The combination of competing for a top-two slot at invitationals and socializing when not training makes track and field great for camaraderie and teamwork.
Common are comments like this from Kaneland senior Brock Robertson, who has been working with all-stater Dylan Nauert over the years.
"It's great to have Dylan as a teammate because we can push one another because we're both around the same times," said Robertson, who won both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles events at Saturday's Peterson Prep Invitational at Kaneland.
Nauert, already trying to come back from a hamstring pull, hurt a groin muscle early in his fifth-place finish in 110 hurdles. He returned with another fifth place in the 300s.
"It's great to have someone that can push you and you push them at the same time, making each other better," Robertson said.
Batavia high jumpers Mark Majka and Mark Rudelich are in the same boat. After another week under the guidance of former Batavia all-stater Brooke Bernardoni they each improved at Kaneland, Majka going 6 feet, 5 inches and Rudelich 6-3 to finish second and third, respectively.
"We're definitely going to support each other and tell each other what we're doing wrong. That's kind of the most support right there, just kind of pitching each other forward," Majka said. " ... We do talk technique, and actually that's the majority of the conversation."
West Aurora's Davion Cross, who has a freshman twin brother on the team, DaQuan, got the bulk of the reps on Saturday at Kaneland. Instead it was sophomore Chris Walker who pushed Cross to first place in triple jump -- Cross at 44 feet, 3½ inches and Walker just an inch behind.
"We're very good friends," Cross said. "I try to, like, compete with him as best I can. We did it today."
College-bound: In addition to Kaneland's top three distance runners Luis Acosta, Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera committed to run in college, Knights coach Eric Baron noted several others as well.
Hurdler Nauert is going to St. Cloud State, but for football -- he was a receiver and return man offensively for Kaneland, one of the top Knights in total offense.
Thrower Nate Dyer, who reached his personal best in discus at 162 feet, 9½ Saturday at Kaneland, will be throwing for Wisconsin-Lacrosse, a very strong Division III program.
Dylan Kuipers, who's gone 14 feet, 6 inches in pole vault, figures to add feet to that mark during his college years. He'll be attending North Central College where the vault coach is the award-winning Tim Winder.
On Saturday Kuipers said he'd be rooming with Plainfield Central's Luke Winder, one of Tim's sons. Having cleared 17 feet, 1½ this year, Tim Winder is one half-inch from Illinois' best schoolboy mark in history, the 17-2 of Streator's Logan Pflibsen in 2010.
Another collegiate: Augustana announced that Rosary sprinter Sydney Zaragoza will be running in Rock Island. She recently put up times of 13.38 in the 100-meter dash at Kaneland's Holmes Invite, and 27.38 in the 200, at Oswego East.
She's a two-time winner of Vic Mead's Coaches Award and has won Rosary's Hustle Award as well. A member of the 400 and 800 relay teams, with Zaragoza leading off the latter the Beads won the 800 relay at both the Kane County Meet and the Suburban Christian Conference, and she's run it in the state finals as well.
And more: Geneva is producing college captains. Distance runners Kevin Sparks and Justin Rodriguez are co-captains at Washington University in St. Louis, while sprinter Jay Graffagna is a co-captain at Augustana.
Elsewhere, Geneva graduate Tim Guthrie is a freshman at Wisconsin. He's a pole vaulter who is being redshirted this year, but is competing in meets unattached.
Vaulting this weekend at Loras College, Guthrie cleared a personal-best 15 feet, 10 inches. That's an 11-inch PR for Guthrie, who went 14-11 at last year's Hoffman Estates sectional and finished with an all-state seventh place going 14-9 in Charleston.
Long distances: As a junior, Aurora Christian's Jonah Walker finished seventh in Class 1A discus, at 147 feet, 10 inches. Since this past fall, in which he suffered a shoulder injury, he's put aside the shot put and focused only on discus.
The results have been great. On April 19 at Spring Valley Hall, Walker set a meet record with a throw of 158 feet, 8 inches. Last week he extended his own personal-best by throwing 160-11 at Plano's Field of Dreams invite.