Boys track and field: South Elgin vaults to Upstate Eight title
"Go big or go home!"
That's what South Elgin senior vaulter Oliver Coric said after having clinched the Upstate Eight pole vault crown as he was looking for more than the 11 feet, 6 inches he had just cleared.
It turned out that both a personal best and perhaps a school record were in his sights.
A few more attempts allowed him to attain both of those goals with a performance of 12-10.
It also served to define the day for his South Elgin teammates as they went on to take UEC team title honors with a total of 166 points Friday afternoon at Elgin High School. The host Maroons (119) took runner-up status while Glenbard East (89 points) took third. Glenbard South (74) and Bartlett (70) rounded out the top five.
"Everyone put in their best today and everyone did a really good job," Coric said of his teammates' effort. "That feeling is a good feeling. It makes all of the hard work pay off."
The Storm went to the top by virtue of six other first-place finishes on the day: the 800 meter relay (1:33.77), 1,600 relay (3:36.25), 400 dash (Konrad Sacha-51.25), triple jump (Jalen Jones-12.61 m), 3,200 (Dylan Lainez-10:28.31) and 110 hurdles (Jordan Jones-15.90).
"I didn't know how many conference champs when I seeded out the meet and we scored it we'd have," South Elgin coach Anthony LaRue said. "I didn't think we were going to get seven. That's super exciting. These guys have worked in this pandemic and they really came out together and it's really great to see them go."
Elgin's second-place efforts was buoyed by five first-place wins including seniors Noah Mack and Emmanuel Lopez each winning two events.
Lopez brought home victory in both the 800 (2:05.52) and 1,600 (4:40.48) while Mack's wins were in the 100 (11.22) and 200 (23.14) to earn him the unofficial title of the UEC'S fastest man.
Mack said that the 89 degree temperatures actually improved his performance.
"I like heat better. It feels better on my joints," Mack said. "Cold, you gotta stay warm throughout the day and in the heat I just keep on my sweats and wear them right before my race. It just feels better."
Glenbard East junior Tyrese Buffkin captured the first event of the day when he cleared 5-11 in the high jump. It was the first of three triumphs the third-place Rams had that included junior Matt Schafer's win in the discus (40.71 m) and a 3,200 relay triumph (8:49.06).