CHARLESTON -- Winning. It's all Lake Park's seniors have known.
On a rainy Saturday befitting this boys track season Lake Park went out on top again, joining Bloom, East St. Louis Lincoln, East St. Louis and Thornwood as the only teams to win four straight titles.
"It's something to be able to say you're a part of that kind of history. It speaks a lot to the kids and the coaches they've worked with," said Lancers coach Jay Ivory.
"A few people have already started asking about number five, but let's let us celebrate this one a little bit."
Capping the 119th IHSA boys track finals with megapoints in Eastern Illinois University's Lantz Fieldhouse where pole vault and high jump were moved due to rain, the Lancers' 63 points nearly doubled the take of runner-up Providence Catholic (33) in Class 3A. Naperville Central and Downers Grove South tied for 11th place.
Senior Shawn Koch's triple jump of 48 feet, 4¼ inches was Lake Park's sole win, but it scored in all 11 events advanced from Friday's preliminaries. The Lancers double-scored in triple jump with Koch and junior Marcus Jegede, long jump with Jegede and senior Scott Filip and in pole vault with seniors Tim Ehrhardt and Derrick Smith, the latter reaping a 9-inch personal best of 16 feet to place second.
"We're looking for more of a team goal than necessarily our individual," said Koch, joining Jegede near the awards podium. "It's sweet to have a victory, but we're just trying to help the team with points at this point."
The Lancers enjoyed a charmed life when they dropped the baton in the 400-meter relay and still earned 3 points. Sophomore Antonio Shenault ran a spirit-rekindling third-place 110 hurdles, fourth in the 300 hurdles. Ivory also pointed to Filip's second-place high jump of 6-9.
"Scott's high jump put us way over the top," Ivory said.
For Wheaton North faithful, emotions heightened when Zach Gordon took the track in the 100-meter dash finals. Later revealing he'd had a stress fracture in his right ankle since a week ago Thursday, from a standing start he hobbled the distance to earn his all-state medal. Applauded the entire 1 minute, 6.41 seconds, Gordon's guts overshadowed a race where Downers Grove South's Odell McFarland finished fourth and Hinsdale South's Tavaris Binion fifth. McFarland also finished second in the 200.
"I just really wanted to go out strong, so I just ran it," Gordon said after, on crutches. "That I went out strong and actually ran and hobbled on a stress fracture in the finals of the 100."
There was the neighborly finish of Neuqua Valley's Carlos Varela-Hernandez and Waubonsie Valley's Riley Kittridge finishing 2-3 in discus. In the 3A 3,200 race, Wheaton Warrenville South's Nolan McKenna finished fifth at 9:03.96, less than a second off the Tigers record.
Willowbrook's Matt Burns kept his hot streak going by winning the 400 dash, right ahead of fellow junior Sam Bransby of Naperville Central.
"I knew lane six was a good lane for me because there's less water out in lane six in conditions like this," Burns said. "I just felt great. I knew if I stuck behind Sam that I can hopefully outkick him in the last 200 meters, and that's pretty much what I did."
Bransby returned to anchor a third-place Redhawks 1,600 relay, right behind Wheaton North with Micaiah Steele anchoring.