Boys track and field: Glenbard W. nips WW South for sectional crown
Glenbard West senior Tyler Yeager already had qualified for the Class 3A boys track and field state meet in the 800-meter run and with the 3,200 relay at the Class 3A Hoffman Estates sectional.
His anchor leg for the non-qualifying 1,600 relay proved just as important.
With a team tie for first entering that final event, Yeager held fourth place and the Hilltoppers pulled out their second consecutive sectional team championship 94-90 over Wheaton Warrenville South after previously not winning one since 1986.
"Going into the race, we knew we just need (to beat seventh-place) Wheaton, the orange-and-black uniforms," Yeager said. "The first three legs, that's all I was looking for. I knew I just had to hold on."
Glenbard West senior Sean Hopkins advanced in all four individual events after great battles with Lake Park junior Desmond Horton and WW South junior Reece Young.
Hopkins won long jump (21-10) with Horton second (21-4), and then Horton won triple jump (46-10) with Hopkins second (44-11). Hopkins won the 100 over Young 10.94 to 10.95 before Reece won the 200 over Hopkins 22.30 to 22.34.
"I'm glad I'm going to state for all four of my events but today I feel like my performance could have been a little better, especially in the jumps," Hopkins said. "I'm ready to try to win this, get some medals."
Horton slightly improved his lifetime-best triple jump of 46-9 3/4, which ranks fourth in Lake Park history behind three state champions.
"I'm going to bring so much energy into it so I can win state," Horton said. "I need to get more bounce in my jumps and focus more."
Young helped the Tigers' No. 4-seeded lineup with seniors Michael Foster, Patrick Cunningham and DJ Almada win a 400 relay (43.14) in which the top five seeds entered .25 apart.
"(WW South coach Cam) Culpepper said win the 4 by 100 and everything will fall into place (for us)," Young said. "I feel very confident and I think I can do very well at state."
York seniors Sam Ayers, Thomas Braun, Garrett Schwan and Colin Hill won the 3,200 relay in a season-best 7:52.69.
York senior Will Heuer won the 400 (50.59) and delivered a come-from-behind 49.7 anchor leg for the winning 1,600 relay with seniors Esau Carbajal, Jalon Jones and Hill (3:25.92). Heuer had been part of the Dukes' top-seeded 400 relay that was disqualified after a missed baton exchange.
"What a way to end it. Very exciting. I just wanted it so bad (in the 1,600 relay)," Heuer said. "It's one of those things where you can let (the 400 relay) sting for a little bit but then you have to pick yourself up."
Wheaton North junior Daniel Lang won the 110 high hurdles (15.07) by cutting his DuKane Conference Meet winning time by .28.
"It feels great after all of the adversity and not having a full season last year," Lang said. "(Training) the past week has been pretty good and specified on little mistakes and it's been helping."
After the Falcons were a non-qualifying third in the 400 relay by .12, they came back to qualify with second in the 800 relay by .02 over the Tigers and 1,600 relay.
Glenbard East junior Tyrese Buffkin cleared a personal-best 5-3 to win high jump and was joined by Conant's Devon Ellis, Glenbard West's Matthew Travers and Hoffman Estates' Dasharr Scott in clearing the 5-2 standard to advance. Ellis is Conant's first state qualifier since 2006.
Senior Hamza Kittaneh became Addison Trail's first state qualifier since 2006 when he won the 300 intermediate hurdles (40.07).
Kittaneh injured his hamstring doing the 110 high hurdles at the West Suburban Gold Meet and scratched the 300 hurdles. With help from his coaches and mom's "olive oil remedy," Kittaneh ran a personal best by .69, although he scratched the 110s to help make sure.
"I'm a little disappointed (about scratching) but what I learned last week is sometimes you have to sacrifice to gain," Kittaneh said.
Willowbrook senior throwers Sergio Ayala and Enrique Cruz achieved their dream of qualifying for state together.
On his fourth and final throw, Ayala won discus with 155-4, a personal best by 17 feet and beyond the 153-3 qualifying standard -- after being at 131-1.
"It feels surreal," Ayala said. "There's not really a way to explain it. It was just the way it came out of my hand. I knew. You just know it's the one."
Elk Grove senior Luan Ademovski won shot put with a personal-best 53-10 1/4. Cruz and Wheaton North's Aiden Olsen also beat the 52-5 qualifying standard to advance.
In his last two meets, Ademovski has gone from the 48s to a victorious 51-8 1/2 at the Mid-Suburban League Meet and another two feet Friday.
"One hundred percent confidence (from MSL) because it just made me push harder. It boosted my competition level in practice," Ademovski said.
Schaumburg junior Tim Gale's 14-8 won pole vault, in which Lake Park's Kyle Varga, WW South's Luke Richards and Glenbard West's Mykhail Sandacz also cleared the 13-8 standard to qualify.
Gale has cleared 15-0, but he was coming off a no-height mark at the Mid-Suburban League Meet after he entered and missed at 13-8. He attempted 15-2 Friday.
"(Conference) was devastating. Today went a lot better," Gale said. "I let it go -- absolutely. If I can work hard this week, I think I've got a shot at (all-state)."
Hoffman Estates seniors Jaelyn Williams, Jerette Passero and Michael Haw were part of the winning 800 relay with senior Kenny Badejo (1:30.78) and second-place 400 relay that advanced with season bests.
"Honestly, this whole season we've been pushing just because we got robbed of last season (by the COVID pandemic) so we've been motivated as ever," Williams said. "We lost by (.10 in the 400 relay) so we knew what we had to do (to win the 800 relay)."
Hot temperatures and a midafternoon start time affected solid distance groups. Six entries in the 800, 1,600 or 3,200 had run state-qualifying standards during the season but none did Friday.
The six qualifiers advanced on place -- York's Ethan Summer (9:35.32) and Jeff Luka in the 3,200, Wheaton North's Ryan Schreiner (1:59.06) and Yeager in the 800 and Glenbard West senior Pierce Cousins (4:24.33) and York's Mickey Vreeland in the 1,600.
"I stayed in my car for like two hours just to stay cold. It was brutal," said Cousins, who surged from third to first in the final 300 meters. "That's my favorite spot. I was worried they were going to take the kick at 500. I knew I still had the gas to push the 300 at the end."
Also taking second to advance were WW South's Lance Kotke in the 400 as a No. 6 seed, Lake Park's Aidan Killmer in the 300 hurdles and Lucah Jones in discus and Glenbard West's 3,200 relay.