Boys track and field: St. Viator, Carmel have special day in Charleston
CHARLESTON -- St. Viator junior Lucas Doland downed an electrolyte drink at 10:30 a.m. Friday to prepare for the Lions' 3,200-meter relay around noon.
Ten minutes later the Illinois High School Association pushed running events in the Class 2A boys state track and field finals to 5 p.m. due to the 95-degree heat that baked Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field.
"We went back, got some good naps in, played cards and came back out here ready to kill," Doland said.
The team of Doland, Rowan McDonnell, Connor Flynn and Michael Schumacher destroyed their season personal record in the event and place third in the relay. Their time of 8 minutes, 9.25 seconds earned St. Viator's best state finish ever in the event.
"We all came out ready to go," said second runner McDonnell. "I think we all ran great PRs. This time itself is just a huge PR for our team, like 9 seconds. Everyone was prepared, everyone ran aggressively and was looking to pass. I'm just really proud of the entire relay."
The Lions were never farther back than fourth place. They jockeyed with Burlington Central, Aurora Central Catholic and eventual winner Sycamore and held a late lead until Mascoutah -- which won its first track team title -- also bit them at the end.
"I was trying to stay with that Sycamore kid (Caden Emmert) the whole time," said Flynn, the sole senior among junior teammates.
"I was kind of surprised because I don't really run the best times, I'm the slowest kid on my team but I held with him pretty well, I thought, and I thought I set up my team for a good third-place finish, so I'm happy with that."
Not just happy.
"We're all close friends," McDonnell said, "so I think it means something more."
Doland and Schumacher returned to place just off all-state pace in individual races. Doland ran 11th in the 800-meter run, Schumacher 10th in the 1,600.
The Lions' 400 relay of Brendan Oleksak, Lucas Barisas, Dominic Palase and Daniel Crawford placed 12th, and Barisas finished 13th in the open 200 at 22.83.
Schumacher entered the 1,600 with the 11th seed and did what athletes want to do -- improve. He topped his sectional time to run 4:27.74.
"A PR's a PR, so I'm happy with it any day of the week," he said.
"It was a good first meet at state, missing out on COVID last year," Schumacher said.
"It was great to come down with my teammates. We bring down sprinters, distance guys, bring everybody together, have fun. But we also come down and represent our school, our families, all the teammates that didn't make it here. To be able to make all of them proud is really special," he said.
Carmel's Jalen Burton had a special day, two all-state finishes and another just off the podium.
In his only prep track season the future Bowling Green defensive back placed fourth in the 100 dash at 10.96 seconds, fourth in the 200 at 22.20, and 10th in long jump at 6.62 meters, around 21 feet, 9 inches.
"I was happy," he said of the 100. "I knew that these people were going to make me compete, going to make me go to my best, and that was my best so far. I'm just thankful for all that, thankful for the coaches who were giving me little tips before."
Burton focused on football for the Corsairs, but said he wished he'd gone out for track earlier. He wanted to in 2020, but COVID wiped that out.
"I was very happy," he said. "It gave me a good experience and it taught me some things that I need to work on for speed and development, so I really appreciate that."