Wheaton North's 28th annual Best Four boys track and field meet Saturday was a showcase for state-caliber athletes as well as team depth.
Dueling in long jump, Scott Filip's Lake Park school-record distance of 23 feet, 8½ inches edged Wheaton North's defending Class 3A champion, Zach Gordon.
Filip went on to win the 110-meter hurdles and tie Lancers teammate Derrick Smith in high jump while Gordon won the 100 and 200 dashes, anchored a winning 400 relay and narrowly scratched on a long jump measured at 24 feet, 7 inches.
Naperville Central's Ethan Brodeur broke out of a pack in the 3,200 and Wheaton Warrenville South's Nolan McKenna fairly ran away with the 1,600. Willowbrook's Matt Burns bore hard into a stiff wind then let it push him to a 400 victory.
"You need to be smart," Burns said.
The Best Four, though, tests depth, totaling scores from four separate levels. Wheaton North coach Don Helberg said the meet champion usually wins tiers Nos. 3-4. His Falcons did just that, their 237 total points topping Lake Park's 202 with a solid third-place showing by WW South.
"Track, we've been told by our coach, really is a team sport," said Falcons senior Micaiah Steele, who scored in the 110 hurdles and 400 dash and anchored a winning 1,600 relay. "When you get out there you run your race, but in the end it's a team sport and you really do have to dig deep to find that inner strength to come out here."
Glenbard West coach Jon Schweighardt, who got a win with a 3,200 relay of Ben Hecht, Will Lindstrom, Jake Jaskowiak and Nate Crail, had four freshmen competing.
"It gives me a chance to run younger kids in a competitive atmosphere where I've got freshmen and sophomores that run against juniors and seniors and kind of see where they stand. That's why this meet is so good," Schweighardt said.
Perhaps no youngster met that challenge as successfully as Lake Park's Mike Prestigiacomo. Competing in the third flight in both shot put and discus the red-haired sophomore won both, riding the headwind for a nearly 30-foot personal-record in discus at 162 feet, 6 inches to top Willowbrook's Matt McNamara's 158-7.
"I thought I was going to come in maybe top six or top eight for both events," Prestigiacomo said. "To win, it's awesome."
WW South sophomore pole vaulter Anthony Dohse added Tigers depth to surpass Plainfield South, Naperville Central, Glenbard West and Willowbrook. He'd hoped to be outside where track spikes could gain momentum on the runway, but after high winds sent the event indoors he settled for a PR.
"Coming in here it was a bit disappointing, but whatever works," Dohse said. "It's safer in here and I'm all about being safe."