Boys track and field: Huntley's Gronewold shines at sectional
Huntley junior sprinter Evan Gronewold felt pretty good after the 100 meters, even better after the 400 and just about perfect after the 4x400 relay.
The 4x400 gave Gronewold his fourth win at the Class 3A Huntley boys track and field sectional Wednesday at Red Raider Stadium, meaning he will go to next week's state meet in four events.
The Red Raiders also won the team title with 107 points, 40 ahead of second-place Rockford East. Crystal Lake Central and Belvidere North tied for third with 60.
Gronewold ran a leg on Huntley's winning 4x100, with Talon Sargent, Jacob Zastrow and Paul Kerber, tied Rockford East's Marquez Gray for first in the 100, won the 400 with a school-record 49.02, then anchored the Raiders' winning 4x400 with Sargent, Nate Ary and Zastrow.
"It was a big confidence booster after winning the 100, and a huge confidence booster after winning the 400," Gronewold said. "I PR'd by .9 seconds and broke the school record (49.48 by Brendan O'Donnell). I was really happy when I heard I broke that."
The Raiders also got sectional titles from Matt Alpert (pole vault), Brad Walker (shot put) and Paul Kerber (200). Kerber was third in a wild 100 and qualified on time (11.00). It looked like any one of Gronewold, Gray and Kerber could have been declared the winner.
"I wouldn't have been surprised by whatever they called," Gronewold said.
Huntley's Dylan Schmidt also qualified on distance with his third-place long jump (22-5). The 4x200 team of Sargent, Kerber, Zastrow and Marc Llauderas took second.
Alpert made 13-8 in the pole vault, the state-qualifying height, then cleared a personal-best 14-2.
"I was stressed about that all week, have to hit 13-8," Alpert said. "I did that and it felt really amazing. (14-2) felt even better. I was a little nervous because I usually don't go up a pole. I had the adrenaline and it felt pretty great."
Alpert moved from a 14-foot, 160-pound-rated pole to a 14-6, 155 pole for his last vault.
Jacobs will send Connor Frank in the long jump and its 4x200 relay team of Frank, Jaiden LaRoss, Tommy Martinez and Sean Dobson. The Golden Eagles were leading the 4x100, but Ben Ludlum and Dobson had a mishap on the final handoff and Ludlum twisted an ankle. They were disqualified.
Martinez was inserted into the 4x200 lineup and the quartet ran .39 off its best time to win that race.
"I felt bad for our team. I started bad and ended up hurting a teammate," Dobson said. "I miscounted my steps and also did not get off quickly enough. (Ludlum) caught up to me and he caught his foot on my foot. Good for us, Tommy was there and ran a really good race."
Eagles coach Jason Borhart thinks Ludlum might be available by the Class 3A state meet next Saturday.
"We ran great," Borhart said. "After what happened, they came back and the first two legs did their job and handed off in first place and Tommy ran a great third leg. All Dobson had to do was finish."
Frank qualified earlier in the long jump with his career-best (22-10 1/4) on his final attempt.
"I scratched my first two, the third one was not the best jump and I just told myself, 'This is my last chance,' " Frank said. "I hit the board almost perfectly. A readjusted my run-up and gave it everything I had. You can feel when it's a far jump. It felt far."
Grant's Josh Delgado won the 800 and anchored the Bulldogs' qualifying 4x800 relay team with Charlie Hamann, Jalen Rios and Zach Deacon. Grant's Xavier Patterson won the triple jump.
"The 800 was fantastic," said Delgado, who ran 1:55.97. "Those guys in my section ran out really hard and really fast. They ran amazing and it was awesome going out with them."
Patterson had only one good triple jump, his first, and went 43-4 for the victory.
"My first one was a bit conservative, I wanted to be sure I hit the board and everything," Patterson said. "From there I was trying to be a little more aggressive. Unfortunately I scratched on the other three, which is abnormal. I only scratched two other times this season. But that's something I can work on this next week of practice."
Patterson will attend Eastern Illinois University next year and compete in track, so he is excited about competing on his future track for state.
Cary-Grove's Zach Petko won the discus and Hampshire's Isai Morales was second in the 800 to qualify.