Boys track and field: Batavia wins fourth straight DuKane championship

The 800-meter run was still anyone’s contest when Batavia senior Felipe Wickler approached the last 300.

“I’ve got to show them it was my race to win,” Wickler felt.

He kicked -- as he said afterward, he held himself accountable -- to win the DuKane Conference 800 title in 1 minute, 55.59 seconds, just ahead of St. Charles East’s Patrick Klasa and Michael Wilson.

“What makes me feel really accomplished is that I beat my previous self,” Wickler said. “That’s really what it comes down to in these races, is being better than you were yesterday.”

That’s not easy at Batavia, which won the DuKane Conference championship for a fourth straight time, Friday at Glenbard North in Carol Stream.

The Bulldogs’ 148 points topped Wheaton Warrenville South (138.5), St. Charles North (89), St. Charles East (81), Lake Park (74.5), Wheaton North (69.5), Glenbard North (56) and Geneva (44.5.).

Batavia coach Dennis Piron praised athletes such as surprise shot put winner Gavin Pecor, long jump winner Isaiah Brown, four-event “ironman“ Nate Whitwell and all those Bulldogs like Wickler, who held themselves accountable.

Batavia scored in 16 of 18 events.

“We had some fun this week talking about what it means to win a conference title. And I think I saw the spirit of it in every single event,“ Piron said.

Lake Park, which got a varsity victory by Adrian Przestrzelski in triple jump, won the sophomore level going away with 208.5 points to 146 for St. Charles North.

The DuKane meet has only been contested since 2019 -- Wheaton North, paced by Friday high jump champ Stephen DeMoss and discus winner Carl Givens, won the inaugural -- so some records fell.

Glenbard North, winning its first conference title in the 3200 relay since 1998, ran 8:02.83, nearly 24 seconds off its seed time.

“Around halfway through the race I heard someone yell at the dude right behind me, that ‘they’re nobodies, just catch them.’ So I knew I had to beat him,” said Gabe Early, who ran with Faizaan Haq, anchor Daniel Prochaska and Royce Krush.

Krush later removed his duster-length raccoon coat to win the 400 out of lane 8 in 50.15 seconds.

“I wear it at the important meets,” Krush said.

WW South used a fast start by 100-meter winner Da’jion Riley (11.01 seconds) to set a 800 relay record of 1:28.99 with Ben Ishimwe, Ethan Cambell and 200-meter winner Jacob Brocius (22.33).

Two events later the Tigers’ Amari Williams set a DuKane record in the 300 hurdles at 38.34 seconds, the second-fastest time in Illinois this season. Williams also won the 110 hurdles in 15.15.

“Coach (hurdles coach Ken Young) always told me, no matter how far ahead or how far behind you are, you’ve got to keep on running,” said Williams, who won the 300s by more than 2 seconds.

St. Charles North junior Nathan McLoughlin added another DuKane record in pole vault, at 15 feet, 2 inches. He repeated as champion, winning in 2023 as a sophomore at 14-6.

McLoughlin remained a little disappointed, “blowing through his poles” to try to reach higher heights.

“It’s part of the process,” he said. “Always looking for more.”

WW South’s Josiah Narayanan made a valiant attempt to follow his 3200 victory with another in the 1600, but he had to settle for second to St. Charles East’s Greyson Ellensohn, who won at 4:18.48.

“My boy, Jed (teammate Jedidiah Wilson) pushed me, and with like 250 left I’m like, this is within strikin distance, I know from my kick, so I went for it,” said Ellensohn, seeded fifth in the race.“

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