Boys track and field: Prospect making people notice at state finals
CHARLESTON -- Prospect senior Tim Zalinski knows what people think about Mid-Suburban League sprinters and he's out to change their minds.
"We're overlooked," Zalinski said. "We've always been known as a distance team. We're always good in the (3,200-meter relay) and the mile and the 800.
"They don't notice the sprinters."
But that may be changing. Two years ago, Hoffman Estates' Declan Rustay swept the Class 3A 100 and 200. And the Knights proved on Friday they also can hold their own against the state's traditional sprint powers.
Prospect moved a step closer to winning the second sprint relay state medal in program history by running 1 minute, 28.22 seconds in the Class 3A 800 relay preliminaries at Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Field.
The time was just off the school-record 1:27.91 the Knights ran at last week's sectional. And it could be just the beginning of a good run for Prospect, which ran three juniors along with Zalinski.
"I think they'll keep their eyes toward us, especially with the junior class and sophomore class we've got," Zalinski said. "I think we'll be very good for a long time."
John Moellenkamp, who ran a leg on the 800 relay and also advanced in the long jump, was equally upbeat.
"Not our best run, but it was close," he said. "It was just good to make the finals here. We worked hard, grinded it out."
The Knights, like everyone else, had to cope with temperatures in the upper 80s and high humidity -- a big switch from the spring's cold, windy weather.
"It's way different," Moellenkamp said. "The heat just drains all your energy, but the cold is so much worse to run in. You have to bundle up."
Rolling Meadows had three qualifiers for the finals, as Joe Boyer advanced in the shot put and discus while Tim Szylak moved on in the 110 hurdles.
Szylak ran 14.70 and believes he can put up a faster time in the finals.
The goal: "Do a little better (with) my start. I didn't get over (the first hurdle) fast enough. I was just hoping to qualify, and I ran a good time which worked out in my favor."
Fremd advanced pole vaulter Luke Fissinger and 300 hurdler Justin King, while high jumpers Damon Street of Maine West and Jonah Walton of Hoffman Estates also qualified for the finals.
In Class 2A, St. Viator's Patric Natindim ran the fastest 800 qualifying time at 1:57.54. Teammate Athan Huelskamp had the No. 2 prelim throws in the shot put (55 feet, 7.75 inches) and discus (167-2).