CHARLESTON -- If two-time defending Class 3A boys track state champion Lake Park had anything left to prove, it was that the Lancers were not three or four superstars scoring megapoints but, in fact, a team.
They proved that Saturday.
Each of the 11 entries Lake Park advanced to the 118th state finals at Eastern Illinois University scored. They all counted, whether from relay runners Mike Amerlan, Dimitri Alimissis, Jeremy Lozano, Eric Dade, Dakota Morales and Kevin Jorgensen or the several double-scoring field events: Scott Filip and Shawn Koch in triple jump, Tim Ehrhardt and Derrick Smith in pole vault, Filip and Marcus Jegede in long jump, Filip and Kevin Spejcher in high jump.
Even lacking a state champion all those numbers totaled 48 points to deliver the Lancers' third straight title -- the longest skein since Thornwood's Class AA four-peat from 2001-04 -- ahead of slight favorite Edwardsville (42) and Oak Park (41).
"It speaks volumes for what they were able to do," said Lancers coach Jay Ivory. "They stepped up and said we want this. We asked, who wants a three-peat, who's willing to step up for it, and they did. Just awesome."
It came from guys like discus thrower Per Johnson, who had surpassed state-qualifying distance exactly once before sectionals. After throwing a personal-best 164 feet, 7 inches Saturday to move to seventh from 11th after preliminaries, he was asked if he even expected to be at O'Brien Stadium.
A pause, then: "Not even close. But I have faith."
Spejcher, Jorgensen, Alimissis and thrower Scott Karlis are the only seniors among the core. This title may have taken the cake.
"To me," Spejcher said, "it's more of a team thing, it wasn't just three guys doing it all. This was like everyone pitching in, working as hard as they can to get as many points as they could."
Without any effort at all, Wheaton North's Zach Gordon was the first DuPage athlete to win a 3A event. His preliminary long jump of 24 feet, 2 inches held, as he saved a tweaked left leg to help the Falcons to seventh in both the 400 and 800 relays and an all-state seventh in the 200 dash.
Another junior, Hinsdale South's Tavaris Binion, placed fifth in that 200. It was icing on the cake after the speedster's 100 dash title in a blazing 10.53 seconds.
"My whole goal coming into the season was all-state, but once I made it down here I knew the championship was definitely in my grasp," he said.
In pole vault York's Nick Sgarbossa won at 16 feet, 3 inches. He used four different-sized poles to get there.
In Class 2A, retiring Glenbard South coach Andy Preuss capped his 30-year coaching career with a second-place finish to Cahokia. Favored Leo won the 1A title.
"I think any time you get a trophy it's special," Preuss said. "And to go out, (2011) track season, cross country and (2012) track, we've got three in a row, so that's kind of special in itself."
Along with Raiders placers like Nick Boesso in shot put and Scott Wurtz in the 1,600, Elven Walker won the 300 hurdles after leader Brandon Lindley of Peoria tripped over the last hurdle and Walker sprinted past.
"I don't care how I'll get it," said Walker, also third in the 110 hurdles. "Dirty, clean, a win's a win. It felt amazing."
Wesley Sanders followed a fifth-place 100 dash finish with a burning anchor leg on Glenbard South's victorious 800 relay, with Sean Henderson, Jarius Shannon and Tyler Padera.
"My 100-meter dash, really I don't get out that well on that," Sanders said. "It was my last race of my last year, so it really motivated me."