Scouting boys track and field / Northwest and Lake County
The unique blend of veteran and first time state qualifiers will mark the start of the 108th boys track and field state championships at Eastern Illinois and the newly renovated O'Brien Field in Charleston this weekend.
The Class 2A preliminary session will start at 9 a.m. Friday, with the Class 3A session slated to begin at noon. Championship heats in the field and running events are Saturday and will start at 10 am.
Here is a breakdown of local qualifiers in each event for this weekend:
3,200 relay qualifiers: Barrington (7:50.86); Stevenson (7:51.02); Hersey (7:51.41); Palatine (7:55.89); Lake Zurich (7:56.98); Fremd (7:59.32); Prospect (8:00.18); St. Viator (8:14.10) 2A
It's only fitting that the signature event of this meet is also the first event. Area teams have done very well with Prospect winning a title in 2004 and Barrington running to a runner-up finish in 2011. Barrington has the fastest time out of the sectional and Stevenson brings a relay featuring freshman standout Jared Borowsky. Keep an eye on distance-savvy Palatine. Viator will face in 2A led by Tyler Sammons.
400 relay: Grayslake Central (42.93) 2A; Schaumburg (43.01); Grant (43.15); Lakes (43.68) 2A
Making its fourth straight appearance to the state meet are the Rams and they stand an excellent shot at a spot in the Class 2A finals led by Davonta Jennings and Jourden Swopes. Lakes will also race in 2A with Corey Hertz and Shaun Beutlich leading the way. A healthy foursome from Schaumburg could land the Saxons in the 3A finals. Grant will also race in this event Friday.
3,200 run: Zach Dale, Conant (9:18.71); Steven Salvano, Buffalo Grove (9:19.99); Alex Milner, Lake Zurich (9:22.71); Andrew Philipose, Hersey (9:23.25); Ryan Burgoon, Barrington (9:27.75); Evan Prizy, Schaumburg (9:29.46); Nick Brey, St. Viator (9:42.43) 2A; Kyle Whitney, Vernon Hills (9:43.88) 2A; Kevin Boyle, Grayslake Central (9:46.99) 2A
This event is all about who will catch St. Ignatius senior and Stanford-bound Jack Keelan. Keelan has one of the 3 fastest marks in the country in this event outdoors, but a host of young area runners and a veteran will give chase. Dale, one of the youngest runners in the field will give chase along with juniors Philipose and Salvano. Burgoon, Prizy and Milner are all state met returnees. Brey, Whitney and Boyle are all first-timers in 2A.
110 hurdles: Dave Kendziera, Propsect (14.27); Matt Konopka, Fremd (14.74); Cam Kuksa, Palatine (14.94); Scott Eilrich, Conant (15.03); Jonathan Wells, Grant (15.07); Rodolphe Boyer, Lakes (15.17) 2A
Kendziera has been among the best in the state all year long and enters as the second fastest out of the sectionals. Konopka continues to come on as a sectional champion, with an ever-improving Kuksa right on his heels. Eilrich is another in a long line of great hurdlers for the Cougars as is Wells who hopes to medal just like his brother Sean did last year. Boyer continues to get better and will be a factor in 2A.
100 dash: Titus Booker, Grayslake North (10.83); Shaun Beutlich, Lakes (10.97) 2A; Ben Klett, Lake Zurich (10.99); Davonta Jennings, Grayslake Central (11.02) 2A; Shandall Thomas, Schaumburg (11.05)
A healthy dose of youth will be served from the area to determine the fastest man in the state. Booker's star is on the rise as the sophomore followed up a great conference meet with a sectional title. Klett gets better and better and is only a freshman and Thomas surprised at his sectional with a qualifying effort. Beutlich and Jennings will be right in the mix in the 2A session with Beutlich a top 8 seed.
800 run: Alex Gasca, Maine West (1:54.99); Bryce Richards, Mundelein (1:55.33); Jack Hutchinson, Conant (1:55.63); Nick Bernardo (Buffalo Grove (1:55.65); Richard Leon, Maine West (1:56.57); Kyle Hatton, Grant (1:58.44); Ryan Prais, Lakes (1:59.29); Tyler Sammons, St. Viator (2:01.25)
The 1-2 combination of Warrior seniors Gasca and Leon put on quite a show at the Niles West sectional last week and will be searching for the Warriors first individual medal since 2006. Richards continues to star and should be fun to watch in his first state meet. Bernardo and Hatton race at state for the first time. Prais is a 2A veteran and Sammons will run at his first state meet.
800 relay: Lakes (1:28.68) 2A; Barrington (1:29.04); Schaumburg (1:29.13); Fremd (1:29.37); Grayslake Central (1:30.15) 2A
Lakes provided an eye-popping performance at sectionals and is the second fastest in 2A and the fourth fastest in the state so far this spring. The Eagles goal of winning a state trophy can be aided by a great race here. Central medaled at state in this event last year and is a top 8 seed. Barrington led by sophomore standout Scotty Miller and junior Parker Deloye will be a factor in 3A as will Fremd and Schaumburg who has a healthy Juwaan Richard back.
400 dash: Paul Ifianayi, Elk Grove (49.06); Alex Shulga, Grayslake North (49.30); Trevor Ray, Lakes (49.28) 2A; Leroy Chapman, Antioch (50.32) 2A; Konrad Eiring, Barrington (50.38)
As a freshman Ifianayi sent notice. As a sophomore, he looks to bring home the first individual title at Elk Grove since 1985. Shulga will be a huge factor as he has been step-for-step with Ifianayi this year. Ray and Chapman will continue their rivalry in 2A with Ray being a returning medalist.
300 hurdles: Dave Kendziera, Prospect (37.52); Matt Konopka, Fremd (38.88); Max Roberts, Libertyville (39.38); Joshua Yamamoto, Fremd (39.66); Chris Bednarski, Wauconda (40.48) 2A
"Super Dave" -- Kendziera, that is, has been, well, super all season and has held the top spot in Illinois all year. The pack to catch him is led by the Fremd duo of Yamamoto and Konopka who will both be seeking their first medals. Roberts is a talented sophomore in his second trip to state. Bednarski is a returning qualifier for the Bulldogs.
1,600 run: Martin Martinez, Warren (4:18.12); Graham Brown, Palatine (4:19.17); Christian Zambrano, Palatine (4:19.32); Joe Sulentic, Conant (4:19.42); Harry Winter, Fremd (4:19.97); Bryce Richards, Mundelein (4:20.63); Quentin Shaffer, Prospect (4:20.76); Jared Borowsky, Stevenson (4:21.73); Ben Mohrdieck, Vernon Hills (4:23.95) 2A
The most well-represented race at the state meet from the area is always the mile, and it's no different this year. Martinez gambled that he could race a fresh mile fast and he did as the third overall seed. Palatine has two reps looking for medals and Sulentic and Winter round out a strong MSL cast. Richards and Borowsky will face first their first miles at state as will Mohrdieck in the 2A session as a high seed.
200 dash: Gabe Cotton, Vernon Hills (22.14) 2A; Scotty Miller, Barrington (22.19); Octavian Wells, Grant (22.24); Juwaan Richard, Schaumburg (22.40); Corey Hertz, Lakes (22.41) 2A
Cotton is experienced and is in great position in his second trip to state to earn a 2A finals spot. Miller has been among the fastest in the state in the 200 and with fresh legs stands a great chance for finals in his first state meet. Richard is healthy again and Wells is another great Wells sprinter at Grant. Look for Hertz to make an impact in 2A.
1600 relay: Barrington (3:23.98); Fremd (3:24.58); Lakes (3:24.81) 2A; Antioch (3:27.81) 2A
Preview -- Local teams have work to do for a finals berth here. Barrington led by Eiring and senior David Cerney look to go faster with fresh runners. Lakes chances of a state trophy will be boosted by a great relay led by Ray.
Shot put: Matsen Dziedzic, Libertyville (59-8); Brandon Lombardino, Grant (56-0); Pat Costello, Prospect (55-0); Brad Wasilewski, Grant (53-10.5); Jordan Fobbe, Stevenson (53-8); Ty Summers, Lakes (53-0.5) 2A; Jacob Craft, Antioch (51-2.5) 2A
Lombardino is the state indoor champ, Dziedzic, the highest returning medalist from last year. They've met twice and the final meeting should be the best yet. Both have been well over 60 this spring. Costello, Wasilewski and Fobbe are all first-timers that are hot at the right time. Summers looks to make it two straight finals spots. Craft is a first timer.
Discus: Brandon Lombardino. Grant (201-6); Matsen Dziedzic, Libertyville (174-10); Ed Beyer, Hersey (168-6); Michael Dolan, Stevenson (163-0); Tim Leuver, Rolling Meadows (157-7); Jordan Fobbe, Stevenson (155-3); Luis Echevarria, Grant (155-0); Alan Taylor, Antioch (144-4) 2A
The Arkansas State-bound Lombardino is the prohibitive favorite as he is one of only five throwers in state history to eclipse 200 feet. Beyer continues a long history of success for the Hersey discus men and Dolan returns for a second straight year. Dziedzic is eyeing a nearly 40-year-old school record. Fobbe, Leuver, Echevarria, and Taylor are all first timers.
Long jump: Kiwhan Kim, Stevenson (22-10.5); Stacey Smith, Schaumburg (22-1); Devyn Cedzidlo, Lakes (21-5.25) 2A; Chris Bednarski, Wauconda (21-0) 2A
Kim set a school record for Stevenson last week and in his third state meet -- but first time in this event. Smith has gotten better and better as the season has gone along and busted over 22-feet for the first time last week. Cedzidlo is an exciting freshman for Lakes in 2A and Bednarski was over 21-feet for the first time.
Triple jump: Stacey Smith, Schaumburg (46-4); Cam Kuksa, Palatine (45-4); Jourden Swopes, Grayslake Central (44-5.25) 2A; Caleb Arnwine, Lakes (42-5) 2A
Smith was hot last weekend in the sectional with a personal best 46-4. Kuksa also hit a personal best and both look primed for medal contention in what is always the most competitive field event at this meet. Swopes and Arnwine should be in the mix in 2A.
High jump: Jonathan Wells, Grant (6-9); Noah Agnew, Vernon Hills (6-8); Parker Deloye, Barrington (6-5); Adam Poklop, Palatine (6-5); Troy Swindle, Lakes (6-5) 2A; Dylan Toole, Grayslake North (6-5); Kevin Winberg, Fremd (6-5); Tyler Facey, Antioch (6-3) 2A; Max Savinkov, Lakes (6-3) 2A
Wells, Deloye and Swindle all have been over this bar before with Wells a medalist from 2012. Agnew is a fascinating freshman who was a state champ in 8th grade in this event. Toole is a first year jumper but has been over 6-7. This should be the best event among the field events.
Pole vault: Oleg Babin, Vernon Hills (13-3) 2A; Nick Foley, Vernon Hills (13-3) 2A; Pawel Klimek, Fremd (12-9); Tom Mayer, Fremd (12-9)
All four competitors are first timers at state. Babin has been over 14 feet this year and all other vaulters have easily cleared 13 which should make for a good charge to finals.
-- Jeff Newton