Burlington Central's boys' track and field team has a tendency to do well in big-meet settings and coach Mike Schmidt likes where his group is headed going into the final third of the outdoor season.
His optimism stems from a series of strong individual performances. Sophomore Lucas Ege has turned in a 15.14 in the 110 hurdles and a 40.44 in the 300 hurdles. He was a double winner at Batavia, Geneva and Kaneland's tough Peterson meet.
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"Lucas has established himself as one of the best hurdlers in the area," said Schmidt.
Senior Ryan Olsen won the 400 at Geneva and Kaneland. His 50.27 time was just 0.08 off Clay Kliem's 2007 school record of 50.19. "Ryan has been sensational in the sprints, but has really impressed in the 400," said Schmidt.
Sophomore Clay Musial has set personal bests in the 3,200 (10:08) and 1,600 (4:43). Josh Schwarting is Central's top 1,600 runner at 4:38, while junior Nolan St. John has gone 13-6 in the pole vault and 6-0 in the high jump. Freshman Jason Berango had personal varsity bests of 11.0 (manual time) in the 100, 20-9 in the long jump and 40-4 in the triple jump.
The Rockets are without top 800 runner and 2012 state-champion relay contributor Matt O'Connor, who is sidelined with a stress fracture.
"That has hurt the team's middle distance chances," said Schmidt.
Casey Matthews, Alex Johnson and Trevor Davison have combined with Olsen and Berango for some strong sprint relay times.
Central will host the Kane County meet for the first time on Friday.
South Elgin update: The Storm is making positive strides as the calendar continues to tick toward the postseason.
Dan Boice won the 100 at the U-46 meet with an 11.0 time. Matt Stover ran 10:34 in the 3,200 at the Bartlett invitational -- a 10-second personal record. Jose Gonzalez ran 2:06 at Bartlett, a PR by 5 seconds. Jeff Broger is coming off a sixth-place indoor performance at the state meet in Normal.
Coach Anthony LaRue also has been pleased with the 400 relay team of Will King, Shawn Griffin, Broger and Boice.
"The guys look to compete," said LaRue. "We are just getting into our prime shape right now. Our times are dropping and we're looking to hit our best marks in the championship season."
Kyle Kumerow and Shawn Griffin have been key point-scorers for the Storm.
"Kyle and Shawn have been huge this year and have really stepped up their level of performance," said LaRue.
LaRue is seeing improvements in the field events where jumps and vault coach Tony Meier is "getting the best out of our field athletes," said LaRue.
Crystal Lake South update: The Gators finished fourth at the McHenry County meet and were sixth at the Buffalo Grove invitational.
The Gators are seeing big returns from a number of relays. The 3,200 relay team of Duncan Henderson, Drew Kopfman, Ian Meador and David Lenzini placed second at county (8:06.58). The 1,600 relay team of Kyle Radosevich, Kopfman, Kyle Madoni and Brandon Madoni was third at county (3:30.63).
The 400 relay team placed second at county (45.39) with a crew of Zach Balousek, Kyle Madoni, Chris Ivers and Brandon Madoni. The 800 relay team was second as well at county with Balousek, Zach Gettes, Ivers and Brandon Madoni.
"All four relays have performed very well," said South coach Rich Eshmann.
Sophomore Kyle Hedge was third in the shot at county (51-6 ½) and fifth in the discus (134-0).
Henderson placed fourth in the mile at county (4:30.94), while Meador ran 4:31.81 in the mile at county. Lenzini has run 1:59.20 in the 800, but hurt his hamstring and did not run at county after the 3,200 relay. Balousek ran 11.55 in the 100 at county and placed fourth. Henderson and Meador both achieved personal bests in the mile at county.
Eschman is pleased with Henderson's efforts in the 1,600 run and the 3,200 relay and noted Balousek and Brandon Madoni have been versatile in running the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.
Eschman said the team is young in the field events, but showing "very good" improvement there. He added the team will miss Lenzini while he is sidelined.
"We need to stay as a team and try and make some of the relays stronger," said Eschman. "We need to get David back and healthy. Everyone else needs to stay healthy and improve while Dave is out."
Hampshire update: While numbers are down on the varsity at Hampshire, coach Joe Watzlawick is seeing some individual successes.
Senior Ross Seaton has set new school records in the 1,600 (4:40) and 3,200 (10:03) runs. Senior Alex Pagan has run 53.3 in the 400 this spring.
"I like our seniors who have showed the younger guys the ropes," said Watzlawick. "We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores so the future looks bright. Everybody seems to improve every meet. Those little improvements will add up."
Bartlett update: Earlier in the month, the Hawks hosted their own Flyin' Hawk invitational and took second.
Bartlett's 3,200 relay of Brandon Smith, Matt Hess, Mitch Sullivan and Connor Rachford has run 8:16.02 and has won two invitational titles thus far. Senior Alex Bailey has gone 15.28 in the 110 high hurdles. Sophomore Bryce Petty has run 13.47 in the 200 and junior Dan Cotton ran 4:36 in the 1,600. Freshman A.J. Santori has scored at the varsity level in the 300 hurdles and is making a positive impact in the sprint relays.
"I like our depth," said Bartlett coach Eric Kramer. "We have the capability of scoring in any event on the track. This is something we are not accustomed to in the past years."
Kramer has seen improvements from his throwing contingent. "Our throwers are starting to put their techniques together and we are expecting big throws from them this weekend (at Glenbard West)," he said.
Westminster Christian update: Senior Tim Rodgers is making an impact in his first season with the squad. Rodgers, who had played baseball, basketball and soccer at the school, has raced in events from the 100 to the 1,600 looking for his best event.
"Although he had strong performances at each distance, he has found a fit in the 1,600," said Westminster coach Ron Froeschke.
Rodgers ran 4:59.30 in the 1,600 at Luther North earlier this year to set a new school record.
"With Tim's focus and work ethic, I would look for him to make a great run for state qualification," said Froeschke.
Dundee-Crown update: The Chargers were 10th recently at the Kaneland Petersen Prep event and split a FVC triangular with Jacobs and Woodstock North earlier this week.
Sophomore Austin White has run 11.37 in the 100 and 22.47 in the 200. He also is the anchor on the 400 and 800 relays. Those teams also include Sean Battin, Tavares Fowler and Sam Frankowiak. The 400 team has run 44.4 and the 800 has gone 1:33.1.
"Our sprint relays are running well and leading us," said D-C coach Tom Smith. "They are anchored by Austin, who has been running some great times. They are led off by Sean, who always puts us in a good position and the two new guys filling in the middle legs (Fowler and Frankowiak) are running much better than most new guys do."
Senior RJ Schmidt has clocked in at 15.94 in the 110 hurdles and 43.5 in the 300 hurdles, while also jumping 40-4 in the triple jump.
Senior Joe Meixner has a discus throw of 137-0 and a 44-6 shot-put effort. Sophomore Kiwaun Seals has gone 40-1 in the triple jump and 20-0 in the long jump. Smith also cited Tommy Halverson for improvements and strong leadership skills.
"Our jumpers and throwers are really coming on right now," said Smith. "RJ in the triple jump and hurdles has been a consistent scorer for us and is on the verge of new marks for him. Joe is very consistent right now in the shot put and discus and could be a difference-maker by the end of the year. Kiwaun has been our best long and triple jumper."
Smith said the team continues to work toward achieving more personal records.
"This team is very coachable," said Smith. "They listen, support each other, all want to get better, they compete and they enjoy being part of the team."
Larkin update: A highlight for Larkin has been the development of its relay teams. "We're continuing what we hope is an upward trend," said coach Nate Williams. "On the strength of a couple seniors and a solid junior foundation, we've managed to build several strong relay teams."
Luis Subias (400 indoor state qualifier and a senior co-captain), Ernesto Garcia (800, senior co-captain) and Jarelle Shipp have emerged as the team's go-to athletes. Subias, Garcia, Shipp and Dante Bonds are part of a 1,600 relay team that has run a sub-3:30 this spring.
"Jarelle is our lead sprinter and has a bright future in the 200 and 400 ahead of him," said Williams. "He's joined by Dante, Keiren McKenzie and Aaron Campbell on our 800 and 400 relay teams."
Sophomore Alejandro Arreguin is a promising thrower. "He has real potential to be a force," said Williams.
Cary-Grove update: The Trojans have been without 400 runners Michael Gleeson, who was eighth in the state last year, and Alex Bussan.
"That takes a lot of points off the track," said Cary-Grove coach Layne Holter, who thinks both will be back at week's end. "It's a goal and a key focus to get these guys healthy. By conference we will be a different team."
Holter likes the way his team has fought through less than ideal meet and practice conditions this spring.
"We've had less than ideal track weather," he said. "These guys have a great attitude. They are hungry and eager. We have the talent and a nice nucleus of 400 guys."
Sophomore Ricky Hurley has been a force in the throws this season. He won the county shot-put title and was second in the discus. Sophomore Daniel Speer has been a leader among a group of sophomore runners. Freshman Robbie Gleeson and senior Daniel Sikora also have been improving as well.
"Daniel is a distance guy who works very hard," said Holter. "His times are starting to come down and he's showing improvement. He will have a rewarding season."
Cary-Grove will host the Fox Valley Conference meet May 10.
Huntley update: Senior thrower Justin Herbert won the McHenry County title in the discus with a 163 throw. Red Raiders coach Jim Rolando noted it was the second or third time Herbert has thrown above the outdoor state-qualifying standard this spring. He's also increased his shot put throw 5 or 6 feet. Herbert was second in the county in that event.
"He's worked hard in the off-season," said Rolando of Herbert. "He's done really well this year."
Rolando stressed improvements on the team level have come because of so many different key contributors on the roster.
"We have a lot of seniors on the track who run the (400), (800) and (1,600) relays or run the 400 and the 800," he said. "They are contributing anywhere from the 100 to the 800. I'm really happy with our seniors. I expected them to be in some of these positions."
Rolando noted the contingent of freshmen and sophomores in the program has provided a nice jolt. That group has established seven or eight frosh-soph program records and contributed to a key amount of varsity points at the county meet.
"We've been able to get a lot of different kids involved," said Rolando. "It's paid off. These guys are comfortable being at big meets. We don't have just one guy that stands out. We have a team full of contributors."