DOWNERS GROVE – The 2010 Lake Park boys track and field team memorably captured one of its five largest-class team state championships by scoring all of its points exclusively in the six field events.
The Lancers’ current edition has many of the same characteristics.
“In my opinion, we are the best [field] team in the state,” said Lake Park senior Lucah Jones, who will undoubtedly be one of the discus leaders after uncorking a personal-best effort of 169 feet, 11 inches to win the Bud Mohns Invitational on April 16 at Downers Grove South. “We have a lot of weapons.”
The Lancers entered the outdoor season ranked third in Class 3A – behind only defending state runner-up Minooka and fellow DuKane Conference power Batavia. Lake Park’s Desmond Horton and Cerese Cooper also are legitimate state-title contenders in the two vertical jumps and the shot put, respectively.
Horton skipped the long jump April 16 to concentrate on his true specialty, the triple jump. Horton hopped, skipped and jumped his way to a commanding win in 46-3.
“I am looking for a particular mark and working on my mechanics,” Horton said. “In triple jump, I’m looking for 48, maybe 49, feet. I just have to take it one step at a time.”
Cooper augmented Jones’ victory in the discus with a 56-1 winning effort in the shot put.
On the track, the Lancers’ Aidan Killmer swept the 110- and 300-meter hurdles in 15.63 and 41.38 seconds, respectively, to spearhead the Lake Park running effort.
“It’s a nice feeling to have,” Killmer said of his twin wins, the lone individual to accomplish that feat at the invite. “It’s always a competition with yourself to see what time you can get. My 300 hurdles times are coming down.”
As brilliant as Lake Park is in the field, however, the Lancers did not have the depth on the track to forestall the barnburner between West Suburban Silver powers York and Hinsdale Central as well as south suburban sprint-heavy Andrew.
With three competitors instead of the customary two allowed in the eight individual running races, York pulled out a 126-120 victory over the Red Devils.
Andrew (114 points) denied Lake Park (97) for third.
As usual, the Dukes used their distance-running hegemony to full effect. Jeff Luka – with teammate Emmet Doyle in close pursuit – won the metric mile in 4:34.15.
York kicked off the individual running events with Ethan Summer’s championship in the 3,200 run in 9:35.33.
“Summer ran well, so I had to follow that up,” Luka said. “The focus was to win and get the points. The last lap was like a victory lap.”
“I wasn’t running for time,” Summer said of his only event. “I was drafting off the two [Morton] guys [runner-up Daniel Chavez and Alex Bacci]. I wanted to take [the lead] when the time was right.”
York sprinter Kelly Watson was denied the 200 dash title by one-hundredth of a second (23.75) by Andrew junior Brandan Kelly after Watson earlier won the 100 in 11.56.
“I knew it was on me to give us the team title,” Watson said.
In terms of state pedigree, Dan Watcke was in a league of his own at the first of the back-to-back invites that Downers South hosts.
The Hinsdale Central junior is the defending state champion in the metric half-mile.
Watcke also anchored the Red Devils’ 1,600 relay to a state title last June.
Watcke skipped the open 800 to run two 400 races.
Storming the field in the open quarter-mile in 48.89, Watcke later teamed with 800 champion Colby Revord – among others – to post an outdoor-best 3:23.03 metric-mile relay clocking.
“To be a good half-miler, you have to run good quarters,” Watcke said. “We are honing our speed work. The relays are super fun. [The relay state championship] meant far more [than the 800 state title].”
“If [Watcke] were in there, he would have got me,” Revord said of his 1:56.3 championship verdict in the 800 run. “I’ll take the win this time. It’s not so important to be good early. We want to be good in later May.”
Revord will be the third member of his family to compete at the University of Missouri in the fall. Revord edged Downers South senior standout Tim Neumann in the 800 by seven-tenths.
“[Revord] is a fantastic athlete,” said Neumann, who met the Top Times indoor qualifying standard at every distance between 400 and 3,200 meters.
The host Mustangs finished a distant fifth with 44 points.