dan Troutman and Ted Ford.
At Rockton Hononegah
When: Thursday -- field events, 4 p.m.; prelims, 5:15 p.m.; finals 6:30 p.m.
Area teams: Cary-Grove, Jacobs, Dundee-Crown, Crystal Lake South, Grant, Huntley
Outlook: Newly crowned, albeit shared, North Suburban Conference champion Grant brings a talented group out and led by newly signed Grand Valley State-bound senior Sean Wells and junior Brandon Lombardino is in prime position to bring its largest group of athletes to the state meet. Wells is a fixture in the 300 hurdles but will find plenty of competition from Jacobs senior Dom Blake and Huntley senior Jake Brock. Wells will be the top seed in the 110 high hurdles as well. Lombardino is the overwhelming top seed in the discus with an all-time Lake County best of 190 feet. In his way will be Southern Illinois-bound Cary Grove senior Josh Freeman, the best in the state in the shot and a likely qualifier in the disc as well. The Trojans will surely be busy with their fair share of qualifiers as Tommy Rohn and Michael Gleeson in the 400 make for a great combination. They also figure to get any combination of the 1,600, 800 and 400 relays through as well. Crystal Lake South, off its record-setting 400 relay at the Fox Valley Conference meet last week, will look to get back to state in that event again. Led by sprint specialist Zane Boettcher, the Gators will be the favorites in sprint relays. Jacobs will be the favorites in the 3,200 relay, led by senior William Hennessey and junior Nick Matysek. Hennessy will also be a contender in the 1,600 for the Eagles. James Davis of Huntley and Ardian Asani of Dundee-Crown look to return to state.
When: Friday -- field events, 4 p.m.; prelims, 4:30 p.m.; finals, 6 p.m.
Area teams: Antioch, Lakes, Wauconda, St. Viator, Carmel, Grayslake Central, Vernon Hills
Outlook: Grayslake Central won its first sectional title and has three of the state's best returning this year in Will Brewster, Joey Valdivia and Luke Zygmunt. Brewster and Zygmunt should qualify in the 1,600 and 3,200 and Valdivia has started to find his rhythm in the shot put and should get through with Lakes senior Ty Summers. Lakes figures to bring a large group back to state and could earn its first sectional crown led by junior Shaun Beutlich, who has been among the area's best in the sprints and jumps and could be a multi-event qualifier. Ryan Prais, Trevor Ray, Tyelr Swindel, Hans Hunecke and Max Savinkov could all earn spots downstate. Vernon Hills junior Gabe Cotton looks to get back to state in the 100 and 200 and could be joined downstate by teammate Oleg Babin. Antioch junior Leroy Chapman is a likely contender in the 400 in what should be a great rematch with Ray from the sectional meet. Carmel is in 2A for the first time and its 1,600 relay should get through. KJ Matuszak and Brian Kadowaki are a few of many potential state qualifiers for the Corsairs. Chris Bednarski of Wauconda and the 3,200 relay for St. Viator could also make a run at state.