Boys Track and Field: ‘This means everything’ Downers Grove South’s Eli Reed stuns state meet with 400 title
WW South’s Reece Young wins 100, Hinsdale Central’s Dan Watcke second in 800
By Bob Narang
CHARLESTON – Eli Reed said his special trademark “palms up” routine is for special occasions.
The Downers Grove South senior often performs the routine, which was made famous by Michael Jordan, in football season. The Northern Illinois football recruit said it became a symbol.
“The palms up, that’s a football thing, for sure,” Reed said. “I started doing it my junior year after scoring touchdowns. When you win, and it’s an expectation, you have to do it. I only use it for winning or special moments. It’s an expectation.”
His next step might be to play college football, but Reed made a point to have one last “special moment” in track Saturday afternoon.
In a stunning performance that shocked several track observers, Reed flamed ahead of the field to win the 400-meter dash in a time of 48.13 seconds at the Class 3A state track and field meet at O’Brien Stadium.
When Reed took the big step to reach first place on the medal stand to mug for pictures, he did his “palms up” for an ideal picture moment to end his illustrious career.
Reed said he realized he might be able to win a state title in the 400 during the Top Times Meet earlier this season.
“I started focusing all my energy to win the 400 title,” Reed said. “This means everything to me because I’ve been running track for so long and to finally have this pay off in my last race is amazing. ... This was the goal. … The key for me was to still have my legs at the end.”
Downers Grove South took third in the 4x800 relay with a clocking of 7 minutes, 48.83 seconds.
Wheaton Warrenville South’s Reece Young remains open on his college decision, but the football and track star might have a few more options after his victory in the 100 dash (10.58).
“That was the best run I’ve had in my life,” Young said. “The key was getting my quad healthy. It hurt a lot on Friday. I hurt it at sectionals last week. I was stretching every day and drinking water. I didn’t feel good (Friday). Around the 60 to 70-meter mark, I didn’t see anybody around me. I can’t describe this feeling. I might be leaning toward track now in college.”
Wheaton Warrenville South had two more individual medals thanks to Zach Marsico earning sixth in the shot put (17.25 meters) and ninth in the discus (47.73).
“I feel pretty good, especially after I didn’t qualify for state in the shot put last year,” Marsico said. “I worked really hard during the offseason, so it feels good to reap the benefits of my hard work. I really didn’t expect much out of discus, so I feel pretty good to come out on top and get a medal.”
After a late surge in the final 30 meters in Friday’s 1,600 prelim to win his heat, Downers Grove North’s Roy Llewellyn just missed duplicating the feat in Saturday’s finals. The Carleton College recruit was overtaken by Edwardsville’s Ryan Watts in the final 60 meters to settle for second place in the loaded field.
“I went out there and gave it all I had and did not leave it wondering,” Llewellyn said. “I didn’t feel Watts coming at the end. He’s fast. My eyes were mostly on the clock. I feel like I exceeded my own expectations place-wise because it was such a strong field. It was an amazing field out there and I’m glad I could see what I could do against the best of the best.”
Vince Davero added to Downers Grove North’s medal total with a sixth-place effort in the triple jump. North’s 800 relay took fifth and the 3,200 relay finished seventh.
Hinsdale Central entered the meet as a team to watch. The Red Devils claimed ninth place with 24 points, with Daniel Watcke leading the way with a second-place medal in the 800 (1:53.23). Watcke ran the final leg of Hinsdale Central’s second-place 4x400 relay (3:20). Hinsdale Central also took second in the 4x800 relay with a time of 7:45.91. York’s 4x800 relay earned a fifth-place medal to add to the West Suburban Silver’s tally.
Wheaton North was sparked by Ryan Schreiner’s fourth-place showing in the 800.
In the 2A field, Benet senior Jack Chvatel said his goal was to end the final track event of his life in solid fashion. He accomplished his goal by collecting a fourth-place medal in the high jump at 1.90 meters. Teammate Jason Huang finished third in the 110 hurdles in a time of 14.69 meters.
“It feels nice to get something to commemorate the moment,” Chvatel said. “I’m just happy I got fourth and a medal in my first time at state. I just tried to keep calm and keep the stress down. I just made the finals and it gave me this shot to get a medal.”
In Class 1A, Westmont’s Michael Doll earned a fourth-place medal in the 300 hurdles to go with a seventh-place medal in the 110 hurdles.