Marcus Jegede, a key to Lake Park's shot at an unprecedented fifth straight boys state track championship, got maximum results from minimum effort. He had little choice.
At Friday's Class 3A Lake Park boys sectional in Roselle, Jegede was on a crash diet of one jump per event to save a testy hamstring that had allowed him to long jump at only two meets this spring, and no triple jumps.
"I knew it would hurt -- and it did, but it worked out for the best," Jegede said.
He qualified in each, squeaking in at 22 feet, 3½ inches on his sole long jump and a leading 46-3 in triple on his one and only attempt.
"I feel a lot less pressure now, especially that I qualified in those two things," said the Louisville-bound senior, who also helped the Lancers advance their 400-meter relay into next weekend's state meet in Charleston.
Jegede won't lack for company. Lake Park qualified 12 positions, including all-stater Antonio Shenault in the 110 and 300 hurdles and Curtwan Evans and Mike Prestigiacomo in both shot put and discus.
"These kids really put it together when we needed to, which is also a testament to our coaches," coach Jay Ivory said after Lake Park had won the sectional, 127.5 points to York's 114.
Also in the Class 3A title hunt, York qualified 10 downstate. Josh Farrar won the 100 and 200 dashes and ran on winning 400 and 800 relays. Reid Smith advanced in high jump and pole vault.
Glenbard West's Paul Selman, among five Hilltoppers qualifiers, followed only Farrar in the 100 and ran on qualifying 800 and 1,600 relays. The senior took his captain's role to heart.
"This was a great night for everybody," Selman said. "Everybody ran to their fullest. I had to be not just a runner but a leader, and I had to make a difference, Coach (Jon Schweighardt) said."
Wheaton Warrenville South's Jon Callaway had one of those great sectional moments in discus. On his final throw he landed a 5-foot personal best to qualify at 157 feet, 10 inches as his father, Paul, a former Wisconsin all-stater, observed. Jon said he took a deep breath "and whatever happened, happened."
Injury provided huge disappointments. Willowbrook's Matt Burns, defending 3A 400 champion, was knocked out by a foot injury that flared up in the 400 relay. Teammate Jake Bloemke provided a silver lining, qualifying in a 400 he didn't know he'd be running.
WW South all-state distance runner Nolan McKenna's left ankle started hurting Monday and only got worse. He needed to be carried off the track in the 3,200, like Burns his prep days done.
So Tigers teammate Luke Schroer decided to "race like Nolan" in the 1,600 -- "just run a real gutsy race and if somebody passed me, they passed me," he said. Schroer's loyalty was rewarded with a time of 4 minutes, 17.51 seconds that sent him to Charleston.
Wheaton North's Steven Connor made it in the 110 hurdles and also anchored the Falcons' qualifying 1,600 relay. Glenbard East's Jack Peters (800) and Benet's Steven Hubona (discus) will look to repeat as all-staters in Charleston.