High school athletes from two Palatine schools were celebrated for their lofty achievements by the village council this week.
Jaden Jackson was recognized for becoming the first track and field athlete to win a state championship in an individual running event for Fremd High School. Palatine High School's girls softball team was in the spotlight at village hall for a Class 4A third-place finish in the state tournament.
Jackson went down in Fremd history in late May by winning the 300-meter hurdles at the IHSA state meet, clocking in at 37.73. He'll be running for the University of Illinois next year.
Palatine Mayor Jim Schwantz complimented Jackson, who also played football at Fremd, for being a "tremendous young man" on and off the field. Schwantz, who attended Fremd, got to know Jackson in his role as a volunteer assistant football coach at his alma mater.
Jackson also received kudos from Joe Samojedny, a longtime Fremd assistant track coach known statewide for his understanding of the biomechanics involved in the sport.
"I'm kind of excited to see what he's going to do when he goes to U of I," said Samojedny, who also was Fremd High's head football coach from the 1970s into the early '90s. "And I think you're going to see, also, he has the ability to be one of those athletes that leave our community and can step into a venue at an international level. I think you're going to see that."
Palatine High's girls softball team made its first appearance in school history in the state tournament, which ended in June with the third-place finish in Class 4A and an overall 30-6 record. Schwantz said a high bar has been set for the returning players and encouraged them to put in the necessary work to stay at the top.
"The cool thing about you guys going down there (to East Peoria) and the run that you had and all the excitement that you generated, is it said 'Palatine' across your jerseys at the games," Schwantz told the players and coaches. "As the mayor of Palatine and as a council, we recognize everything that you guys did to bring the goodwill of Palatine all throughout this state."
All the softball players and Jackson received certificates of recognition from Schwantz.