Boys Track and Field: Zac Schmidt, Burlington Central race past field at Glenbard South for first sectional title in six years
By Kevin McGavin - Daily Herald Media Group
GLEN ELLYN – Zac Schmidt has unfinished business to close out his junior year.
The Burlington Central star runner made an immediate impact on the program as a freshman two years ago in helping guide the Rockets’ 1,600-meter relay quartet to a fourth-place finish at the Class 2A boys track and field state finals.
It was more than just that as Schmidt crossed the line first Thursday afternoon in the final event of the Glenbard South Sectional in Glen Ellyn.
Schmidt crossed the line in 3 minutes, 28.64 to cement the first sectional team championship in six years for his father Mike, the Rockets’ head coach.
“I am very happy today but I know I have a lot more to do,” said the younger Schmidt, who tasted nothing but victories for the Rockets in the open 400 (49.87) and 3,200 relay (8:15.61) as well. “We know our history in the four-by-eight and four-by four, so we take pride in those relays. This year for sure we’re trying to do big things at state.”
The Schmidts will have plenty of company in Charleston at the one-day state finals a week from Friday as the Rockets dominated the field with their 146.66-102 victory over Fenwick.
St. Francis had two seniors combine for three individual titles in finishing fourth (54); 110 high hurdler Ryan Daca was the lone qualifier for fifth-place Glenbard South (39). Aurora Central Catholic Colin Dallas’ 13-feet-6-inch clearance in the pole vault powered the seventh-place Chargers (30). The Montini championship sprint-relay crew at 800 meters highlighted the Broncos’ eighth-place verdict.
Lisle and Wheaton Academy had their seasons come to a close.
The Rockets’ other metric-mile-relay members — Nolan Milas, Jacoby Haynes and Leighton Deitz — are all heading to Eastern Illinois University in multiple events.
Milas was runner-up in the 300 intermediate hurdles; Haynes performed a similar finish in the open 400, and Deitz was on the 3,200 crew.
“We have a few seniors on the relays,” the younger Schmidt said. “I want to make sure their last race is a good one.”
Not only in the 400 dash, but also in the shot put did the Rockets sweep the competition.
Jake Borman (50-6) and Eric Metz did the trick in the shot put; the former was runner-up in the discus for another berth.
Yusuf Baig was one of three individual two-event winners as the junior triumphed with few issues at both 3,200 and 1,600 meters.
“I was just getting ready for the state series,” said Baig, who was clocked in respective times of 9:41.61 and 4:29.74. “I was running so low that that will get me in the fast heat (in the 3,200) at Charleston. In the mile, I just went for it to secure the win.”
“It’s much better to finish first,” ACC pole-vaulter Dallas said. “It was between me and another dude (Elmwood Park senior Dan Golinski). He went out at 13-3, and I made my first attempt at 13-6.”
St. Francis’ Jackson Gerard was the third multiple-event champion as he prolonged his prep career with wins on the track and in the field. Gerard should enjoy a lofty seed in the long jump with his 23-5 mark.
The Dartmouth football recruit then captured the status of the fastest boy at the sectional with his 10.98 effort in the 100 dash.
“The blocks were a little slippery today,” Gerard said. “I finished strong and had good competition. I think (23-5) comes in around third in state (for the regular season).”
Shane Anderson was the Spartans’ other gold medalist; improving his personal-best discus effort by almost six feet, Anderson upset Borman to win at 151-6.
“Competition was pretty hard, so I had to push myself to get to state,” Anderson said. “My mindset was to go in there, hit the first throw and qualify for state.”
Daca was runner-up in the 110 hurdles.
“It definitely would have been good to see a bunch of other (teammates) go,” Daca said. “You practice the whole season with the team. You want to stick with them to the end.”
Montini had its main consolation in the 800 relay as sophomore anchor Luke Hemmersmeier crossed first.
Fenwick had the third team sweep of the sweltering afternoon in the 800 run. Lee O’Bryan had a second wind with 300 meters to go to take the crown in 1:58.73. Grayden Rill duplicated his runner-up finish in the metric mile with his 1:59.15 for the Friars.
“I have run a lot of half-miles this season and went out too fast,” O’Bryan said. “I went out a little more conservative.”
“I am just really excited to be one-two with my teammate,” Rill said. “I have been focusing on the mile but have doing better in the eight.”
Stephen Brown and Jacque Walls were the Friars’ sprints standouts as the Friars won the 400 relay; Brown dusted the field in the open 200.