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updated: 3/29/2014 11:23 PM

Dandy 200 highlights Duncan's day

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By Jeff Newton
Daily Herald Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON -- Any celebration that St. Charles East senior Jordan Duncan was about to have was cut short by a moment Duncan and the Saints track team won't soon forget.

In the final heat of the 200-meter dash at the Illinois Prep Top Times meet at Illinois Wesleyan University and the Shirk Center, Duncan ran what he would later call "the best race of his life."

Duncan finished in a personal-best 22.16 to win the event, topping heavy favorite and defending Class 3A state champion Cole Henderson of Pekin.

Just moments after he crossed the finish line deliriously happy, Duncan stumbled over a set of starting blocks and tumbled to the track. Fortunately, he wasn't injured -- except for maybe his pride. Either way, it was a moment he'll keep with him.

"I think I'll remember tripping over those blocks for a while," said Duncan shortly after his coach Chris Bosworth showed him the video.

"I am going to remember this race. It was an amazing blessing to run on a track like this, in this setting and I thank God because without him none of this would be possible."

Duncan's win concluded a wild day at the Shirk Center on the final indoor meet of the season before teams try and move outside next week.

Senior Marcus Jegede of four-time defending Class 3A outdoor champion Lake Park secured one of the afternoon's best performances when he jumped to a win in the triple jump. In a field that was loaded with some of the state's best, Jegede jumped a season best 48-1 to edge James Travis of Waubonsie Valley (46-0).

Jegede also competed in the long jump, where he wound up third overall with a best effort of 22-2.75. Western Illinois-bound Schaumburg senior Stacey Smith jumped his way to a second-place finish with a best mark of 22-8.

The jumping events were also good to Kaneland senior Dalvell Triplett. Heading into his final effort in the triple jump, Triplett still led the pack, but was still in search of one good jump to wrap up the indoor season.

"I knew I was already in first place when I took my last jump," Triplett said. "I just thought after five jumps that I would give it my all on that last one, and it turned out well."

Winning was a big part of the Class 2A session for the Knights as senior Nate Dyer contributed to the medal totals with a strong effort in winning the shot put. His put of 56-8.75 was an indoor season-best for Dyer, who finished ninth in outdoor state last spring.

On the track, the Knights' 3,200 relay team of Andrew Lesak, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta, and Nathaniel Kucera took top honors, finishing in 8:07.62 to hold off a hard charge from Springfield.

Vernon Hills senior Kyle Whitney continued his strong senior year by carrying over his success during cross-country onto the track in winning the 3,200. His 9:40.8 clocking was more than nine seconds faster than his previous season best.

Burlington Central showed signs that it will be a team to watch during the 2A outdoor season. Junior Lucas Ege got it started with a fantastic runner-up finish in the 60-meter high hurdles, running a season best 8.26.

The Rockets relay team of Ege, Casey Matthews, Trevor Davison and Travis Panariello ran a season best in placing second to Cahokia in the 800 relay (1:33.84).

The Rockets' Matt O'Connor placed second in the 800 in 1:57.03.

Hampshire's Bryce Weinrich finished third in the 60 hurdles, and the Whip-Purs' 1,600 relay team also took third place.

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