Boys track and field: York's Kern wins at DuPage County meet
When healthy, York's Charlie Kern is among Illinois' elite middle-distance runners. Friday at the 86th DuPage County Boys Track & Field Championships at Naperville Central, he looked healthy as a horse.
In the 3,200-meter relay the Missouri recruit took the baton with the Dukes 10 meters behind Naperville Central. He ran a split time of 1 minute, 54 seconds and finished 20 meters and more than four seconds ahead.
In the open 800 Kern handily denied a challenge by Wheaton North's outstanding Joey Simon, going through the first 400 in 54.6 seconds and setting a DuPage County meet record of 1:52.56, fastest in the state entering Friday.
"I'm honestly just so excited. I'm so happy with how today went. It's been a really, really rough road recovering from (last) fall. Even now it's just ups and downs," said Kern, third in the 2017 Class 3A 800 but plagued by a mysterious malaise similar to mononucleosis, according to his father, Dukes coach Charlie Kern.
"It was a rough week, I was pretty exhausted, my legs just have been really tired, but I'm confident now that it's all going well," the younger Kern said.
The 100 dash proved a rough twist for Wheaton Warrenville South sprinter Cedric Rowzee. He won the "fast" heat in 10.97 seconds then learned York's Deandre Klein clocked 10.91 in a prior heat. In the 200 York's Brendan Chaltin spun out of the turn slightly ahead, but Rowzee was not about to let a Duke get him again.
"He had the edge, I heard his teammates cheer him on, and I took that energy, I was like, Nah, he's not beating me this time," Rowzee said.
Efforts like that, Sean Maison's 1,600 win, the 1,600 relay victory of Colton McGlynn, Peter Marra, Trent Schweitzer and Joey Zubak and a bunch of high placements had WW South repeat as DuPage County champion with 129.5 points. Wheaton North (118), York (105.5), Waubonsie Valley (75.5) and Lake Park (57) rounded out the top five.
Lake Park pole vaulter Tommy Paprocki set a personal record by a foot, clearing 15 feet, 7 inches. Wheaton North senior Tyler Johnson won shot put at 56-3 with Willowbrook's Brandon Loth and Naperville Central's Omarr Roberts each hitting 52-4. In discus Waubonsie Valley's Zac Lyons and Mantaj Singh went 1-2 with marks of 166-1 and 162-0, respectively.
Wheaton North had wins with Ben LeVasseur in high jump, Connor Zydek in the 3,200 and in both hurdles races -- Josh James in the 110s and Eli Odell in the 300s.
"At Glenbard West last weekend I got second, so getting first this week has really meant a lot," said Odell, winning in 41.31 seconds.
Highlights included Glenbard North sophomore Xavier Curtis' third-place 100 dash and Naperville North's Will deBolt with another PR in triple jump at 42 feet, 3 inches, behind Bartlett's Austin Cichon at 42-11.
West Chicago's Zenen Cardenas won the 400 in 50.02 seconds, ahead of Wheaton North's Ian Rothery and Naperville Central's Thomas Codo.
"I really like meets like this, where you get everybody in a close area together because there's a lot of competition right down the street, like the Napervilles and Waubonsie and York, all them," Cardenas said.
Glenbard South's Jeremy Earnst represented Class 2A in style with a winning long jump of 21-8, a quarter-inch farther than York's Dominic Pastorelle.
Facing athletes they rarely see, Montini's Zack Olson, Nick Fedanzo, Matt Quaglia and Jalen Slater won the 400 relay in 43.45 seconds.
"It gives us confidence going into conference and sectionals the next couple weeks, and then hopefully to state," Quaglia said.
"It's nice to represent, definitely," Olson added. "We like to give it to them once a year."