Boys track and field: St. Charles North's Duncan delivers record-setting race
Josh Duncan's final day of high school finished perhaps the only way he knew how.
With a literal bang.
Duncan, St. Charles North's senior sprinter, already owned the state's top 100-meter dash time -- his own mark of 10.52 seconds -- entering Thursday's Class 3A sectional meet.
Duncan ran so fast -- a blistering 10.31-second finish -- he toppled over the fence to stop his immense force in blazing glory. It tied as a top-21 time nationally for high school varsity male 100 meter times, per Athletic.net.
"I'll tell you this: I couldn't have done it without my classmates," Duncan said. "It's [precious] because you never know when you're going to see these individuals again. For them to come out the way they did today and show up and support me, I give all the credit to them."
Wheaton Warrenville South's Reece Young was practically neck-and-neck with Duncan to finish second in 10.40 seconds, the state's second-fastest time. St. Charles East's Josh Evans (10.88) took third, North Stars sprinter Campbell Hughes (10.88 seconds) was fourth and Dundee Crown's Henry Kennedy (10.89) rounded out the wild 100 meter dash qualifiers.
Duncan then blazed again to a 200-meter dash title with a 21.24-second finish.
"I ran for [my teammates]," Duncan said. "I ran for my school. To come back from my injury [from last year], I just wanted to make a statement. Say, 'you know what? I was down, but I'm not out. Because I had a support system, my family, my teammates and classmates who said: 'Otis, you got this' ... I give all the credit to them."
Batavia, meanwhile, turned in a dominating team performance. It was a circumstance not at all unfamiliar to the outdoor season juggernauts.
The Bulldogs cleaned up in state-qualifying relays, bringing its 4x100 (42.25 seconds), 4x200 (1:28.2 seconds) and the 4x400 (3:22.55 seconds) to fly to a sectional meet team title.
The Bulldogs qualified numerous athletes: Scot Parker in the 200 (21.65 seconds), Alec Crum in high jump (1.80. meters), Quintin Lowe in the 3,200 (9:33.54), triple jumper Jalen Buckley (13.95 meters) and Spencer Prats (49.53 meters) will go in discus.
Jonah Fallon (48.97 seconds) and Jacob Hohmann (49.59 seconds) both qualified in the 800, while Nick Fortino (4.73 meters) and Gabriel Benkers (4.17 meters) both qualified in pole vault.
"Everybody just goes out there every day and just works hard," said Lowe, an 800 state qualifier last year. "That's pretty much it."
Buckley, likewise, will be making a return trip to Charleston.
"It's just hard work, perseverance and having fun, honestly," Buckley said. "Every day in practice, we just go in with a positive mindset, have fun and all we do is work hard. I think, for us, [the team camaraderie] is more than just [about] track. It's friends that we're going to have for a long time. It's friends we're around every day in school and track is just a hangout spot, [an outlet]."
North Stars pole vaulters Logan Turney (4.24 meters) and Charles Alegra (4.16 meters) both qualified in pole vault. Paolo Gennarelli qualified in discus (48.97 meters) and shot put (17.02 meters).
"It's really refreshing to know my whole season built up to this moment," said Alegra, a first-time qualifier. "And finishing on my third attempt, getting that and seeing everybody be happy is just insane."
"Last year, I PR'd at 13-6. For going to sectionals and missing it by two inches was pretty heartbreaking," Turney said. "But, getting it here [on] the second attempt an getting it out of the way -- PR'ing at 13-11 is [really fulfilling]."
St. Charles East will send senior distance savant Micah Wilson to defend his state title in the 3,200 (9:18.44) and also the 1,600 (4:24.28). Ethan Heilers qualified in high jump (1.85 meters), Joseph Xotla qualified in the 800 (1:59.54) and Josh Perry qualified in the pole vault (4.17 meters).
DeKalb long jumper Toriano Tate qualified for his second trip down state, with a 7.01 meter attempt. Tate previously beat his school record last week.
"It's kind of what was expected going in," Tate said. "Just making sure I'm on the board and hitting my mark and qualify. I scratched my first attempt so I only did two ... I didn't really feel too good last week and I didn't feel too good this week [physically]. My leg got locked up a little bit in the 4x100 [relay] so I scratched 4x2. Hopefully, my teammates [get] down there so I can be in the 4x2 with them."
The Barbs will send Riley Newport in the 1,600 with a 4:22.00 finish and three relays: 4:100 (42.40), 4x200 (1:29.38 seconds) and 4x400 (3:24.36).
WW South will be well-represented with a healthy contingent. Zach Marisco finished first in discus (50.94 meters) and second in shot put (16.67 meters). Long jumper Owen Haas (6.87 meters) qualified and the Tigers will also send their 4x100 relay (42.21 seconds).