Hoffman Estates and junior Declan Rustay seem to be on the rise.
Rustay had a pair of first-place finishes and also a pair of second-place efforts in helping power Hoffman Estates to the team title in the 42nd annual Jim Nagel/Mark Saylor Mid-Suburban League boys track and field indoor invitational with 104 points at North Central College in Naperville on Saturday.
It was Hoffman's first indoor title since 1983, with Rustay providing a big lift in winning the 200 (22.65) and taking second in the 55 dash (6.44). He also contributed to a first place finish in the 800 relay (1:31.57) and a second-place finish in the 1,600 relay (3:33.81).
"It is a great moment for the school, it's really special," said Hoffman Estates coach Tyrone Jones of the big win. "I told the team if you invest in the process, the outcome will be there. Now we just want to keep this thing going."
Prospect finished a close second with 99 points, followed by Fremd (76 points), Barrington (39 points), and Palatine (37 points).
Rustay earned two state medals last season at the IHSA Class 3A state meet, including a third-place finish in the 100 dash. And he seems to be gaining momentum.
"I'm feeling really confident going into the outdoor season," said Rustay, "and I'm looking to see what I can do."
"He is the type of kid that comes around once in a career," said Jones. "He has a passion for the sport and works really hard; we're just really blessed to have him."
Rustay was far from a one-man show for the Hawks. Senior Alex Makrounis took first in the 3,200 (9:28.89) and third in the 1,600; senior Daniel Banahan (52.04) was second in the 400 and Jack Worman (4:23.42) placed second in the 1,600.
"We have a strong distance squad this year and also couple of really good sprinters," said Worman, who also was part of the Hawks' 3,200 relay (8:10.04).
Prospect was on Hoffman's heels for much of the day, with senior Kevin Sherwood providing a nice boost. He won the triple jump (42-02.75), anchored the winning 1,600 relay (3:30.57) and placed third in the 400 (52.57) and fourth in the long jump.
"We were neck and neck with Hoffman all day, and it was a nice confidence boost heading into outdoor season," said Sherwood.
Knights senior Jack O'Donnell was third in the 3,200 (9:37.86). Sophomore Michael Shafis placed second in the high jump (6-5) and senior James Estrella was second in the pole vault (13-06). The Knights also came up with a third-place finish in the 3,200 relay.
"I though the team did really well," said first-year Prospect coach Jay Renaud. "We scored in most events and had a really good effort today."
Fremd's Jim Aikens is beginning his 28th and final year as head coach for the Vikings, and his team looks ready to send him out on a high note.
Senior Ethan Hanson and senior Roman Murshanko gave the Vikings a big boost by going 1-3 in the shot put.
Hanson finished in 10th place at the state meet last season and seems motivated for big season this year. He hit a 59-10.5 earlier in the indoor season and continued to roll on Saturday, capturing the title with a 58-06, holding off Barrington senior John Stefan (57-07).
"I still haven't thrown what I want to throw," said Hanson. "I know I have way more in me, and I just have to keep working."
Senior Danny Peterson also had a big day for the Vikings. He started his day by helping his team to victory in the 3,200 relay (8:02.46) and finished it by taking first in the 1,600 (4:21.99).
Peterson made a strong move in the final 300 meters to capture the 1,600.
"I was very confident in myself," said Peterson who was pressured in the final two laps by Worman. "I really believe in my kick this season and I feel great heading into the outdoor season."
Junior Jaden Jackson added to the Vikings' success by winning the 400 (51.95), with senior Tyler Faust adding a second-place finish in the long jump (20-6).
Wheeling junior Lawrence Knish tied the meet record by winning the high jump at 6-7. Wildcats senior Jason Shannon won the 55 dash by holding off Rustay in 6.43.
"I just came out knowing I had to perform, and I did," said Shannon of his 55 dash win. "I definitely know where I need to be now and where I'm at -- I just have to keep improving."
Schaumburg junior Victor Olaitan won the 55 high hurdles (7.64).
Buffalo Grove senior Arturo Bautista won in the 800 (1:58.29), holding off a strong challenge by Rolling Meadow senior John Gerardi (1:58.55). And Bison senior Dimitri Lomnick was a winniner in the long jump (21-08.5).
Rolling Meadow senior Zach Gunger gave the Mustangs a first place finish in the pole vault (14-0).