Boys track and field: Naperville North takes DuPage County crown
Wheaton North junior Ryan Schreiner took a break from his normal track routine on Thursday.
Instead of competing in his best event -- the 800 meters -- Schreiner attempted to set a new personal record in the 400 meters at the 88th Annual DuPage County boys track and field championships held at Naperville Central.
In the end, on a cold and windy night, Schreiner made sure to turn his "fun run" turn into a fun finish.
Schreiner set a new personal record time by clocking a first-place effort of 50.70 seconds to win the 400 meters. After he crossed the finish line, Schreiner looked up at the scoreboard to his left and immediately flashed an ear-to-ear smile.
"I felt pretty good in the 400," Schreiner said. "That was good progress. My main goal was to break sub-50 (seconds), but the weather was windy and not ideal conditions. It's not something I could control. From now on, I'll be running the 800. I've been specializing in that, but I didn't want to do it today because I wanted to see if I could break 50 (seconds) today. But it was still fun, a blast."
In the team race, Naperville North (120.5 points) narrowly edged out Wheaton North (115.5) to finish in first place. Neuqua Valley (94), Wheaton Warrenville South (78) and Waubonsie Valley (73) were among the top five team placers.
Schreiner was among several DuPage County athletes able to overcome the unusual late May weather conditions to post a memorable effort.
Naperville North senior Andrew Li, a Brown recruit, captured first place in the 100 (11.31). He also competed in the Huskies' winning 400 relay, and third-place 800 relay.
"I was definitely happy with the relays," Li said. "It was a good team effort. We had some younger guys perform well. I was also happy with the win in the 100. The conditions weren't the best.
"I just want to cap off my senior strong, and am trying to put it all together for these final few weeks. It's been a rocky season, but I've been keeping focus through the ups and downs of it. I'm focusing on getting wins in the 100 and team victories in the relays."
Naperville North senior Tommy Paltzer, a University of Portland recruit, claimed first place in the 800 (2:00.23) by relying on a strong kick with 300 meters remaining in the race.
"I wanted to go out and try and hang for the first lap and go hard for the second lap," he said. "I knew I didn't want to make my move in the first 100 of the second lap because the wind was pretty bad, so I came around that turn. I felt pretty strong when I made the move."
Metea Valley junior Jalen Johnson, a star wide receiver, showed off his track skills by notching first place in the 110 hurdles (14.70). Naperville Central's Graham McAninch won the 300 hurdles (41.82).
In field events, Waubonsie Valley's Jaisnav Rajesh won the high jump (5-10.75) and teammate Brody Squires took first in the long jump (21-2). Lake Park's Kyle Varga claimed the pole vault title with a top vault of 14-0.