The Sycamore boys track team won the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional on Thursday, edging Sandwich, 106-100.5, and will send eight entries to the state championships next week in Charleston – including all four relay teams.
“We can’t complain about that,” Sycamore coach Pete Piccony said. “You know with how hot it was, it was really hard for the distance guys, but the year off made them realize not to take anything for granted. Most guys did better than maybe what they should have, on paper we should have taken maybe third, but our guys came out and did better than some other teams, and we were able to take first.”
Genoa-Kingston was last of the 11 teams, but will send Sean Abracia-Wendel to the state meet after he set a PR in the 100-meter run in 11.11 - 0.01 ahead of the qualifying time.
Tyler Carter won both hurdles races, finishing the 110 in 14.97 and the 300 in 39.15, both personal records.
Having lost last year because of the pandemic, Piccony said he was extra motivated for this year.
“It probably motivated him more than anybody else having lost his junior year,” Piccony said. “He came out this year and looked good. It was a short season, so it was hard to train and he rose above it every single week. The way he flies over those hurdles is phenomenal.”
Olek Clark also will head down to state in the long jump and triple jump. Clark cleared 6.65 in the long jump to take second and was second in the triple jump as well, clearing 13.58.
The relays were top-two in all four events, with Jeffrey Oestreicher, Noah Schmidt, Alec Garcia and Bailey Wiegmann finishing the 400 relay in 43.57. Kyle Huber joined Schmidt, Wiegmann and Oestreicher to take second in the 800 relay in 1:31.88.
The Spartans also were second in the 1,600 relay in 3:29.97. Carson Campbell, Caden Emmert, Alec Garcia and Donald Gramer made up that relay team. The 3,200 relay of Jack Nick Kocher, Campbell, Emmert and Gramer won in 8:18.78.
“We’ve been running good times all year,” Piccony said. “We knew we could do it but we had to prove it. Track is hard. You’ve got one night to do it. One shot to make it count. It’s a prime example of stepping up, and next week we’ll try to do it again.”
Class 3A Batavia Sectional: DeKalb ended up taking fifth and Kaneland fourth, while Batavia won the meet.
The Barbs will send four athletes to state next week. The 800 relay of Mikaylius Johnson, Marion Taylor, Michael Robinson and DeMarrea Davis was second in 1:30.14, a season best.
JaMari Newell took second in the 400 in 49.58, a PR. Riley Newport was third in the 1,600 meter, but set a new personal best of 4:21.36 to hit a qualifying time.
Davis also was second in the open 200. finishing in 22.2 to reach state next week.
Kaneland’s Porter Conroy qualified in the high jump for his first trip to Charlestown. Batavia’s Casey Carlson also qualified.
Conroy, an Eastern Illinois commit, won’t be too far from his future home.
“It’s amazing. I’ve been working my butt off, I’d like to say, since freshman year to get up there and qualify,” Conroy said. “I really feel like I showed what I can truly do this year, and I know I can show more at state next week, so I’m super excited.”
Kaneland’s Aiden Gatz and Ted Allen, Batavia’s Nick Fortino, Geneva’s Roman Cramer and St. Charles North’s Josh Kolodziej all qualified in pole vault.
“I didn’t think I would be here four years ago, but here I am,” Gatz said. “Took a lot of work, but here we are.”
As a freshman, Gatz was only jumping about 8-feet. Through dedication and lots of practice, he can now say he’s among the state’s top pole vaulters.
“Took a long time, but we finally got there,” Gatz said. “Grew, got stronger, faster. It didn’t really start to click until this year.”