Boys track: Hersey places second behind New Trier at Class 3A Loyola sectional

It was a close race for the team title at the Class 3A Loyola boys track and field sectional Thursday night, but New Trier toppled Hersey 107.5 to 84 for the championship of the 16-team meet.

The top two finishers in every event advanced to the IHSA state meet next weekend in Charleston along with any individuals that met the predetermined qualifying standards.

Hersey got off to a good start as the Huskies' 3,200-meter relay team of Cameron Donner, Jon Choi, Mateus Salomao and Liam Naughton took first place in 7:54.94.

Hersey got another first-place from junior Logan Farrell in the discus with a throw of 51.88 meters. Stevenson's Ethan Aghakhan (51.82 meters) placed second in that event.

“They (3,200 relay) kind of set the tempo for the meet and we kept rolling,” said Hersey coach Ken Blazek, whose team also got a second from Nasir McKenzie in the 100-meter dash. “Logan is an awesome competitor. He's actually going to (North Carolina) to play football, and he's a fast tight end who has been clocked at over 21 miles per hour.”

Stevenson junior Thomas Simmons continued to shine by winning the 110-meter hurdles in 14.61 seconds before posting another personal record time of 40.35 seconds to take second place in the 300-meter hurdles. Randy Clay took second (1.92 meters) for the Patriots in the high jump. Teammate Alex Moser (6.59 meters) took second in the long jump.

“I dropped another 0.2 seconds off my time (in the 110 hurdles), and I'm just super pleased after putting in the work,” Simmons said. “I had a huge PR in the 300, I finally got it down with the stutters, and I'm just hoping for the best (at state) and happy to be there.”

Prospect's 400 relay team of Charlie Knee, Nico Chavez, Jaylen Calhoun and Nate Cichy placed second to advance to state. The Knights' 800 and 3,200 relay teams also placed second to qualify for state. Cichy also made state with a fourth in the 110 hurdles.

“We train a lot on relays, we spend a lot of time working handoffs, and making sure we have the right fit of guys in the right spots,” said Prospect coach Jeff Collier, whose team won the 1,600 relay. “Finding the right four guys to run is super important to us because just because you’re the fastest in an event doesn't necessarily mean you're going to make a good relay teammate.”

Naughton (4:21.24) added a second in the 1,600-meter run, and teammates Zach Frayder (third) and Rob Geissenberger (sixth) both made the cut for state in the 3,200. Hersey's Will Nolan will also be heading to state after placing fourth in the discus.

Maine West's 400 relay team of Dante Hicks, Ernie Martinez, Sam Marinho and Maks Makota set a school record (42.13 seconds) to advance to state while Makota also made state in the 100-meter dash.

“They are extraordinary young men who have worked hard all year,” said Maine West coach Nate Hassman. “I just couldn't be prouder of them, and they PR’d in each of the past three weeks.”

In the 800-meter run, Wheeling's Jake Ning (sixth), Salomao (seventh) and Maine East's Luis Mendoza (eighth) all reached state, as did Hersey's 400 relay team, and Wheeling's 3,200 relay team. Maine East's Matt Ng took second in the pole vault, and Farrell and Maine East's Roman Wolanin reached state in the shot put. Wheeling's Sincere Wilkerson advanced to state in the high jump.

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