The Larkin boys' track team put on its iron man shoes recently.
"I was really impressed with a number of our kids running three and four events at the Conant Relays with very little recovery time between events," said Larkin coach Nate Williams.
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The quartet of Jarelle Shipp, Dante Bonds, Alex O'Claire and Keiren McKenzie each had numerous top 3 relay finishes at Conant.
The Larkin 1,600 relay team recently won the Huntley invitational title with a 3:30.5 time.
At Huntley, the 400 relay team of Shipp, McKenzie, Damion Clemons and Bonds matched the known school record of 43.6 (43.84 FAT conversion) that dates back to 1977.
Williams also pointed out the team's 1:32.9 time in the 800 relay at Huntley is not far off the known Larkin school record of 1:31.3 (1:31.54 FAT) that dates back to 1976.
"Particularly exciting about our team is the level of competitiveness and eagerness to be part of our sprint relays," said Williams. "The four selected in those relays will have a very good chance to compete at sectionals for a state-qualifying spot. If Larkin is to take the next step and be able to score more team points, we will need to build our depth and develop our young kids, especially in the field events and improve our conditioning to compete in both individual and relay events."
Huntley update: Coach Jim Rolando noted the team has been competitive at the Huntley and Niles West invitationals.
"We're trying to get as many people involved as possible still, so the team finish hasn't been a priority at the varsity level," he said. "We had 65 members of our team compete at the Huntley invitational."
However, Huntley's frosh-soph team won the Sycamore (indoor), Huntley and Niles West team titles.
Huntley is running on its new outdoor track this season.
"The new track seems pretty fast," said Rolando. "The old track was one of the fastest in the area, but the new one seems to be really fast as well."
Rolando said the sprint relays have run well, but relay components are still being worked out.
"We're still trying to figure out who will be on them before we do any real handoff work," he said.
Connor Boos has run a hand-timed 10.8 in the 100 and 21.9 in the 200. He also has an FAT time of 11.06 in the 100. Brennan Bell recently ran 15.0 in the 110 hurdles, while Keagan Smith ran 9:25.36 in the 3,200 at Niles West.
"Keagan had a great time for early in the season and it was his first 3,200 of the year," said Rolando.
Rolando is looking forward to what lies ahead this spring.
"The guys are working hard and having fun," he said. "The frosh-soph guys are pushing the varsity and they are competing very well when they get the chance. Each day a different couple of guys step up and impress the coaches. I think we had 10 different frosh-soph guys win an individual event last week. We had some higher expectations from these big freshman and sophomore classes and they have met most of what we expected from them up to this time."
On the school record front, Boos tied the Huntley record with his 10.8 in the 100 and set a record in the 200 at 21.9. Bell technically tied his school record in the 110s (15.0 is a rough equivalent of his FAT from last year). Smith set a new school record in the 3,200 with his 9:25.36. effort.
Bartlett update: Bartlett opened the outdoor season with a seventh-place finish at the Schaumburg Saxon invitational.
Senior Dan Brainard placed third in both the shot put (48 feet, 5¾ inches) and discus (130-0). Junior Jordan Anderson was fourth in the high jump at 5-11. Sophomore AJ Santori was third in the 300 hurdles at 41.71 and the 400 relay team of Deon Nido, Santori, Bryce Petty and Hurshel Ross took third with a time of 43.85. Lucas Isla was a key contributor in the 3,200 and 1,600 relays.
"Lucas is a sophomore who has been very impressive in his efforts in meets and in practice," said Bartlett coach Eric Kramer. "In my eyes, he has been the most improved athlete on the team this year. Lucas is one of those guys you just love to watch race. He gives you everything and he races smart. He will be a key contributor in the years to come in the 400 and 800 opens and relays."
Santori has dropped a second from his final race last year in the 300 hurdles. "AJ has a great opportunity to compete in this event at the state meet," said Kramer.
Dan Danek has been hitting 140-0 to 150-0 in the discus in practice.
"We are expecting Dan will match or better his efforts he is displaying in practice this weekend at our Flyin Hawk invitational," said Kramer.
Hampshire update: Senior William Hempel was cited for strong progress in the 110 hurdles (16.4), while junior Gader Bulow has improved more than 3 feet in the shot put since last year (up to 44-10 now). Freshmen Jacob Oury (4:42 in the 1,600) and Douglas Stuehler (19-11½) in the long jump also have been key contributors for coach Joe Watzlawick's improved squad.
Dundee-Crown update: D-C coach Michael Richardson likes the way his relays are shaping up thus far.
"Our relays have been really running well of late," the coach noted. "The varsity 400 and 800 teams have not lost a race this outdoor season. They have run times of 43.9 (400) and 1:29.9 (800). I expect them to break the school record in the 800 this season and to qualify for state. With the way they have been competing, I believe a state medal is realistic."
Those two relays are comprised of Milik Dunner, TJ Moss, Sam Franckowiak and Austin White.
Junior Kiwaun Seals has been another bright spot for the Chargers with impressive performances in the jumps.
"Kiwaun has a good chance at being a state qualifier," said Richardson. "Last week he high-jumped for the first time this season and cleared 6-2 to win the meet at Cary-Grove. He also is an outstanding long- and triple-jumper. "
Junior Austin Garand also is a key contributor in the hurdles and sprints for D-C.
"Austin has consistently been improving in each race he runs," said Richardson. "I expect him to contribute this year to the team's success."
Burlington Central update: Central recently took second at the Huntley invitational.
Central's 400 relay team of Lucas Ege, Travis Panariello, Jason Berango and Casey Matthews ran 42.9 at Huntley.
"That's a great time for this early in the year," said Central coach Mike Schmidt.
Ege won the 110 high hurdles and 300 hurdles at both Huntley and Batavia. He's gone 14.6 in the highs and 40.1 in the 300s -- both already under the state-qualifying standard.
Matthews broke the school's 100 record at Batavia with a 10.6. He broke the old record that was held by former Central standouts Joe Hosey and Justin Lee.
"Those are two of Central's best sprinters of all time," noted Schmidt.
Schmidt likes the direction the team is headed.
"The guys are working hard at practice and are planning for a big year," he said. "That includes changing the way they eat and how hard they work in the weight room. The leadership from captains Matthews, Panariello, Parth Patel, Matt O'Connor, Josh Schwarting and Anton Christiansen has been incredible."
Schmidt see big things ahead for Matthews and O'Connor in particular.
"Casey Matthews is working hard to be one of the best 100, 200 and 400 sprinters in the state," he said. "Matt O'Connor in the 400 and 800 is driven to succeed at the state level as well."
Westminster Christian update: The Warriors have competed in only one outdoor meet thus far.
"Our upperclassmen are showing a lot of potential," said Westminster coach Adriana Armstrong. "With some meets coming up, I'm excited to see how everything works out. The kids are working hard. We've already seen improvements. We've had the one meet at Luther North and that gave us a benchmark. These next few meets I think we'll see even better numbers and what things we need to work on."
Harvest Christian Academy update: Senior Zach Harbaugh has enjoyed a productive track season thus far. He won the 400 indoor title at the recent NAC league meet. He also took first in the event at Christian Liberty Academy and was second in a meet at Timothy Christian.
"Zach has run fairly well for this early in the season," said Harvest coach Steve Bland. "He's been strong for us."
Bland also likes the progress the rest of the team is making.
"We have a lot of developmental athletes who are showing potential," he said. "We have eight freshmen on the team and they are getting better. I think we have the potential to keep improving here and do well the next few years."
Streamwood update: Thus far, Streamwood has run outdoors at only the St. Charles East Relays.
Sophomore Tae Reetz has been strong in the 100 and 200 thus far.
"This is a kid that squatted more than 500 pounds in the off-season," said coach Matt Willock. "He's strong. We'll see how close he is to getting to state-qualifying times."
Sophomore Brian Adkins has jumped 41 feet in the triple jump and 21 feet in the long jump.
"He's also been a great addition to our sprint relays," said Willock.
Senior Will Troman has returned to the team after competing his freshman and sophomore seasons. He's run a 4:45 mile.
Crystal Lake South update: Kyle Hedge has been a major bright spot for the Gators. He threw a school-record 54-10 in the shot put. Hedge was fifth at the Illinois Prep Top Times state meet. He's also thrown 154-6 in the discus in a recent outdoor meet.
David Lenzini ran 1:58.45 at the Top Times event and took fourth in the state, while the South 3,200 relay team was eighth at Top Times with a time of 8:12.36. That team consists of Kyle Radosevich, Drew Kopfman, Tyler Split and Lenzini.
"We also feel our mile relay (same four runners as in the 3,200) will be very competitive," said South coach Rich Eschmann. "They ran 3:37.34 indoors."
Eschmann added there is excitement about the team's younger competitors and its veteran athletes.
"Our team is very young in the long distances (1,600 and 3,200), jumps and sprints. We're excited to see how they develop during the season," he said. "David, Drew, Kyle and Tyler are seniors and want to end their year at the state meet."
South was sixth at the recent Deerfield invitational outdoors.