It was like the old bait-and-switch, only with a happy ending.
Between a timing system malfunction and not running one of the eight fastest preliminary times, Willowbrook’s Matt Burns didn’t figure he’d made the 200-meter finals at the 77th DuPage County boys track meet at York.
So the Warriors junior instead focused on his 400. He won that in 49.94 seconds, outpacing Wheaton North’s Micaiah Steele on a cold Friday night.
Burns said missing the 200 final “was almost a good thing.” Then he found out two runners had dropped out and he was back in.
Then it became a great thing. Burns won his second sprint of the night in 22.80 seconds, over York’s Emmett McCoy and Glenbard South’s Jarius Shannon.
“My coaches had told me I didn’t make it, they said just focus on the 400 — ‘Don’t worry, you’ve got next week for the 200.’” Burns said.
“A couple minutes after (the 400) they said, ‘Hey, you’re in the 200 finals.’ It was bittersweet because I was tired, but I want to keep running, see what I can do.”
Bugs in the timing system caused two abbreviated starts to his 200-meter preliminary.
“They’d asked me if I wanted to drop out of it,” Burns said. “I just thought, I’ve run it twice, why not run it a third time?”
Burns was not alone among double winners. Lake Park’s Shawn Koch captured long jump at 21 feet, 4 inches, and triple jump at 45-11½. Koch needed most of those extra inches because Waubonsie Valley’s James Travis went 20-8 in long, 45-6 in triple.
Naperville Central’s Michael Jopes claimed both the 110 and 300 hurdles races, each ahead of York’s Jarvis Grace-Hill.
“Outstanding, I love this all,” Jopes said. “I could not believe this is happening.”
Another Redhawk had reason to love all. Ethan Brodeur felt last week’s 1,600-meter race at Prospect “got away from him.” He made up for it Friday in the 3,200, finishing nearly 13 seconds ahead of York’s Scott Milling to record a time of 9:20.73 seconds.
“This is my first time being at York High School and it’s an amazing atmosphere here,” said Brodeur, headed to Washington University in St. Louis. “You can kind of feel that a lot of special things have been done on this track. So to be part of that, it’s special.”
Brodeur also ran on a winning 1,600-meter relay, and Willowbrook got another champion with Matt McNamara in discus, but at the end of the long meet York stood tallest with 115 points. Defending County champ Wheaton North (97) and Lake Park (93) followed, the former having superstar Zach Gordon only anchor a winning 400 relay, the latter team resting Lancers superstar Scott Filip entirely.
York coach Stan Reddel got a win in high jump from Reid Smith, but perhaps the Dukes’ highlight was sophomore Matt Plowman pulling past Wheaton Warrenville South’s Nolan McKenna to win the 1,600, York’s Chris May taking third.
“I didn’t think we’d get the whole thing in,” said Reddel, ready to pull the plug if it started to pour. “We got it in and now if we ever get a really, really nice day everybody’s going to see their times drop.”
Waubonsie’s Tony Durns dropped a time of 11.42 seconds to earn the title of fastest man at the meet. He said he’s mainly been working relays with his teammates, but this was a nice change of pace.
“I was going in today just to get an event,” said the sophomore, “keep my legs fresh and rough.”Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.