Some hurdlers favor the 110-meter hurdles. Others like the 300s. Inevitably most run both.
Benet's Austin Dzic zeroed in close to his personal-best in the 300 hurdles Friday at Naperville North's Gus Scott Invite. He ran it in 40.30 seconds, a hair off the 40.16 that won at last year's East Suburban Catholic Conference meet.
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"Freshman and sophomore year I mainly focused on the 400 meter, so I think I have a background in mid-distance," he said Friday. "That just helps me with the 300 hurdles. Last year this meet was the first time I ever did 300 hurdles."
Downers Grove South's Jalen Lewis is the opposite. He favors the 110s but said Saturday at the Mustangs' Bud Mohns Invite that the 300 hurdles are "kind of growing on me."
"Coach (Dustin Hausherr) put me on the 400 (relay) team last year, so I've been adjusting to it," said Lewis, who won both the low and high hurdles at the West Suburban Gold indoor meet in March. "And I've been running 300s since sophomore year on varsity. So after getting adjusted to the 400 I have gotten better times on the 300. I do enjoy it a lot more now."
In desperation after fouling three times in shot put Friday at Naperville North, Waubonsie Valley senior Riley Kittridge reverted to his old form to get a mark in. The simple power heave made it in the sector, Kittridge stayed in the ring, and he won the event.
"First time of doing a power throw in a while, so I'm happy with it," he said.
Kittridge is working with Warriors throws coach Roger Einbecker on the spin technique in shot put after using the slide or as Kittridge called it, a "shuffle." The torque and force gained by the spin delivery should produce greater distance but only with hours of practice and when all the parts work together, including the brain.
"It's mental," said Kittridge, seventh in Class 3A as a junior. "I'll throw a lot better in practice then not throw good in a meet. I'm trying to get my practice throws into a meet. It's just nerves."
On the run:
If there were a comeback of the year award for boys track in Illinois, York senior Alex Mimlitz would be a prime candidate.
Due to injury Mimlitz became a shell of the person who in 2010 ran 3,200 meters in 9:29 as a freshman and, according to DyeStat, went 4:11.66 in the 1,500 that summer at a national meet.
Saturday at Downers Grove South's Bud Mohns Invitational Mimlitz showed no sign of the foot and hip injuries that plagued him. In the 3,200 he wisely let others do much of the work then used an all-out sprint to win in 9:37.39. Mimlitz also is approaching the 1,600 personal best of 4:25.5 he claimed on RunnerSpace.com when he last updated it -- September 2010.
Till last fall there was little to update. Mimlitz said he injured his right foot at the start of cross country season his sophomore year. He ran through it, and though he was York's second finisher on a 2010 state champion, the injury took its toll. The injury spread to the hip flexors and gluteus muscles to the point Mimlitz said he couldn't run without limping.
"It took me about 18 months to work through all that, just kind of deciphering what was wrong," Mimlitz said at Downers South. "And once I figured out the initial injury it was like a chain of things. I had to fix one thing at a time. But I had great support from my coaches, doctors, especially my parents and my friends. It feels great to be able to train and run injury-free and compete in doing what I love."
After running only a handful of track events as a sophomore or junior -- his sole presence on the 2012 Daily Herald "honor roll" was a single 800 time of 2:04 -- Mimlitz finally returned to form. Last fall he helped York win another cross country title and earned his first all-state honor as the 24th overall finisher. In track he's enjoyed a healthy indoor and outdoor season.
Working through what he called "like a giant piece of my being just gone," Mimlitz learned about his body. He'll continue to learn at Belmont University. He plans to be a physical therapist, specializing in running injuries.
"It was hard to be normal, missing a whole part of you," the polite senior said. "But going through the whole process, facing all this adversity, it taught me, one, how to deal with it; and two, how to eventually overcome it. That's going to help me later in my life and it's already helped me since being back.
"As much as it really stunk not to be able to run, I did learn a lot about myself in the process, and a lot about life."
Hinsdale South senior Tavaris Binion realizes it will be extremely difficult to repeat as the Class 3A 100-meter dash winner.
Lake Park's Scott Filip, who won the 100 at the Bud Mohns meet, seemed disappointed Binion didn't provide a bigger challenge. The Hornets senior got a poor start out of his blocks; he's moved them closer to the line "to get a better advantage," he said, and is still adjusting.
"In order to compete, I've just got to continue to work hard," said Binion, whose championship time last year was 10.53 seconds.
"I do know that I'm a marked man this year," he said. "Adversity comes. You've got to overcome it. Some people choose to leave it at that, but I know that this is just part of me winning another state title. It's not going to be easy. Preparation is key, keeping my body prepared, and I'm looking forward to the challenges."