ROCHELLE – All year, the Burlington Central boys track team had been looking up the standings at Kaneland.
But Wednesday at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional, the Rockets turned the table on the Knights, winning, 96-89.5, to claim the title.
“I thought it was Kaneland’s, I really did,” Burlington Central coach Mike Schmidt said. “They were seeded quite a bit ahead of us. Kaneland is a really tough team, they’ve beat us all year. This is the only time we beat them. Kids really stepped up.”
Both teams qualified strong contingents for Charleston next week, as did third-place Princeton (66) and fourth-place Sycamore.
Kaneland coach Andy Drendel said he was satisfied with the performance.
“We did what we expected to do,” Drendel said. “We got three relays down and four individuals. A bunch of seniors got rewarded for their hard work so I’m really proud of them.
Sterling was seventh with 42, Dixon eighth with 41 and Rock Falls ninth with 20. Wheaton finished in a tie for 10th with 15 points and St. Francis was 13th with 3.5 points.
Teegan Davis was a big part of the strong showing for Princeton, qualifying in four events – high jump, triple jump, long jump and the 4x100 relay.
“Especially with the relay and the four other guys going down there, that’s what we were really pushing for today,” Davis said. “We haven’t really made qualifying for that yet and we beat it by 0.4 seconds. It’s a big deal.”
Davis still won the triple jump with Dixon’s Jacob Guse taking second at 12.97 meters to earn the trip to state.
In the long jump, Davis was second at 6.55 meters, with Burlington’s Gavin Sarvis winning. Davis won the high jump at 1.92, with Nathan Rebacz of Kaneland also qualifying at 1.82.
Dixon coach Ryan Deets said it was a good day for Guse.
“We knew Guse at triple jump could happen. It was kind of a good surprise,” Deets said. “Our field events have always been the strength of our team. ... We finally got all three phases down with Guse over there at triple and things finally went how we knew they could.”
In the shot put, four throwers hit the qualifying mark, including Payne Miller (second, 15.4) and Drew Harp (fourth, 15) of Princeton. Dixon’s Dre Jackson won and Eli Pflipsen of Kaneland was third with a 15.25.
Pflipsen won the discus with a 47.92 to qualify for state.
“It’s really nice because last year we were 3A, and this year we moved to 2A,” Pflipsen said. “I’m continuing to get better so it was nice to get ahead of last year’s marks and would have qualified me.”
Three of the four relays had more than two qualifiers, including four 4x100 meter relays making the trip to Charleston. Sycamore won in 42.94, Burlington Central was second in 43.08 and Princeton (43.18) and Kaneland (43.29) also hit qualifying times.
Sterling won the 4x800 in 8:09.11, while Sycamore (8:10.32) and Burlington Central (8:13.8) were under the qualifying mark, as well. Kaneland was victorious in 4x100 in 1:30.98 and Sycamore was second in 1:31.68, the only two teams to advance.
In the 4x400, Sycamore won with a 3:26.1, just ahead of Kaneland’s 3:26.36. Burlington Central was third in 3:27.95. That win ended up qualifying all four relay teams for the Spartans.
“That’s what we’ve been shooting for all year,” Sycamore coach Pete Piccony said. “That was No. 1 goal accomplished. Maybe not as many individuals down, but we got Caden [Emmert in the 800] down, Jeff [Oestericher] went down in the 200, so we can’t be too terribly upset with the overall performance.”
In the 110 hurdles, Matthew Marcum of Rock Falls qualified for state with a 15.83, taking second. Marcum also won the 300 hurdles to qualify for state in 40.01.
Burlington’s Ryan Kries (10:01.02) edged out Kaneland’s Christian Phillips (10:01.05) in the 3,200, with Yusuf Baig of Burlington winning in 9:40.94. Baig also won the 1,600 in 4:23.69, with Sterling’s Dale Johnson second in 4:30.78
Ethan Stoker of Kaneland was third in the pole vault, clearing 3.96 to hit a qualifying distance. Burlington Central’s Grayson Burton tied him and will join him in Charleston.
Sycamore’s Caden Emmert won the 800 in 1:58.48, with Thomas Holcomb of Sterling second in 2:04.09. Zac Schmidt of Burlington won the 400 in 50.08, while Dixon’s Jacob Gusse was third with a qualifying time of 50.99.
In the 100 dash, Keegan Fogarty of Princeton was second in 11.00, while Burlington’s Nolan Milas was third in 11.01. Fogarty took second in the 200, as well, in 22.26, while Sycamore’s Jeffrey Oestericher was third but hit the qualifying mark of 22.31.