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updated: 4/23/2013 9:36 PM

Rain takes its toll on St. Francis' Marren

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It was good weather for ducks, as they say, but not for Brendan Marren.

The St. Francis senior sprinter pulled a hamstring slightly in the 100-meter dash at Tuesday's dual meet at Aurora Central Catholic. Like the rest of the athletes who competed in steady rain, he'll persevere.

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"I should only be out a couple days, just kind of take it easy," said Marren, a senior. "I warmed up and everything. I just ran funny and it got strained a little, I guess."

Last season St. Francis' numbers had been strained. Now the roster has nearly doubled. Tuesday the haul included junior Nick Villimek -- who endured the 3,200 relay, 800, 1,600 and 1,600 relay -- freshman Mike Rueth and Marren's kid brothers, Brian and Liam.

Some of these runners and others such as Dan Reczek and Zack Bess are angling for a slot on the Spartans' 1,600 relay with an eye toward downstate qualification.

"That's probably our best chance," Brendan Marren said.

For it to happen, St. Francis will need a junior who came into Aurora Central already banged up. A touchy shin shelved Matt Lorish Tuesday and at the April 20 Walther Lutheran Invite, where the Spartans' 1,600 relay trailed only an Aurora Central squad that returns Connor Robinson, Juan Arroyo and Joe Fese from a state-qualifying foursome.

"If we can get me back in there and maybe get some guys fighting for the spots, drop some more time too, I think we could have a good race going," Lorish said.

St. Francis coach Scott Nelson was working elsewhere with the Spartans girls, but assistant Christy Adduci liked what she saw.

"On a day like this it's really tough to get a (personal record), but the competitive attitudes that they took to the course and the seriousness that they took the races with is what you want to see," she said.

Aurora Central Catholic senior Zack Flint took Tuesday's action serious enough that once St. Francis and most of Flint's teammates left the premises he returned to the track for more training.

"Not to give up," he said. "That's what I keep in my head."

Flint can run anything from the 100 to the 800 -- shoulder to shoulder with teammate Cody Ekstrom with 200 meters left, Flint turned it on. His versatility appeals to college coaches from, among others, Illinois State, Chicago State, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Lewis University.

He's somewhat late to the recruiting game, said Chargers coach Troy Kerber, because Flint has arrived late to the indoor season after enjoying playoff basketball success.

"I don't really want basketball to end," said Flint, who ran on three state-qualifying relays last season including ACC's fourth-place 3,200 relay, "but if I go to a small school I'll try to walk on for basketball. But my main focus is track."

Flint probably couldn't do both at Illinois State. Nonetheless, he and the anchor of that all-state 3,200 relay, Matt Meyers, will visit there Sunday.

In addition to numerous training runs, Meyers' actual competition Tuesday was limited to an open 3,200 he ran in 10:10.

That's not really his event. His goals include returning to the 3,200 relay with Flint and candidates such as Javier Montelongo or Matt Knapp, and look to the 800, the 1,600, maybe even the 1,600 relay.

"There's only 23 minutes to recuperate," Meyers said of the 800-1,600 combo. "After running five, six meets you kind of get used to it -- but you never get used to it."

As a junior Meyers was just two slots from qualifying for the 1,600 finals at 4:28.76. His best this year outdoors is 4:39.28 at Walther Lutheran. Stronger and better conditioned, Meyers is poised to outlast cold and rain.

"I keep realizing the times will come when the weather gets here," he said.

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