Kevin Rafferty's Warriors might not have won Saturday's Red Ribbon Classic, but the Waubonsie Valley boys track coach was still beaming after the meet.
After last year's meet was snowed out, the sun was shining Saturday and a number of Warriors had great efforts. On top of that, meet newcomers Minooka and Hoffman Estates joined the already tough field to keep the event's competitive level high.
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Minooka actually topped the 12-team field with 159 points after claiming all four relay titles to hold off runner-up Neuqua Valley (127).
"It was great to pick up Hoffman Estates and to pick up Minooka," Rafferty said. "We want to keep this meet at this level, and there were great performances up and down the board. All you want is to give kids a shot to compete, and boy, were they good today."
The competition was strong and friendly in the throws, where Waubonsie Valley all-stater Riley Kittridge beat Neuqua's Carlos Varela in the shot put, and then the two reversed places in the discus.
Kittridge, seventh at state last spring in the shot, recorded a 58-7 in the shot before Varela edged him 162-11 to 158-0 in the discus.
"It's all coming together," said Kittridge, who set a school record with a 59-11 at the indoor state meet. "My goal is 63 and I want to win state. It's realistic. I think 63 will be a competitive throw down there."
Waubonsie also received a first and a second from jumper James Travis, who won the triple jump at 43-0 and took second in the long jump at 20-3.5. The Warriors were second in the 1,600 relay and the 400 relay and had a great race going in the 800 relay before a dropped baton.
For Neuqua, Adam Peterson won the pole vault at 13-3, Tim Heinz won the high jump at 6-5 and freshman Connor Horn won the 1,600 in 4:26.65, all joining Varela in helping the Wildcats take second overall.
"We did great in the field events but we also had some solid relay runs and Connor won the mile," Wildcats coach Mike Kennedy said. "There are only a few meets left and we finally had a nice day. We really had a great showing today."
Waubonsie Valley finished fourth in the team standings at 74.5 points, with Wheaton Warrenville South sixth, St. Charles North seventh and Metea Valley 11th.
The Tigers' lone victory came in the 3,200 where Nolan McKenna ran a 9:43.97, while Daniel Weiss and Mike Whaley finished 2-3, respectively, for Neuqua.
While not close to his best time of 9:18, McKenna was happy to top the field.
"It wasn't my best," said McKenna, a state qualifier last year as a sophomore. "This was our first week of speed training and I was pretty spent. And then we had standardized tests this week so it was kind of a stressful week of school. I was disappointed (with the time), but it was still a good race."
Wheaton Warrenville South's Andrew Martz added a second in the 800 to Oswego East's Rene Salinas.