Friday turned out to be the best day in Bartlett boys track and field history.
The Hawks, who had never previously qualified athletes for the state meet in more than three events, qualified three relay teams and individuals in five more events to win the Class 3A St. Charles North sectional.
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The Hawks scored 94 team points to pull away from Geneva and Metea Valley, which finished tied for second with 62 points. Host St. Charles North was fourth (55), followed by Schaumburg (53), Marmion (49), St. Charles East (47) and Batavia (29).
The boys track and field sectional title was Bartlett's first.
"It's a credit to the kids that we have," said Hawks coach Erik Kramer, also the school's football defensive coordinator. "We've been talking about winning this meet since our first meeting in January. This is bigger than any football game I've played in or coached. It's something that just hasn't happened before. To help make history is just something unbelievable to be part of. It's almost like a movie, like somebody scripted it."
Individually, Bartlett was led by senior Kevin Bauers, who won the shot put (53 feet, 11 inches) and the discus throw (165-8). Junior Alex Bailey took second in the 110-meter high hurdles (15.38). Junior Aaron Everson finished second in both the 100-meter dash (11.18) and the 200-meter dash (22.53)
"It's the first (title) in Bartlett history, so it's a big team win," Everson said. "It's a big achievement and it's nice to have this feeling. Our team put in a lot of hard work. We have great coaches and I have great teammates."
Everson and 400-meter relay teammates Tony Tran, Nick Simich and Zack Karys took second in the 400 meter relay (42.66). Charles Mosley, Brandon Smith, Connor Rachford and Karys finished fourth in the 1,600-meter relay but still qualified on time (3:23.74), and the 3,200-meter relay team of Vince Zipparo, Smith, Rachford and Mitch Sullivan took second (7:58. 56).
One of the best races of the meet featured the continuing duel between future Loyola University teammates and roommates Peter Archibald of Geneva and Jake Mazanke of St. Charles East, who traded victories the last two weeks in the 800. Archibald prevailed for the second time in three weeks by holding off Mazanke's final kick in the final 100 meters.
"He's also insanely good in the 400 so he's definitely got that speed," Archibald said of his friendly rival. "In that last lap I knew he had that 400 speed and would close, so I thought I'd make my move (at 400 meters), break away from the pack and see what happens. I knew he was going to be with me all the way, though."
"We're really close to the same level," Mazanke said. "He beats me, I beat him. I think we propel each other to good things and we'll both do well next week."
District U-46 swept the 400-meter relay. In addition to Bartlett's second-place finish, the South Elgin team of Zach Gross, Adolfo Pacheco, Tommy Asa and Jeff Broger finished first (42.43), and the Elgin team of Terrell Campbell, Devante King, Derek Moorman and Dennis Moore punched their state ticket in a qualifying third-place time of 42.66.
A bigger accomplishment for the same Elgin foursome came in the 800-meter relay, which they won in 1:27.83. The time eclipsed the Elgin High record of 128.90.
"Killin' it," an elated Campbell said seconds after learning of the new school record. "I'm happy. That's been our goal for the last couple of weeks and the only thing we've really been focused on. I'm super excited, ready to go downstate and compete and place or win it all."
St. Charles North (1:29.33) and St. Charles East (1:29.55) also qualified in the 800 relay.
Broger of South Elgin took the title in the 400-meter dash (49.32), ahead of qualifiers Zach Kirby of St. Charles North (49.65) and Geneva's Justin Davis (49.85).
"Time-wise I wasn't that satisfied because last week I ran a 49.2, so it could have been better," Broger said. "But I'm satisfied I'm the sectional champ, so that's a plus."
Batavia pole vaulter Brandon Clabough didn't' just break the school record, he shattered it. Clabough cleared 15 feet on his first attempt to win the event and break Jay Markuson's 1977 record of 14-6. Clabough's previous best was 14-3.
"Beating that record by a half foot feels really good," said a smiling Clabough. "I'm seeded in the top pit, so if I could place at state it would be wonderful."
Marmion high jumper Peter Stefanski cleared 7 feet for the first time this season to win the event over fellow qualifiers Oshay Hodges of St. Charles North (6-7) and Batavia's Jake Pollack (6-6). He cleared the bar on his final attempt.
"I missed it my first time, but all I had to worry about was my leg kick on that one," Stefanski said. "So I was just trying to correct that on my third jump."
Geneva senior Ben Rogers won the triple jump (46-1) over Hodges (44-11), and Marmion's Jake Ruddy (22-7¼) won the long jump, outdistancing Rogers (22-4¾).
Metea Valley seniors Joseph Stewart and Matthew Stewart finished first and third in the 3,200, respectively, sandwiching second-place Schaumburg two-miler Evan Prizy.
"The Metea Valley brothers worked really hard, set a good pace at the start and we just raced through it," Prizy said. "The plan was to just go."
Metea Valley junior Colin Yorke won the 1,600 in 4:27.07 by holding off a strong challenge from Streamwood senior Jhoan Lino (4:27.83).
"The first couple of laps everyone was altogether and pushing for position," Yorke said, "but on the third lap everyone started going so I went with them. The last lap, I kicked the whole way. I was trying to get the time. I had no idea I'd get the win. It feels really tiring."
Lino qualified for state for the first time by dropping his time nearly 9 seconds in two weeks.
"It feels amazing," Lino said. "I didn't have a goal at first for state, but working really hard I dropped six seconds last week at conference. Then I dropped more today. All that hard work really paid off."
St. Charles East took the title in the 1,600-meter relay. Danny Newman, Carter J. Reading, Nick Devor and Mazanke finished in 3:18.46 to beat qualifying teams from Metea Valley (3:20.90), St. Charles North (3:21.86) and Bartlett.
"We live for our 4x4," Mazanke said. "We've been planning this for three years. These guys are my best friends. We had to win because last year we finished third and we barely made state. Taking it this year was huge for us."
The St. Charles North 800-meter relay team broke its own school record in the event, finishing second in 1:29.33. Third-place St. Charles East qualified with a time of 1:29.55.
"It feels great to break the record again," North's Grant Loess said. "We're going downstate and I think we could definitely get under 1:29 at state."
Other sectional qualifiers included: Schaumburg junior Juwaan Richard (22.29) in the 200; 300-meter hurdlers Nick Devor of St. Charles East (39.46) and Metea Valley's Benjamin Hulett (39.58); 100-meter dash champion Blake Holder of Streamwood (10.96), a repeat qualifier; 110-meter hurdler James Vaughan of Hoffman Estates (15.38); Marmion's first-place 3,200-meter relay team of Kevin Grahovec, Chris Burrows, Matt Choice and Nolan Dickson (7:58.32); Schaumburg shot putter Lee Duhs (51-9½); and Geneva discus thrower Kyle McNeil (157-5).