Full circle for Bianchina, Geneva at Hoffman Estates
Senior Mike Bianchina served as an alternate runner for Geneva when it won its last boys track and field sectional title in 2010.
Three years later in the Hoffman Estates Class 3A sectional, Bianchina helped the Vikings to their second title in four years.
Despite finishing tied for sixth out of 14 teams at the Upstate Conference tourney last week, Geneva rose to the occasion on Friday night and scored 103 points to top runner-up Schaumburg (88) and St. Charles North (80).
"I always thought about it (going out with a sectional title after being part of one as a freshman)," Bianchina said. "This was a great night for the entire team."
It was a great story for Bianchina, who broke his leg while coming out of the final turn for the 1600-meter run a year ago in the St. Charles North sectional.
He won the same race Friday with a time of 4:25.58 over junior Chris Orlow of Batavia (4:27:25).
"That was great," said Bianchina, who is committed to run for Bradley University. "It's been a goal since my freshman year to win something in either cross country or track and field.
"The 4 x 800 really pumped me up because we got second there. I was a little tired after that but my legs loosened up and I got a little juice going."
Bianchina's 4 x 800 relay team of Nathan Wendt, Jordan Midgley and Blaine Bartel was second to Bartlett.
Other state qualifying individuals for Geneva were Tim Roels (first in 200-meter and second in 100-meter), Tim Guthrie (first in pole vault), Kyle McNeil (first in discus) and Dan Acton (third in the pole vault).
Geneva coach Gale Gross was pleasantly surprised his team took home the first-place plaque.
"I didn't think we had the depth this year," said Gross, who is in his eighth season as the head coach and 23rd in the program. "We're very young in a way with a lot of underclassmen. We qualified far more than I ever thought we would. I knew we had an outside chance. In eight events we were seeded in the top three. We end up qualifying in seven. That is an amazing percentage."
Roels will be making his first appearance in the state finals, winning the 200-meter and taking second in the 100-meter. Last season, he ran in the 4x400 and 4x200.
"I happy going down for both races," he said. "I love them both and that's why I do track. I feel a lot stronger this year and I'm quicker coming out of the blocks. That's really helped in the shorter distances."
St. Charles North qualifiers were Zach Kirby (second in the 400-meter), Jack Feeney, Kirby, Connor Larson and Tyler Ingham (second in the 4x400), Erik Miller (first in high jump), Kaleb Kirby (second in pole vault), Mason Heinz (second in the 300-meter hurdles and 110-meter hurdles), Feeney, Kirby, Larson and Josh Phelan) in the 4x100, and Feeney. Loess, Larson and Phelan (first in the 4x200).
Miller's high jump of 6-7 was a personal best.
"I knew I had the height for 6-7 all season," said Miller, who was also the North Stars' quarterback and guard in basketball. "I've just been working on form."
Miller had shoulder surgery last year. "So to come back from that was huge," he said.
St. Charles North third-year coach Don Spencer is leaving the post to become an assistant track and field coach next year at Burlington Central, where his daughter will be a sophomore.
Qualifiers for Batavia were Orlow (second in the 1600-meter run), Sebastian Vermaas (second in the discus), R.J. Viereckl (third in the pole vault), Clayton Siemsen (first in 110-meter hurdles) and the third place 4x800 meter relay team of David Morrison, Jorden Berendt, Ryan Wieties and David Curnock.
Marmion Academy's Jake Ruddy won the long jump at 22-04. The senior broke both of his wrists a while back and hadn't returned to the track until three weeks ago. He only began jumping this week in practice.
"It wasn't too bad running," said the senior who also played cornerback and running back for the football team a was guard in basketball. "I just had some trouble with the blocks. I was a little nervous with the jumps, but I felt good today."
Also qualifying for Marmion was Kevin Grahovec, who won the 800-meter run in 1:54.94, and Tyler Maryanski, who was second in the high jump at 6-03.
St. Charles East's Mike Hockett won the shot put with a toss of 49-01 teammate Matt Allen came home first in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (40.54).
Hockett, a state qualifier for the first time, had a career best shot put distance of 49.07 three weeks ago.
"This was a goal all season," said Hockett who plans to study law enforcement. "I been in the weight room since last season and it pair off."
Allen, who will attend Iowa State, never thought he could qualify after finishing sixth a year ago.
"I never stop surprising myself," said Allan, a wide receiver for the football team. "When we got into the last stretch of the race I was saying 'where is everyone?' It's just been a lot of running and conditioning. A lot of hard work."
Qualifiers for Bartlett included the first-place 4x800 meter relay, Dan Cotton (second in the 3200-meter run), Alex Bailey (first in the 110-meter hurles), Connor Rachford (second in the 800-meter run) and Brandon Smith (first in the 400-meter dash).
Making up the 4x800 meter relay team were Rachford, Matt Hess, Mitch Sullivan and Smith.
"We came out and were all able to run smart races," Hess said. "And we didn't get boxed it."
"This was out first true competition so it's really exciting," Rachford said. "We did some great things but there are still things we want to work on."
Smith, who came flying late to win the 400-meter dash, has always been a relay runner.
"At the start I was toward the back," he said. "I like to try to move up and take it at the end."
"Brandon is not a quick starter because he is more of a middle distance runner," said Bartlett coach Eric Kramer. "The last 150 is when he gets into a race."
Also qualifying was Larkin's first-place 4x400 relay team (3:22.56) which consisted of Luis Sabias, Dante Bonds, Ernesto Garcia and Jarelle Shipp.
Other individual qualifiers were Dundee-Crown's Raymond Griggel (second in the shot put) and South Elgin's Kyle Kumerow (second in the triple jump).
In taking second place in the team standings, Schaumburg received first-place performances from junior Stacey Smith (46-04) in the triple jump, sophomore Shandell Thomas (11:05) in the 100-meter dash and senior Evan Prizy (9:29.46) in the 3200-meter run.
Prizy, who plans on running at Alabama, found himself on or near the lead from start to finish in the 3200-meter.
"I don't always like to be on lead," said Prizy, who was fourth in the Mid-Suburban League meet and also qualified for state as a sophomore. "I feel my splits are more even when I'm more in the mid-pack."
Smith also took second in the long jump (22-01) while teammate Juwann Richard was second in the 200-meter dash.
Also qualifying for the Saxons were Jan Dimaano, Jarman Mcmillon, Richard and Smith of the 4x200 meter relay team and Dimaano, Thomas, Smith and Tom Ciupka of the 4x100 meter relay team. Both relays were second.
This article filed under
- Carol Stream
- East Dundee
- Hanover Park
- Hoffman Estates
- Sleepy Hollow
- South Elgin
- St. Charles
- West Dundee
- Bartlett High School
- Batavia High School
- Dundee-Crown High School
- Elgin High School
- Geneva High School
- Hoffman Estates High School
- Larkin High School
- Marmion Academy
- Schaumburg High School
- South Elgin High School
- St. Charles East High School
- St. Charles North High School
- Track and Field
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