Naperville North rocks to Gus Scott title

Eric Beedon’s rocking performance of the national anthem on electric guitar was a hard act to follow. The Naperville North senior is his own headliner, though.

Four hours after playing the anthem at Friday’s annual coed Gus Scott Invitational, Beedon traded his Schecter Omen Extreme Floyd Rose guitar for a black-and-yellow Essx 160-pound pole.

With the runway lit by gas-powered lamps at that point he clinched victory for the host Huskies, winning the boys pole vault at 14 feet. It was his third straight Gus Scott win.

“I think when I joined this sport my freshman year I saw something so out of the ordinary — people running as fast as they could with a stick trying to jump as high as they can,” Beedon said.

“I said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’ I picked the pole up and then I’ve been working ever since. And that’s kind of how I am for guitar.”

Beedon’s versatility was part of a sweet performance for Huskies boys and girls teams, who won the respective overall titles of the eight-team, A-, B- and C-level invite, topping Wheaton Warrenville South in both cases.

The boys of Benet and Jacobs followed, with Waubonsie Valley and Benet placing third and fourth on the girls side.

Naperville North senior Julie Piot, who won the 1600 (5 minutes 9.77 seconds) and ran on winning 1600 and 3200 relays, was voted by coaches as girls athlete of the meet.

It was a tough decision. Huskies sophomore Leah Davis won both the 100 dash (13.12) and the 200 (26.59); and Emma Berres won the 800 (2:18.97) and joined Piot on those winning relays.

Wheaton Warrenville South junior Amari Williams, who won the 110-meter hurdles in 15.49 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 39.79, was boys athlete of the meet.

A college football prospect at wide receiver, Williams missed last week’s Wheaton North Best 4 for a visit to both Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois universities. That 300 time indicated he’s still on schedule.

“Yeah, that was the main goal coming into the meet. I was just trying to finish and PR (personal record),” said Williams, who also ran on the Tigers’ 800 relay, an event won by St. Charles East’s Peter Van Lue, Leo Bolsoni, Jack Berg and Gavin Matejko.

“It’s pretty chill,” Williams said. “It’s a way to come out and improve. Not only me, but the team. Overall we did pretty good. We had a good practice this week, so coming in we knew we was going to do good.”

Cary-Grove’s girls have a history of ruling the hurdles at the Gus Scott, named for the late hall of fame Naperville North coach involved in area track or cross country from 1957-1994.

The Trojans girls indeed swept all three levels of both the 100 and 300 hurdles, as sophomore Olivia Parker and junior Eva Todorova won both their heats, sophomore Becca DeKett won her 100, and senior Kate Aniolkowski won the A-level 300 in 46.74.

Parker and Aniolkowski also teamed with Fifi Onafeko and Kennedy Manning to win the 400 relay in a squeaker over Asia Mitchell and Waubonsie Valley.

“I’m so proud of them,” said Aniolkowski, a 2023 state qualifier in the 300 hurdles. “I think it’s really cool that we’re able to enter a team that competes in each level, the C, the B and the A. It just shows the depth of our team, and I’m proud of them.”

Jacobs coach Kevin Christian was just as proud of Max Sudrzynski, who won the boys 1600 in 4:25.39 despite Benet’s Finn Richards hammering at him over the last 200 meters. Sudrzynski kicked at the turf after the race, wishing he’d gone faster.

“He wins and he’s still not satisfied at all,” Christian said. “He knows he could do more with it.”

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