CHARLESTON -- Even behind the black shades, Joe Singleton looked almost uncomfortable.
The finals of the Class 2A 3,200-meter run went out slowly, and the slim Illinois State-bound senior seemed itching to cut loose from the lead pack. He remembered his coaching.
"On my warm-ups I felt a little hot and tired, so I was getting a little worried," Singleton said. "My coach said, just sit, let the other guys tire themselves out, and it worked perfectly."
After 2,200 meters Singleton easily captured the lead, held it, then with 800 meters left, a full two laps, he breezed forth, quickly gapping the pack to cruise home with the state title in a new personal-best time of 9 minutes, 19.48 seconds.
"I was getting a little impatient," said Singleton, who with long jumper Brandon Blankenship and high jumper-sprinter Jack Curtis helped Glenbard South to a ninth-place 2A finish. Singleton returned to place fifth in the 1,600.
"I've always been right at the cusp of making it, but I've never been perfect enough," he said. "But I knew that I had all the tools today, I had the speed and I had the strength. And I had the determination to do it."
The main thing was he didn't always have the health. Held out by injury last year in track and not running like this since his sophomore year, Singleton -- who also placed fifth in the 1,600 meters -- was redeemed Saturday.
"It's the best feeling ever," he said. "I've spent nights at the dinner table crying, telling my parents, like, 'I'm sorry that I couldn't make it happen.'" he said. "To be able to do this now, after all the junk that they've put up with, this is awesome."
This season also was awesome for Benet thrower Stephen Hubona, who saw his preliminary discus throw of 185 feet, 1 inch stand for a gold medal in Class 3A. Waubonsie Valley's Jon Harris placed third.
"That's pretty darn cool," Hubona said.
Hubona landed a 180-footer on his first throw Saturday. His second was 179 feet, then came a foul. No harm, this foul.
"I don't think it's really hit me yet," said Hubona, seventh last year. "I'm just really excited and very proud that I got that. That's been my goal since freshman year."