Boys track and field: Distance runners giving Barrington a big boost
The Barrington boys track team has flipped the switch into overdrive over the past few weeks.
The Broncos won the MSL West title and the Lake Zurich Bear invite crown, plus took second at the Stevenson Relays. "The goal is to keep improving and staying healthy," Barrington coach Todd Kuklinski said. "Mid-May is everything in track and field."
Reasons for the success? Kuklinski points to the Broncos' distance group for starters. "Our distance group has been phenomenal all season indoor and outdoor," he said.
That group is led by the likes of Joey Furlong and Zach Daniel. "They can cover any event from 400 meters on up and excel in any situation," Kuklinski said. "They set the tone for the entire distance group."
Furlong and Connor Lee are team captains. "They are our captains and it shows why," Kuklinski said. "They have been great all year, but they are better leaders and teammates and that says much. We will miss them when they move on, but will enjoy the next month of racing as they prove that they are some of the best in the state of Illinois."
Another team tearing it up is Prospect, which has taken home team hardware in every meet it has attended. Wins came at the indoor York invitational, the MSL Nagel-Saylor invite and the Buffalo Grove BATE invite.
Coach Jay Renaud's squad has all sorts of folks ranked in Class 3A, including Bryce Tuchner fifth in the 110 hurdles and 10th in the 300 hurdles. The 400 relay team of Ben Sahakian, Sean Beihoffer, Matthew Raitano and Aidan Orlando are fifth, while the 800 relay of Beihoffer, Dominik Balenda, Raitano and Orlando is also fifth. The 3,200 quartet of TJ Garland, Luka Kuzmanovic, Andrew Katsogianos and Balenda is ranked sixth. Balenda is ranked third in the 400, while Clayton Kamp is ranked ninth in the shot.
Renaud threw particular praise toward Balenda and Tuchner. "Dominik is a superstar who can do it all," he said. "He has a range that few athletes have. We can put him anywhere in our lineup and he will do it well and with a great attitude. Bryce is ranked in the Top 10 in two events and is only a roll in the 110 hurdles. He has improved greatly in the 300 hurdles."
Nic Fardella has emerged as one of the Knights' top 400 runners. "He did dedicate himself to getting better all fall by joining our sprint/cross country group," Renaud explained. "Because of Nic's hard work, he has found himself consistently in varsity lineups and score points for us in big meets."
Indoors, the Saxons won the Rockford Auburn invitational title at both levels, won the Bolingbrook invite at the varsity level, took second at Maine East and finished fourth at MSL indoors. Outdoors so far, Schaumburg won the Barrington/Elgin invite (varsity), took second at the MSL West meet and took second at Lake Forest (both levels).
Coach Ryan Senica cited many individual standouts, including junior Omarion Jones being consistent in the 100, 200, long jump and 400 relay, sophomore Alex Valencia improving in the 200, 400, long jump and 400 relay, and senior Marcos Jaimes' "electric" performance in the 400 and his support of the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. Senior Tim Gale has finished first in the pole vault in every meet this year with 15-4 being his best mark. Sophomore Anthony Barcecas has been putting up varsity numbers at the frosh-soph level in the hurdles, while senior Kyle Strom has been a nice surprise in the high jump. Senior Cole Rothers has been improving and moving up in the hurdles.
"We are looking for a strong finish to end the year and qualify numerous athletes for the state series," Senica said.
The Vikings recently took third at the Lake Zurich Bear invite behind a strong performance from 2021 state medalist Will Stewart in the 100 dash. He ran 10.87, which places him in the hunt for state contention again, coach Jeff Williams noted.
Theo Cunningham won his heat of the mile at Palatine Distance Night with a time of 4:28. "Theo will be a big part of success in the 4-by-800, mile and 4-by-400," Williams said.
Williams added a big surprise so far has been the efforts of Michael Labno. "Michael started as a high jumper and sprinter and has transitioned very successfully to distance," he said. "He is approaching the state-qualifying mark for the 800 and leads off our 4-by-400."
Maine East update:
Senior Lukasz Iwanowski recently won the 1,600 at the Gus Scott invitational and Naperville North. He ran 4:32.86. Iwanowski came back to anchor the winning 1,600 medley relay at the Notre Dame Dons Relays. Senior Michel Michael placed third in the same invite with a big personal best throw of 42.29 meters.
Sophomore Jordan Landau also is turning heads. Coach Chris Peters noted Landau ran a strong 300 hurdle race at Naperville and then came back to turn in a strong 24.22 performance in the 200 at the Dons Relays.
"The biggest surprise right now is how well our young guys are competing," Peters said. "The team is mostly freshmen and sophomores and they are really developing and competing to the best of their abilities each week."
Maine South update:
The Hawks won the District 207 meet at home recently against Maine East and Maine West. South's 3,200 relay of Joey Karlesky, Dom Parrillo, Luke Pravacek and Luca Arcuri won the Lake Zurich invite title, while the 400 relay team of Mike Sajenko, Keith McCarthy, Carter Collins and Neil Meer was second at Lake Zurich.
Collins, also a pole vaulter, earned a season-best vault of 3.91 meters, which ranks him second in the Glenbrook South sectional. Distance runner Pravacek won his heat at Palatine Distance Night at 4:28.69, which is approaching state qualifying time.
The Pirates, who will host the 89th Palatine Relays Saturday at 8:45 a.m. with 13 boys team and 12 girls teams (plus at intermission alums are invited to run the alumni mile around 11:45 a.m.), won a recent dual meet against Fremd and the Cross Town Classic trophy. Fremd leads the Cross Town Classic 5-4. "It's always a great meet," Palatine coach John Nalley said.
Palatine's frosh-soph team won the 10-team Lake Forest invitational.
Senior Jake Bostick, who will play football at Iowa, has long-jumped 22-11 3/4, which ranks second on the school's all-time list. J'hermari Mabry, another senior who could play either football or run track or do both in college, has gone 57-1 in the shot put (second all-time in Palatine history) and 159-9 in the discus (sixth all-time Palatine). Kieran Maude, who will head to UW-Oshkosh to continue his throws career, has gone 53-2 in the shot (ninth all-time at Palatine).
Senior Riley Beasley (Ohio Northern) has become a consistent 800 runner and clocked a personal-best 2:00.65 at Palatine Distance Night. "He definitely is having a great year," Nalley said.
Gentry Mabry (no relation to J'hermari Mabry) has shown great versatility in the sprints and hurdles. He ran 52.79 in the 400 and in his first year doing the 300 hurdles has gone 43.96 in that event.
Maine West update:
The Warriors have been powered by senior Luke Michels and freshman Maksym Makota. Michels went 54.71 in the 400 at Palatine, while Makota ran 11.89 in the 100 at Leyden and 24.47 in the 200 at Palatine.
Coach Nate Hassman noted West has seen plenty of progress with its sophomore and freshman contingent that includes 10th graders Ryan Hauptman, Ben Huk, Ernie Martinez and Eric Zheng, along with freshmen Jonathan Aiyenowo, Logan Amar, Frankie Ferrariolo, Andrew Hernandez, Makota, Yulien Morgado, Miguel Oropeza, Gerardo Perez, Hector Servin and Erik Zotoiu.
Sophomore Gaven Corpin broke the school frosh-soph indoor record in the 600 dash earlier this year and was also the F-S MSL champion in the 800. In addition to Corpin, senior Nigel Whitaker also has excelled for the Cougars. "Both have shown versatility and a desire to succeed in every setting," Conant coach John Powers said.