Kaneland coach Eric Baron established the proper mindset for Friday's Kane County boys track meet a day early.
"Coach Baron loves this meet, as well as the whole team," said senior thrower Nate Dyer. "We had a meeting yesterday to explain how important this meet is to him and our school history. It's a real mood-setting meeting that gets us all going."
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In the 96th running of the Kane County meet on Friday at Streamwood's Millennium Field, second in tenure only to the state meet, Kaneland won for the fourth time and the third straight year counting its 2012 tie with Geneva.
The Knights scored in 13 of 18 events, getting field event victories by Dyer in both discus and shot put, Ben Barnes in long jump and Dylan Kuipers in pole vault, at 15 feet, 3½ inches. Kaneland swept the distance relays behind mainstays Kyle Carter and Nathaniel Kucera, Where the Knights didn't win the likes of hurdlers Dylan Nauert and Brock Robertson and thrower Alex Snyder scored big points.
"It really was about our team depth," Baron said. "We run fresh kids in a lot of races, we're really good up and down the line and I can't say more about my team than every kid brought it tonight."
Kaneland's 128 points led the field. Batavia (77), St. Charles East (68), West Aurora (67), Burlington Central (67), Geneva (60.50), St. Charles North (57), Marmion (43.50), Dundee-Crown (40) and South Elgin (35) rounded out the top 10.
Dyer, who looks to throw at Wisconsin-Lacrosse, had won county shot put titles as a sophomore and junior but had finished second in discus. Friday he won shot at 55 feet, 2 inches, and discus at 153-11.
"Coming in, top seed, I needed to basically just relax," he said. "Been here before, all of us have been here since freshman year so this is nothing new."
Marmion high jumper Tyler Maryanski certainly had something new -- a personal record -- by a lot. First, he and fellow 2013 Class 3A state finalist Erik Miller outlasted Batavia's Mark Rudelich and Mark Majka and South Elgin's Kyle Kumerow.
Miller, who a week ago went 6-10 to tie for the state's top mark, easily handled 6-9. It took Maryanski till his third attempt to clear it. Then the tables turned. Maryanski hit 6-11 on his first attempt, Miller unable to clear the height.
Maryanski failed at three attempts at 7 feet, but 6-11 was spectacle enough.
"First time ever seeing that height, even in practice," said Maryanski, who hopes to jump at Wisconsin-Stevens Point. "It's a little intimidating just hearing the height itself let alone seeing it, actually trying to jump it. I knew if I trusted my rotation I had enough power to get up there, just trust that and I know I'd be over it."
Miller's teammate, Jack Feeney, won the 400 at 49.92 seconds, pursued by Geneva's Sam Urben, the Batavia duo of Jorden Berendt and David Curnock, and Marmion's Andrew Grahovec, all under 52 seconds.
Feeney said it was one of his favorite races.
"I've just been psyching myself up for it, went into it with a good mood and had a lot of fun running it," said Feeney, also fifth in the 200.
A year ago, St. Charles East finished tied for ninth with 18 points. Friday Jordan Duncan took second in the 200 and ran legs on winning 400 and 800 relays with Frank Chaloupka, Mo Flanigan and Devon Kelly. Plus, Max Rowland won the 3,200 (9:42.69) with teammate Michael Gerkin in third.
"Immense improvement from last year," Gerkin said. "We're definitely on our way -- in distance and everywhere."
West Aurora, 1-2 in triple jump with sophomore Chris Walker (46-¼) and Davion Cross, sent brothers Brady and Connor McCue both into the winner's circle. Loyola-bound senior Brady McCue won the 800 (1:57.10) and Connor, a sophomore, took the 1,600 (4:28.69) with Blackhawk Joe Chavez and Batavia's Ryan Wieties and Mitch Zabka behind.
"It's cool," Brady McCue said. "We've kind of been back to back. We usually go 1-2 whenever we're together, so I think it's pretty cool that we go 1-1 today."
Connor said: "We do everything together pretty much, and all of our runs. So it's going to be a big part of my life when he's gone."
Burlington Central's Lucas Ege hadn't lost a hurdles race all outdoor season, and he left Streamwood with that standard intact. Motivated by the field -- namely Kaneland's Dylan Nauert and Brock Robertson -- Ege won both the 110 (14.63) and 300 hurdles (38.85) with room to spare.
"I think the best part about tonight for competition was, I just knew Kaneland was out for me. I knew they really wanted to kill me and that just got me pumped. They made me run a lot faster," Ege said. He also ran in a third-place 1,600-meter relay and a fifth-place 400 relay.
South Elgin's Kyle Kumerow maximized his effort in high jump with a personal-record 6-7 that had his posse exploding with joy. But Larkin's fast 1,600 relay didn't have all its parts working after Jarelle Shipp rolled an ankle in the 400 relay. Still, Alex O'Claire, Keiren McKenzie, Dante Bonds and Dan Dorantez placed fourth.
"We can go much faster once we have all our horses in there, so I'm kind of happy we didn't show what we can do, that's fine," said Royals coach Nathan Williams. "Hopefully we get a healthy, full roster and take care of all our other business. We'll see what we do at conference. That'll be a precursor to what sectionals will hold for us."
Dundee-Crown has its fastest team in years. Austin White and Milik Dunner finished in third and fourth place in the 200 dash and helped the Chargers to second in the 800 relay, and third in the 400 relay. Plus, Dunner earned the fictional County's Fastest title with his winning time of 11.00 seconds in the 100, ahead of 200 winner Desmond Gant of East Aurora and South Elgin's Shawn Griffin.
"The start is the key for me," Dunner said. "If I get out quick it'd be pretty hard for people to catch me."