One month ago, the outlook for Barrington junior Scotty Miller wasn't exactly bright.
Having suffered through walking pneumonia and losing weight from his already slight frame, Miller looked like anything but the standout sprinter who'd medaled twice at the Class 3A track and field meet a year ago.
Fast forward to the Class 3A Palatine sectional, and any lingering signs of a weakened Miller were nowhere to be found.
Miller captured state-qualifying berths in three events for the first time as he helped lead the Broncos to the overall team title on Thursday.
Barrington won the meet with 61 points, capturing its first sectional crown since 2003.
For Miller, it was good to be back.
"I am officially back," Miller said with his trademark smile after his busiest day of the track season. "From the hard work of this past week I knew I could do four races and I feel great right now."
Despite the disappointment of the Broncos missing out on the 400 relay, Miller took the top spot in the 100 meter dash (10.84) and the 200 meter dash (21.79).
He also teamed with Parker Deloye, Brendan Melynchuk, and JP Brooks to earn a qualifying mark in the 800 relay (1:28.68).
"I felt good throughout the day" Miller said. "The 100 got me warmed up and the 200 felt really good."
In addition to the three events by Miller, the Broncos also qualified their 3,200 relay team of Ryan Perkins, Tyler Anderson, Adam Phillips, and Konrad Eiring in 7:51.91. Fremd (7:53.58) also qualified and Hersey (7:50.56) captured the sectional crown in the event.
Deloye earned a spot in the high jump clearing 6-3 just ahead of Palatine's Adam Poklop who also qualified clearing 6-1.
Barrington closed out the night by finishing third in the 1,600-relay. Johnny Andraschko, Jace Goetsch, Phillips and Melynchuk ran a season best 3:22.34. Fremd led by sensational junior Jawan Gaines and his blistering 48.2 anchor leg won the event in 3:20.12 breaking the school record from 1967.
Jake Lewis, Kenny Lyke, and Ryan McMahon joined Gaines for the winning foursome.
Palatine and its team of River Crane, Cam Cornelius, Gavin Falotico, and Jimmy Jones ran second in 3:22.32.
Fremd also took the top spot in the 800 relay just edging Barrington. Gaines, McMahon, Lewis, and Richard Adugba ran a season best 1:28.35 for the event win.
Warren, led by Jovan Charleston, Isaac Walker, Joe Haight, and Hugo Flores also qualified as did Palatine.
It would be hard to top the type of night that Libertyville senior Kevin Barbian had.
It started in the discus event for Barbian.
On his second throw in the prelims, he launched the disc 168-10 – bettering his previous top effort by more than 22 feet. Rather than settle for that event alone, Barbian set up in the shot put. Joe Bellafiore of Hersey and Brendan McKinney of Buffalo Grove also threw qualifying marks.
On his second throw in the finals, he let loose a toss of 53-10.5 – another personal best effort giving him wins in both events.
"I just relaxed and let it fly in the disc and came up with a 22-foot PR," he said. "In the shot, I was hanging around 47 or 48 feet and then I just put it together."
Joining Barbian in the shot put was Fremd senior Brad Ruehrdanz. Though he threw with a rib injury, Ruehrdanz was able to battle through with a second-place qualifying throw of 53-8.5.
Buffalo Grove senior Evan Murphy knows a thing about injuries. He suffered through a sore knee most of the season. But on the one night he felt good, the first year track athlete for the Bison made it work. His second triple jump in the finals yielded a personal best and state qualifying jump of 44-10.5.
"I knew the second I hit the ground that it was the one," Murphy said. "This completely makes up for the injuries all season – definitely the highlight of my life.
One athlete that is sure to have many more highlights in his future is Lake Zurich freshman Matt Pereira. Running the distance double for the second time in his short career, Pereira caught the eye of the fans at Chic Anderson Field with two dominating performances.
He took the 3,200 meter run breaking his own school record (9:12.66) and then set his sights on the mile. With most of the field fresh, Pereira still dominated, pulling away at the end to win in a personal best 4:16.88. His fast pace led to 9 other runners making the state cut. Bryce Richards of Mundelein, Jack O' Neill of Hersey, Graham Brown of Palatine, Pat Human of Libertyville, Sam Oh of Stevenson, Harry Winter of Fremd and Adam Shurson of Warren all made the cut.
Five other runners made the cut in the 3,200 including: Andrew Philipose of Hersey and Steven and Kevin Salvano of BG also earned spots.
Other individual qualifiers included Ki Hwan Kim of Stevenson in the long jump, Jake LaRocca of Palatine and Tom Mayer of Fremd in the pole vault, Titus Booker of Grayslake North in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, Evan Brown of Wheeling in the triple jump, Maurice Beryozkin of Buffalo Grove in the 110 high hurdles, Max Roberts of Libertyville in the 300 hurdles and Alex Shulga of Grayslake North in the 400.
Richards captured the 800-meter run while Oh was third behind Nick Vucovich of Fremd.
Loyola sectional: Evanston took top team honors, finishing with 106.5 points to top Niles West (74) and New Trier (62).
Prospect placed seventh and has a state qualifier in senior Justin Phillips, who placed second in the shot put with a throw of 54 feet, 5 inches. His effort was well ahead of the qualifying mark and just shy of the effort from Niles West's Dennis Gargovic (55-3).
Phillips also advanced in the discus with a second-place toss of 153-0.
Prospect will be respresented in the track events at state by its 3,200 relay of junior Greg Suarez, senior William Lussenhop, senior Max Gonzalez and senior Ben Pederson. They finished second behind New Trier, finishing in 7:58.97.
Other top efforts from the Knights came from Sean O'Carrol in pole vault (13-0, third) and Vinny Lai in the long jump (tied fourth, 20-7.5).