Burlington Central's Olsen, Ege savor state medals
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CHARLESTON — It wasn't quite the finish that Burlington Central teammates Lucas Ege and Ryan Olsen had hoped for but then again, the medals around their necks after placing in the 300 hurdles and 400-meter dash respectively eased the pain some.
On a soggy and dreary afternoon at the state finals of the Class 2A state track and field championships at Eastern Illinois and O'Brien Field Olsen was up first as part of the 400 in what turned out to be the closest race of the afternoon on the bright blue track.
Heavy rains and even a few puddles on the track didn't slow down the field. If anything, it made the race tighter. As the field headed for home, Olsen and Cahokia junior Marlin Brady started to pull away from the remainder of the field. First it was Olsen moving to the front. But as the runners drew near the finish line, Brady leaned forward to edge Olsen by .09. Olsen finished second in 49.39 earning his first individual event medal.
"I'm disappointed I didn't win, but I can't complain too much," Olsen said after the race. "It was tough in these conditions but I ran as hard as I could."
Ege was up in the 300 hurdles looking for his first state medal. Ege was faster than his prelim time of Friday, but so was the rest of the field including eventual winner Marcus Greer of East St. Louis. Greer broke the state record, while Ege took fourth in a brisk 39.22.
Cahokia captured its third consecutive Class 2A title with a dominating 99.5 points to 40 for East St. Louis and 37 for third place Bloomington.
Lake Park won its fourth straight Class 3A state title with another dominating performance in the field events scoring 63 points to 33 for runner-up Providence Catholic. Pekin took third with 31 points.
Bartlett's 3,200 relay team of Connor Rachford, Mitch Sullivan, Matt Hess and Brandon Smith won the first medals in Bartlett boys track history, finishing second in a time of 7:46.32. Barrington won the event in 7:45.94.
It was a first trip to the medal stand as well for Cary-Grove standout sophomore Ricky Hurley. This year marked his first trip to the state meet in the shot put and discus and he hardly let the heavy rains dampen his spirits.
Hurley did his work during the prelims on Friday in the shot put with a put of 55-3.25 and made that mark stick for a seventh-place finish in the event. Following in the footsteps of 2012 state champion and current school record holder Josh Freeman, Hurley earned the Trojans' second medal in the shot in school history.
One wasn't quite good enough for Hurley as he earned his second medal of the weekend in the discus. His throw of 163-3 in the prelims held up as the soggy conditions limited most of the competitors from moving up in the event. Hurley finished fifth overall.
"I didn't get here last year and to make it down here and get two medals is a great accomplishment," Hurley said. "I wish I could have done better but I had a great time down here and I look forward to coming back."
Huntley senior Justin Herbert narrowly missed a medal in the disc finishing 10th overall, just one inch out of medal contention. His best throw on the weekend was 153-4.
Junior Kyle Kumerow of South Elgin leapt 44-3.75 in the triple jump and finished 12th overall.
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