As the day went on at the inaugural Warren Boys Track Invitational, not only did the weather get better, but the times did as well.
While the hosts were on their way to capturing the first meet title with 135 points Saturday, it didn't overshadow two impressive distance races between some of the best runners in the area.
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The 3,200-meter run, despite going off in 30-mph winds and the occasional flake of snow, lived up to its billing. But one runner came in and stole the show.
Senior Jared Ripoli of Lake Zurich raced stride for stride with teammate Alex Milner and Warren senior standout and Brown University-bound Martin Martinez for the majority of the eight-lap race. Into the final 100 meters, Ripoli broke free from Martinez and Milner and raced away to a personal best 9:29.4 -- the fastest time in Lake County so far this season. Martinez was just a step behind in 9:29.8, followed closely by Milner in 9:37.9.
"It was real windy coming around the final turn but I knew I had to go for it there," Ripoli said. "I let (Martin and Alex) cut through the wind and waited for my turn."
Martinez came back later in the meet to complete the grueling distance double by winning the 1,600 in 4:31.7, just edging Trevor Kuehr of Lake Zurich (4:36.2).
"(Martin) has come back stronger and looks real good for this early in the season," said Warren coach Bill Dawson. "He has big goals and there is no telling just how fast he can be in the right conditions."
Second to the host Devils was Lake Zurich with 123 points followed by Lake Forest (78) and Grayslake North (76).
Warren senior Arthell Rosquist earned a pair of wins in the jumps for the Devils. His 5-8 effort won the high jump and his season best 40-10 took the triple jump. Senior Jacob Butler ran away from the field for a season-best mark of 1:59.4 in the 800, and the Devils took home top honors in the 3,200 relay, winning in 8:41.1.
The runner-up Bears, besides showing their stellar depth in the distance events, took home the top spot in the pole vault where senior Robert Rossdeutcher battled through the winds winning with a clearance of 11-0. The Bears also earned a relay win taking the 800 relay in 1:36.5 just narrowly edging out Grayslake North.
at Buffalo Grove
The brutal wet and cold spring was not about to put a damper on some great performances Saturday at the second annual BATE Invitational at Buffalo Grove. With the rare good days to race outside so far, runners from the nine-team field didn't look rusty at all -- with Conant looking the sharpest of them.
It came down to the final race of the afternoon at Grant Blaney Stadium, and the Cougars busted out a solid 1,600-relay effort in 3:32.60 to narrowly win the meet over second-place Crystal Lake Central. The Cougars amassed 207.5 points to 202 for the second-place Tigers. The host Bison (178), Glenbrook South (156.5), and Crystal Lake South (133) rounded out the top five teams.
"All in all there were a lot of really solid performances today considering what the kids ran in," Buffalo Grove coach Jamie Klotz said. "Some of the times in the distance events especially were solid."
The 3,200 and 1,600-meter run champion, Alex Baker of Crystal Lake Central, was the athlete of the meet. He finished in 9:34.2 and 4:26.5, respectively.
Conant captured individual event wins in the 110 high hurdles and the 800 run. Senior Joe Sulentic took top honors in the 800 in a season-best 1:58.40. Fellow senior Scott Eilrich pulled away from the field and continued to impress by winning the 110s in 15.5.
Eilrich was edged out in the 300 hurdles with a second-place effort of 42.2, just behind sophomore Max Roberts of Libertyville (41.80).
"That was a real good effort by Eilrich," said Conant coach John Powers. "It was a nice way to get the day started with his win in the 110's."
Libertyville, which placed seventh in the team race, was solid in the field with three wins. Illinois-bound senior Matsen Dziedzic captured the shot put with a toss of 55-6 and the discus with a winning heave of 150-1.
Keith Wilson took home top honors for the Wildcats in the triple jump with a best effort of 39-11.
The Bison had their best finishes come from Maurice Beryozkin, who was second in the 110 high hurdles (15.8) and runner-up in the 1,600 relay (3:33.4) and the 800 relay (1:36.50). Marlo Johnson and AJ Wright were runners-up in the triple jump and discus, respectively.
Other individual winners included freshman Noah Agnew of Vernon Hills in the high jump (6-4), Kyle Radsoevich of Crystal Lake South in the 400 (53.0). The Gators also took home relay wins in the 3,200 (8:19.4) and the 800 (1:35.9).