Boys track and field: Batavia has a chance at state hardware
The Batavia boys track team is poised to make some serious noise at this weekend's Class 3A state finals in Charleston at Eastern Illinois University.
The Bulldogs ran away with the Hoffman Estates sectional title, winning by 73 points. Coach Dennis Piron's squad has all 4 relays and 8 individuals in the 3A field, including double entries in the pole vault (Nick Kella and Blake Bakkum) and the high jump (Jay Hunt and Pete Rudelich). Hunt also qualified in the 200, while Will Akers doubles up individually as well in the 300 hurdles and the long jump.
"We have great depth. We've doubled the amount of people we sent down last year. It's awesome," said Akers. "This is one of the best teams we've had and the coaching has been great. We have great motivators. Our goal is to place as high as we possibly can as a team."
Akers said some minor adjustments in his hurdle routine have paid big dividends. "I've adjusted a little technique between hurdles four and five that has allowed me to save energy until the end of the race," he explained. "I save it all until the end of the race."
Akers has zeros in on the third-to-last step on his long jump approach. "It's important to stay bouncy on that third-to-last step and then get a good penultimate and then a good pop. If you get that good third, the rest of it falls together."
Other Batavia individual qualifiers include Elijah Green in the discus, Sam Conger in the 110 hurdles and Michael Stanley in the 400.
Besides Batavia, there are a torrent of other Fox Valley area athletes competing in Charleston across all three classes of competition.
Also in 3A, Geneva has its 3,200 relay at state (Tyler Dau, Scott Creger, Cole Montgomery and Brian Kuehl), in addition to Josh Rodgers in the 3,200, Kuehl in the 800 and Dau in the 1,600.
West Aurora's state contingent is loaded in the field events and includes DaVion Cross (long jump and triple jump), Camron Donatlan (high jump), DaQuan Cross (high jump), Reece Mavros (shot put), and Moshe Rogers (triple jump).
St. Charles East qualifiers include Colton Weber (pole vault), John Carroll (triple jump), Charlie Wade (400), James Cooper (300 hurdles) and Campbell Koch (1,600).
St. Charles North has both its 800 and 1,600 relay teams in Charleston, in addition to Cam Wright (pole vault) and Peter Willis (high jump).
Sectional-champion Huntley is bringing its 400 and 800 relay teams to Charleston, along with Jacob Riese in the pole vault, Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu in the triple jump, Lukas Bolas and Brian Bala in the 110 high hurdles and Dubem Anikamadu in the 100 and 200.
Aninagyei-Bonsu, Eric Mooney, Ron Noll and Anikamadu ran the relays at the sectional, but Huntley coach Jim Rolando said as of press time he was unsure who would run those events at state.
Jacobs qualified its 800 relay of Loren Strickland, Caleb Walker, John Jameson and Aidan Ludlum, as well as Strickland in the long jump, Jermaine Maegdlin-Ferguson in the 300 hurdles and Zach Albrecht in the 1,600.
Cary-Grove qualified Karl Rosch (shot put and discus) and Jack Adams (800). Dundee-Crown will have representation at stat in the form of Anthony Hurgoi (3,200 run). Crystal Lake South qualifiers include Sam Peschke in the pole vault, Jon Prus in the 800 and Connor Buckner in the 400.
Hampshire qualified its 3,200 relay team in Class 3A (sectional champions), as well as Jacob Oury in the 400. Oury is on the 3,200 relay team as well with Will Matushek, Jackson Wozniak and Elijah Stuart.
In Class 2A, Burlington Central qualified its 3,200, 400 and 1,600 relay teams, but no individuals. The 400 team features Michael Kalusa, Aakansh Sharma, Jimmy Badillo and Jacob Teets. The 1,600 team has Kalusa, Teets, Sharma and Adam Kries, while the 3,200 has Kries, Enrique Martinez, Logan Andersen and Teets.
Kaneland, a sectional runner-up, qualified its 400 and 800 relay teams, as well as Danny Walker and Jack O'Sullivan in the pole vault, Clayton Hannula in the shot put and discus (double sectional champion), Matt Richtman in the 3,200 and 1,600 and Drew Gould in the 110 hurdles.
Sectional-champion Marmion has its 3,200 relay team in the fold, along with Seth Groom in the long jump, high jump, triple jump and 200, Andrew Saloga and Jacob Heineman in the pole vault, Nick Auriemma in the discus, Sean Galle in the 3,200, Michael Ronzone in the 1,600.
Aurora Central Catholic qualified its 1,600 relay as well as Brant Krpan in the shot put, and McKimmon Engelhardt in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
In Class 1A, Harvest Christian Academy will have its 3,200 and 1,600 relays competing at state. Joining them is Andrew Dobrescu in the 3,200.
Westminster Christian qualified Jason Yaccino in the 800, while St. Edward's Alec Uscila made it in the 100.
In terms of high seeds, West Aurora's DaVion Cross is seeded first in the triple jump and second in the long jump, while Batavia's Akers is fourth. Batavia's Krella is sixth in the pole vault. West Aurora's Donatlan is second in the high jump, while Batavia's Hunt is sixth. St. Charles North's 800 relay team is sixth. Huntley's Anikamadu is fifth in the 200.
Marmion's Groom is third in the long jump and triple jump. Kaneland's Hannula is second in the shot put and discus. Kaneland's Richtman is third in the 3,200.