The value of "big and bouncy" apparently can't be overestimated in track and field.
Lake Park's Marcus Jegede said he felt just that way entering the Upstate Eight Conference indoor championships Saturday at Batavia. The junior is not necessarily big but certainly proved bouncy, setting two meet and field house jumping records.
Teammate Scott Filip, who also knows bouncy, won three events. The duo helped three-time defending Class 3A champion Lake Park depose defending UEC indoor champion Neuqua Valley, 137.5 points to 115. Waubonsie Valley placed fifth and Metea Valley 10th in the 14-team meet.
"I think it amounts for something, but not as much as people would think. I mean, at the state meet a lot of teams get weeded out," Jegede said. "But it shows something -- that we're still here, we can still win with those guys we lost last year, so it's looking good."
Jegede broke two UEC indoor records held by former Lancers superstar Zach Ziemek with triple jump of 47 feet, 7½ inches -- as did teammate Shawn Koch's second-place 47-3 -- and also in long jump at 23-1¼.
"I was doing everything I was supposed to do, I was big and bouncy, so it worked out today," said Jegede, who also placed fifth in the 55-meter dash.
Filip did not do everything he set out to do. A false start eliminated him from the 55 hurdles but motivated him elsewhere. Within five minutes the senior outlasted Neuqua's Tim Heinz to win high jump at 6-7, then scurried over to the finals of the 55 dash, where Filip edged Bartlett's Aaron Everson in 6.54 seconds. Filip ended his day by winning the 200.
"Usually I'm running and I have a hurdle in front of me or a jump at the end, so it was kind of fun just to run -- and run," Filip said. "I wanted to redeem myself on the track from the hurdles. I guess it played out really well."
It might have disquieted Neuqua Valley's Connor Horn to hear track announcer Skip Stolley's anointment as a "freshman sensation." Fortunately, Horn was too nervous to let it affect him.
It was also nice that Horn, who had the best seed time entering the 1,600-meter race, had a senior to help guide him. Robbie Hohlman did some of the middle-lap heavy lifting before Horn took it home in 4:31.47 seconds, just nicking Hohlman's 4:31.98.
"The most talented freshman we've ever had," said Hohlman, which is saying something. "He's a heck of a racer, a heck of a competitor, and he did an awesome job today."
"Thank you," said the wunderkind to his elder.
In shot put Waubonsie Valley's Riley Kittridge won and wasn't all that psyched about it. The senior's heave of 55-3 felt subpar to an all-stater who's thrown 57 feet.
"I thought I could have thrown farther," he said.
On the other hand Neuqua's Carlos Varela was pumped with a second-place finish. An all-state discus thrower, longer shot distances are relatively new. He recently popped a 51-footer and Saturday improved to 54-0½.
"This," Varela said, "is overdue."