Boys track and field: Kaneland soars to Peterson crown
Kaneland had an additional incentive to repeat as the winner of its Peterson Prep Invitational Saturday.
For the first time in the meet's 48-year history, Bruce Peterson, the invite's namesake and longtime Kaneland track coach was not there -- he passed away last August.
The Knights honored Peterson's memory by finishing among the top three in 12 of the 18 events, with eight first place medals, to win the meet with 126 points.
"This is the first meet that we hosted since Peterson has passed away," said Kaneland coach Andy Drendel. "The team really took it to heart and said we are going to do this right and compete the way he would have wanted."
St. Charles North and Yorkville both tallied 60.83 points to tie for fourth place.
"We are a young team, we've got some good veterans but we ran more freshmen and sophomores here than we have every done," North coach Kevin Harrington said. "And you know what, they get better every week."
Oswego East (76) and Lyons Township (71.5) rounded out the top five.
Dundee-Crown finished sixth in the 14-team field.
Kaneland's Daniel Occhipinti and Austin Adams figured in all four first place honors in the track events.
Occhipinti won both the 3,200 and 1,600 meter events. The junior won the 3,200 with a time of 9:53.43, eight seconds ahead of Yorkville's Ivan Westcott. The 1,600 was much closer with Occhipinti crossing the finish line in 4:33.81 less than a second ahead of North's Ryan Arnold.
"He was always competing behind (former cross country and track standout) Matt Richtman," Drendel said." But this year he has really stepped it up and it shows. He took the team on his back and won two events for us."
Adams took top honors in the 800 with a time of 1:59.31. The junior was also the final leg of the in the 4X400 relay which the Knights won with a time of 3:31.53, edging out North by a second.
Kaneland's Ted Allen (13 feet 2 inches) and Nate Bermes (12 8) took first and second in the Pole Vault. Knight Porter Conroy earned a first place medal in high jump with a height of 6 feet 5 inches. Teammate Drew Hahn took top honors in the shot put with a toss of 48 feet 10 inches. Brandon Roberts won the discus for Kaneland with mark of 134 feet, 11 inches.
"A lot of our kids stepped up today in a big time home competition," said Drendel. "Conroy going 6 5 in the high jump was huge."
Sophomore Joshua DiNatale was one of North's spark plug. In addition to winning the 100 (11.39) and 200 (22.83) races, the sophomore participated in the 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
"The 200 was the more challenging race because I had run three events before that," DiNatale said. "Winning is always nice because you're running against people who are fast. It's crazy to think that I can put up the times that I did."
D-C's relay team of Meante Foster, Alex Miller, Jason Miller and Dylan Becker won the 4x100 (43:55) and 4X200 (1:30.54).
"Everybody finished off, they didn't give up and people got good handoffs," said Foster, who ran the first leg of the races.
West Aurora's Moshe Rogers used his finish in the long jump as an incentive to win the triple jump. He earned the medal with a distance of 44 feet 6.5 inches.
"I got second in the long jump and I felt I could have done better," said Rogers. "I couldn't get too down on myself because I knew I had two more events today so I really had to excel in the triple."