Boys track and field: Kaneland wins IEC meet
Porter Conroy's night was over, but he stood at the edge of the track, yelling on encouragement to his Kaneland teammates.
Conroy, a Kaneland senior, has legitimate state title aspirations in the high jump in the coming weeks. This particular meet, though, meant something different.
"At Kaneland, our guys went out and really worked this year. Winning this conference meet means a lot to our guys, that the hard work is paying off," Conroy said. "We did the right things and really persevered through it all to come out on top."
The Knights indeed set the bar Thursday.
Conroy won the high jump, one of six Kaneland first-place finishes, took second in the 110-meter high hurdles and third in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
Kaneland, in the first track and field meet in the reconfigured Interstate Eight Conference, took home the team title, its 181 points beating out Sycamore (158.5) and Sandwich (122) on Wednesday at Plano.
Conroy, who posted the third-best high jump in Class 3A statewide of 6 feet, 6.75 inches at last weekend's Kane County meet, made 6-4 (converted to 1.93 meters) on his second try Wednesday and missed at 6-6.
"I felt like I didn't underperform a ton, but I think I can use today to propel myself forward for next week," Conroy said. "Definitely have some stuff to work on but I feel confident. I feel like me and my coach know where we are, state meet and sectionals know what I need to do to perform."
Kaneland also received a first from Eli Pflipsen in the shot put (13.92 meters), Isaiah Dallal in the 1,600 (4:33.68) and its 3,200 relay (8:17.21).
It also went 1-2 in the pole vault and 3,200, with Ted Allen and Aiden Gatz both going 3.90 meters in the pole vault. In the 3,200, Kaneland senior Charles Fitts had a huge kick down the last straightaway to barely overtake teammate Logan Cunz, 10:25.27 to 10:25.62.
"Logan broke past the Plano kid and then I got past him around the 200. I figured I had to have some kick to get up there," Fitts said. "I had goal to get on Kaneland's top 50 (all-time) list for the two miles and seeing Logan ahead of me really pushed me to give it all that I had left."
Sandwich's Jayden Green and Michael Marrs, both with their sights set on leading the Indians to a potential state trophy in two weeks, started their postseason in style.
Marrs, an Eastern Illinois recruit, won the 100 (11.29) and 200 (22.35), and made up a huge gap in the anchor leg of the 800-meter relay, as Sandwich beat out Kaneland 1:32.48-1:33.05.
Earlier, Marrs nearly pulled off a similar feat in the 400 relay, but couldn't quite overtake Sycamore in a 43.77-43.83 photo finish.
"We left it all out there on the track today," said Marrs, who has the fourth-best 100 time and third-best 200 time in the state. "Whatever happens in the team finish, happens. I'm proud of how we ran."
McCulskie-Green, a South Dakota commit, didn't overdo it Wednesday with bigger meets on the horizon. He won the long jump (6.74 meters) and triple jump (13.72 meters), attempting just two jumps in each, took second to Conroy in the high jump and ran a leg as Sandwich loaded up its 400 relay.
"I feel good because I know I have a full week off before my next meet and I didn't overdo myself. I'm saving my legs, trying to stay healthy for as long as I can," said Green, owner of the No. 1 triple jump, seventh-best long jump and third-best high jump in Class 2A statewide. "I still wanted to place high for my team today, but with that being said really my coaches' goal is to get top five in the state."
Sandwich's Ethan Weeks won the discus with an effort of 44.90 meters.
Sycamore senior Tyler Carter returned from a recent hamstring injury to sweep the 110 high hurdles (15.38) and 300 intermediate hurdles (40.33). After the 110 highs Carter, sporting a black headband, extended both his arms to his side in victory.
"Getting back to these times really makes me feel good," said Carter, who had taken off two weeks from sprinting. "I ran the 300 last week, wasn't what I wanted, so this makes me feel pretty confident. I wanted to run a 39-second 300. If I wouldn't have hit the last hurdle I would have got it."