Boys track and field: Ruiz, Lakes team up for sectional win at Lake Zurich

By Jeff Newton
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 5/19/2016 10:46 PM

Lakes junior Cameron Ruiz has shown time and time again this season that he is the ultimate team player. But when it comes to sectional and state qualifying time, you can't blame the Northwestern-bound Ruiz for turning his attention to his individual events.

Thursday night at the Class 3A Lake Zurich boys track and field sectional at Mel Eide Field, Ruiz showed why he is considered a state title contender in multiple events at the state meet next weekend.


Ruiz won the long jump (23 feet, ½ inch), the triple jump (46-11) and the 400-meter dash (48.63) individually. He also led off the winning Eagles 1,600 relay team that included Robert Kuhlmann, Jordan Mercure and Brandon Thiel (3:21.00) as the Eagles captured the sectional team title, finishing wit 76 points to edge runner-up Palatine (70).

"It was nice to get the jumps over with -- one jump and done, well two in the triple," Ruiz said. "I was able to then focus on my running events."

Lakes also earned individual titles at the sectional in the 800 run from Kuhlmann (1:55.04) and from Illinois-bound senior Cooper Jazo in the pole vault. His mark of 16-1 and Kuhlmann's effort were both school records.

"I wanted to get over 16 this year," Jazo said. "It's a big mark and not many ever clear that mark, so I was happy to get it out of the way before state."

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Teammate Hayden Falls also qualified in the vault by clearing 13-7. The vault featured five total qualifiers. Jake Stevens (14-7) and Matt Szczesny (13-7) qualified for Lake Zurich while Elijah Eugene set a school record at Grayslake Central by clearing 15-1.

Central junior Jack Aho took command midway through the 3,200 to win the event in 9:10.29. His time edged out Colorado-bound Stevenson senior Jared Borowsky (9:19.36). Matt Pereira of Lake Zurich also qualified in 9:21.20.

In the 1,600, Borowsky got his revenge as he held off Aho for the win in 4:18.39. Brian Leonard of Palatine (4:20.62) and Kyle Griffith of Lake Zurich (4:21.12) also made the cut..

"In the 2-mile, (Jack) always runs great pace races," Borowsky said. "I decided to take the mile out and give him a run for his money. First time I have ever beaten him."


Stevenson will also have senior David Goncharov downstate as he qualified in the triple jump by leaping 44-2.

Joining Ruiz in the 400 were Hugo Flores of Warren (50.07), and Louis Cossio of Barrington, who earned his first trip to state by running 49.79. Thiel also qualified from Lakes in 48.99.

Barrington also earned qualifiers in the shot put and discus as John Stefan came through again with his finest performances of the season. Stefan finished second in the discus to Mike Andrews of Grayslake Central (159-3) with a toss of 157-5. Then in the shot, he battled back and forth with Mid-Suburban League rival Ethan Hanson of Fremd.

Hanson took top honors with a personal best throw of 58-9, but Stefan broke a 46-year old school mark with a second-place put of 58-0. For good measure, sophomore Brad Warmen qualified with a put of 52-9.5.

"I really had a great week of practice," Hanson said. "I realized after last week I needed to shape myself up and get after it."

Hanson will be joined downstate by senior Ryan McMahon, who was second in the 200 (22.37), and sophomore Jaden Jackson. Jackson won the 110 hurdles (15.16) and 300 hurdles (39.39). Teammate Ben Konopka finished second in the 110 hurdles, also earning a state berth (15.29). Grayslake North junior Griffin Gawenda also qualified at 15.29.

The Vikings started the meet by earning a state meet berth in the 3,200 relay with the team of Danny Peterson, Luke Vogelgesang, Ed Worthem and Jack Buban running 7:59.23 in a second-place finish.

Crosstown rival Palatine won the race with the group of Lyle Kean, Zach Michel, Art Oschinson and Leonard running a season-best 7:59.23.

The Pirates' top performer was senior Dan Garcia. He won the high jump, clearing 6-3, then helped the 800 relay team of Zion Oluleye, Cole Wasowicz and Courtland Cornelius to an event win in 1:28.82. Lake Zurich ran second in 1:29.07.

Palatine also had qualifiers in the 100 meter dash where Cornelius held off Dante Johnson of Warren to win in 10.98. Johnson also qualified, running 11.01. Warren also earned a state meet trip in the 400 relay as Flores, Johnson, Melvin Pettis and Kendrick Bell ran 42.71 finished second.

Other individual qualifiers for state included the 1,600 relay team from Barrington (3:21.68) and Warren (3:23.11), Blue Devils sophomore Brandon Ellis in the high jump (6-1), Brian Griffith of Lake Zurich in the 800 (1:55.73), Dylan Panomar of Grayslake North in the 800 (1:56.96) and John Elischer of Palatine in the 300 hurdles (39.65).

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