Boys track / State scouting, Northwest and Lake County
From returning state champions to first-timers with state gold medals in mind, the 109th boys track and field state meet will take place on the famous blue track at Eastern Illinois University and O' Brien Field. Prelims in the Class 2A session will start at 8 a.m. Friday. Class 3A will start at noon with finals in all three classes slated to begin finals at 10 a.m. Saturday. Here is a quick preview of this weekend's qualifiers.
3,200 relay: Hersey (7:50.56); Barrington (7:51.91); Fremd (7:53.58); Prospect (7:58.97); Vernon Hills (8:06.15) 2A; Grayslake Central (8:10.73) 2A Carmel (8:13.54) 2A. Barrington is the defending champion in this event, but Hersey has been among the best in the state all season. Prospect is here – every year. Fremd has risen to the top this year and figures to be in the mix. Vernon Hills will be a factor in 2A.
400 relay: Schaumburg (41.59), Grayslake Central (43.65) 2A, Vernon Hills (44.18) 2A. This is the moment that Schaumburg has waited for all season. The Saxons have been among the best in the state all spring and they shine brightest when the stage is big. The state record is not out of reach. Grayslake Central is a returning medalist in 2A.
3,200 run: Zach Dale, Conant (9:11.20); Matt Pereira, Lake Zurich (9:12.24); Andrew Philipose, Hersey (9:18.46); Steven Salvano, Buffalo Grove (9:22.00); Kevin Salvano, Buffalo Grove (9:24.20); Billy Thomas, Hoffman Estates (9:26.60); Kyle Whitney, Vernon Hills (9:32.12) 2A; Nick Brey, St. Viator (9:33.07) 2A; Jack Aho, Grayslake Central (9:37.76) 2A; Nick Webber, Vernon Hills (9:43.59) 2A. On paper, this looks to be the best event of the meet -- well, at least until the 1,600. Dale has already been under the 9-minute mark. Pereira is only a freshman but is running more like a senior. The Salvano brothers and Philipose along with Thomas keep the MSL distance tradition alive. Whitney and Brey are 2A medal contenders.
110 high hurdles: Jonathan Wells, Grant (14.56); Maurice Beryozkin, Buffalo Grove (14.94); Adam Maslowski, Schaumburg (15.51); Jacob Wiggins, Grayslake Central (15.53) 2A. Wells has been the best in Lake County so far this spring but will need to be better in a very fast event. Beryozkin and Maslowski are down state for the first time. Wiggins looks to medal in 2A.
100 dash: Shandall Thomas, Schaumburg (10.80); Scotty Miller, Barrington (10.84); Titus Booker, Grayslake North (10.85); Richard Clark, Vernon Hills (11.01) 2A. Thomas has been the fastest man in the area so far this spring and was stride-for-stride with defending state champion Cole Henderson of Pekin at indoor state. Miller is healthy and Booker is fresh which should make for a fun 100 final. Don't count out Clark in 2A.
800 run: Bryce Richards, Mundelein (1:54.91); Kyle Hatton, Grant (1:56.13); Nick Vucovich, Fremd (1:56.71); Sam Oh, Stevenson (1:56.77); Bryan Gamboa, Hoffman Estates (1:56.82). This race is nothing new to Richards and Hatton. Both are returning medalists. Vucovich is a key member of the Vikings 3,200 relay. Oh and Gamboa look to stay hojt from great sectional performances.
800 relay: Fremd (1:28.35); Schaumburg (1:28.40); Barrington (1:28.68); Grant (1:29.15); Warren (1:29.47); Palatine (1:29.51); Grayslake Central (1:32.43) 2A. Schaumburg has the fastest time in the state so far this spring. Fremd and Barrington both have been hot of late. Grant put it together as did Warren and Palatine. Grayslake Central is the defending 2A champion.
400 dash: Corey Hertz, Lakes (49.09); Alex Escobar, Hoffman Estates (49.80); Alex Shulga, Grayslake North (49.80); Paul Ifianayi, Elk Grove (50.26); Tyler Theel, Wauconda (51.17) 2A. Hertz was a force in 2A and now is a medal contender in 3A. Shulga returns and Ifianayi is a returning medalist. Escobar ran a personal best last week. Theel will make his first state meet appearance.
300 hurdles: Max Roberts, Libertyville (39.17). Roberts is back at state for second straight year and is right in the mix for a medal.
1,600 run: Dale (4:15.34); Pereira (4:16.88); Richards (4:17.98); Jack O'Neil, Hersey (4:19.11); Brown (4:19.51); Patrick Humen, Libertyville (4:20.08); Oh (4:20.86); Ben Mohrdieck, Vernon Hills (4:25.68) 2A; Brey (4:28.96) 2A. Next to the 3,200 this event figures to be one of the best of the weekend. Dale will compete in the double as will Richards. Brown has run well of late as has O'Neil. Humen has come a long way and could be right in the pack. Mohrdieck and Brey will be in the medal mix in 2A.
200 dash: Miller (21.79); Booker (21.91); Thomas (22.14); Clark (22.24) 2A. A clear sign that Miller is completely healthy was how he finished the 200. He is a returning medalist and should be there again as will Booker. Thomas runs in this event for the first time and Clark could sneak into the finals in 2A.
1,600 relay: Fremd (3:20.12); Lakes (3:21.86); Palatine (3:22.22); Barrington (3:22.34); Grant (3:23.50); St. Viator (3:31.14) 2A; Antioch (3:32.36) 2A. The Vikings keep getting faster and faster with Jawan Gaines leading the way. Lakes led by Hertz will be right there. Barrington, Palatine, and Grant have work to do but will be in the mix. Viator and Antioch will compete in 2A.
Long jump: Wells (23-5.75); Devyn Cedzidlo, Lakes (22-10.75); Cameron Ruiz, Lakes (22-5); Ki Hwan Kim, Stevenson (22-3); Stacey Smith, Schaumburg (22-1.5); Jarman McMillon, Schaumburg (21-5.5); Demarcus Quick, Grayslake Central (20-3.75) 2A. Everyone knew how good of a high jumper Wells is but his long jump has been among the states best all season. Cedzidlo is a returning qualifier while Ruiz keeps the long line of great jumpers going for the Eagles. Smith is a returning qualifier. McMillon is there for the first time. Quick, if healthy could be a factor in 2A.
High jump: Wells (6-9); Noah Agnew, Vernon Hills (6-3) 2A; Parker Deloye, Barrington (6-3); Dan Garcia, Palatine (6-1); Connor Gosell, Grayslake Central (6-1) 2A; Adam Poklop, Palatine (6-1). Wells is the defending champ in 3A and has his eyes set on 7-feet. Poklop is a returning qualifier. Garcia and Gosell are first timers while Agnew looks to medal in his second trip.
Triple jump: Smith (45-5.25); Eddie Kelly, Schaumburg (45-3.25); Keyshawn Brown, Elk Grove (45-3); Evan Murphy, Buffalo Grove (44-10.5); Evan Brown, Wheeling (44-7); Demarcus Quick, Grayslake Central (44-1.5) 2A. Smith will be busy all weekend and has a great shot at a medal here as does Kelly. Keyshawn and Evan Brown along with Murphy are first timers. Quick has a great shot at a medal in 2A.
Shot put: Jake Bychowski, Grant (54-10.5); Brendon Soriano, Elk Grove (54-7.5); Justin Phillips, Prospect (54-5); Kevin Barbian, Libertyville (53-10.5); Brad Ruehrdanz, Fremd (53-8); Ryan Mullen, Lakes (53-0); Tim Christian, Antioch (48-6) 2A; Spencer Hirt, Grayslake Central (47-9.5) 2A. Bychowski, Soriano, Phillips and Barbian all with big PR's at sectionals as they look to keep it going at state. Ruehrdanz ends the two year draught for Fremd. Mullen is another in a long line of great throwers for Lakes. Christian and Hirt are down state for the first time.
Discus: Barbian (168-3); Brendan McKinney, Buffalo Grove (161-10); Joe Bellafiore, Hersey (158-9); Billy Heffley, Elk Grove (157-1); Mullen (156-6); Phillips (153-0); Hirt (149-11) 2A. They called him Barbarian over the loudspeaker at Palatine last week and he was with a 20-plus foot PR. Barbian looks to medal in his first state appearance. Bellafiore tries to keep the strong Hersey tradition alive. Heffley is a first timer as is Phillips.
Pole vault: David Biondo, Carmel (14-0) Jake LaRocca, Palatine (14-3); Cooper Jazo, Lakes (13-9); Tom Mayer, Fremd (13-9); Shane Huffaker, Maine West (13-3); 2A. Mayer is the only returning qualifier. La Rocca with a PR last week. Huffaker and Biondo also with PR's. Biondo will be a factor in 2A.
-- Jeff Newton