Boys Track and Field: ‘It’s pretty cool’ Yorkville’s Kyle Clabough captures state shot put championship
Yorkville’s Ivan Westcott, Austin Popplewell medal; Oswego’s Caleb Wright fourth in both jumps
By Bob Narang
CHARLESTON – Yorkville junior Kyle Clabough can easily recall his first experience at a state meet.
In middle school, Clabough had just started his track career but showed glimmers of promise in the throwing events.
“I qualified for state in middle school, but was not nearly on the level of a state champ,” Clabough said.
A few years later, Clabough can claim the distinction of being a state champion. His top toss of 18.76 meters earned him a Class 3A state championship in the shot put on Saturday afternoon.
His performance put his name in special and among rare company in program history. Clabough is just Yorkville’s second individual state champion. He joins Dave Cox, who won the 300-meter low hurdles in 1986 in Class A.
Standing near a fenced area, Clabough expressed pride in his sudden rise to the top of the shot put world.
“That’s part of the reason I’m actually proud of this because I didn’t start out like the attitude that I could win state when I was younger,” he said. “I worked really hard for this.”
Clabough said the conditions and competing in his first state meet played a factor into not topping his personal record, but he edged out Vernon Hills senior Hunter Matuch (18.76) as the only competitor to hit the 18-meter standard. Oswego’s Matthew Egly finished in 11th place in the shot put with a toss of 15.37 meters.
“I came into the meet, and my hope was to get a personal record, which didn’t happen, so it’s pretty cool that I got the win,” Clabough said. “I’m pretty happy with how I did. I’ve been working a long time to win this. It wasn’t like an amazing throw, but the competition and nerves make it difficult at state. I had so many people, from my coaches and parents, help me.”
Clabough said he overcame a brief bout of nerves in his first appearance in the state meet.
“I was pretty nervous but once I got my first throw, " he said. “But later, I was calm and just focused on throwing better. I had to just focus. We had a short delay, and get my legs ready to go and be fast out of the back because I was kind of going slow on the first two.”
Yorkvillesenior Ivan Westcott put his name on the all-state team with an eighth-place finish in the 800 meters (1:56.74). Austin Popplewell earned ninth place in the 3,200 in a time of 9:21.80 for the Foxes.
Oswego’s Caleb Wright set a pair of new personal bests at the state meet, claiming fourth place in the triple jump at 13.99 meters.
Wright also set a new personal record in the long jump at the state meet, which helped him place fourth with a top leap of 6.86 meters.
Oswego East’s Kacey Battle, the son of former Illinois hoops legend Kenny Battle, was locked into a spirited high jump event for the state title with several competitors. He topped out at 1.95 meters to place seventh in the state.