Track announcer Skip Stolley stated that Saturday's Upstate Eight Conference Indoor Championships at Batavia was the largest indoor meet of its kind in Illinois.
Yet with all those athletes running and jumping, here were Bartlett seniors Connor Rachford and Mitch Sullivan finishing first and second in the 800-meter run.
Results like that helped lift the Hawks into third place overall behind three-time defending outdoor state champion Lake Park and defending UEC indoor champ Neuqua Valley.
Bartlett's Alex Bailey won a 55-meter hurdles race so narrowly over Lake Park's Antonio Shenault that both runners were given the same time, 7.94 seconds, in the official race results. Sprinters Aaron Everson and Bryce Petty finished second in the 55 dash and 200 dash, respectively, each being Lake Park star Scott Filip.
The Hawks finished no lower than fifth in any of the three relays, with the 800 relay team of Hurshel Ross, Petty, Kyle Garcia and Everson following only St. Charles North's meet-record time. And sophomore Dan Cotton, third place in the 1,600, was in the running early until Neuqua Valley's duo of freshman Connor Horn and senior Robbie Hohlman kicked it in.
Even on a 200-meter indoor track such as at Batavia's glorious field house, those distance races allow athletes time to execute their own search-and-destroy missions. At least that's how Sullivan saw his surge to second in the 800.
"The last lap I just started putting targets on each guy's back, just pass them one by one," Sullivan said. "And then I finally had to finish -- I guess break their spirits. I was in fifth through three laps, I think, so I just let it all go."
Rachford had run the second fastest seed time entering the meet, Sullivan the sixth. Hoping to qualifying for the upcoming Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Classic, Rachford sliced off a cool minute to run the four laps in 2 minutes, 1.42 seconds. Sullivan took some three seconds off his seed time to come in at 2:02.56.
"The idea was just to see how everyone runs," Rachford said. "With about 300 meters to go (Batavia's David Morrison) looked back, and as soon as someone looks back, that means they're dying. That was my cue to go ahead and kick it, and just took it from there."
South Elgin senior Jeff Broger has his eye on returning downstate outdoors in the 400 dash and improve on his all-state ninth-place finish of 2012. Saturday Broger finished sixth in the 55, fourth in the 200 and took it out fast in the 400 but lost in kick to St. Charles North's Zach Kirby and then Waubonsie Valley's John Burke.
Broger, who committed last weekend to Eastern Illinois University, was the bulwark of the Storm's eighth-place finish along with junior Kyle Kumerow, fourth in triple jump and sixth in high jump.
"In the 400 I got third but outdoor season, I'll get back to that state final," said the muscular Broger. "That's what my main goal is. It's kind of hard running the curves sometime, but I can adjust to it."
Elgin senior Chris Porras finished fourth in the 800. Streamwood junior Ryan Ashenhurst made the finals of the 55 hurdles, and Larkin senior Luis Subias took sixth in the 400.