Here was Grant Loess' chance at redemption. He took advantage of it.
Earlier this indoor track season the St. Charles North senior while running a relay he cut into the first lane a tad too early, causing the North Stars to have their fine time disqualified.
Saturday at the Upstate Eight Conference Indoor Championship at Batavia Loess didn't make that mistake in the 800-meter relay. Loess, leadoff man Jack Feeney, Connor Larson and Josh Phelan ran a meet and facility record time of 1 minute, 31.89 seconds -- .01 faster than the time that was wiped out.
Results like this and others propelled St. Charles North to fourth place overall in the UEC, behind Lake Park, Neuqua Valley and Bartlett.
"That was our motivation the entire time since the Mustang, is to get right back to where we were. And we did," Loess said.
"It feels real good. I made sure I was past the break line before I cut in because I didn't want to get DQ'd again, you know?"
The North Stars also looked good in the meet-ending 1,600 relay, battling Neuqua Valley over the final leg on Batavia's 200-meter track before Neuqua's Ty Moss pulled out the win in the last 45 meters.
Zach Kirby was on that relay, coming back from his open 400-meter win over Waubonsie Valley's John Burke and friendly nemesis Jeff Broger of South Elgin. Broger took the 400 out fast. Kirby tucked in then passed the Eastern Illinois recruit on the last turn.
"He's beat me a few times, he beat me downstate (in Class 3A preliminaries last year, so it was an opportunity for me to get some revenge, maybe a little bit," Kirby said. "He's fast as lightning, I knew he was going to take it out really fast the first 200 so I saved some for the second backstretch. I just kicked it and just prayed for the last 50 meters."
Showing the individual speed that comprises their relays, Larson finished third in the 55 dash, Feeney did the same in the 200 as did Mason Heinz in the 55 hurdles. Nick Borger placed fourth in the 3,200.
Whenever a pole vaulter can hang with those from three-time defending 3A champion Lake Park, that's doing something. Both Tim Guthrie and Dan Acton were among eight vaulters still in the competition at 13 feet. Guthrie, a 168-pounder on a 175-test pole, missed once before clearing 14 feet, and nearly had 14-3 before settling for second place with a six-inch personal-best.
"I thought I should have had it, but maybe next time," the senior said of the 14-3 height.
Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles East followed fifth-place Waubonsie Valley. When Waubonsie Valley is fifth, that indicates a good track meet.
"This meet, for indoor track and field, really represents one of the better indoor track fields and meets in the state of Illinois every single year," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron. He got his best finishes in the distance events with sophomores David Morrison and Ryan Wietes and junior Mitch Zabka. Bulldogs senior R.J. Viereckl finished fourth in pole vault at 13-6.
St. Charles East's Mitch Ewald placed fourth in the 55 hurdles, fellow senior Max Rowland sixth in the 3,200.