RICHMOND – Marian Central’s Peter Walsdorf and St. Viator’s Michael Schumacher enjoy a friendly competition.
The East Suburban Catholic Conference mates found themselves in of one of the more highly contested races Wednesday at the Class 2A Richmond-Burton Boys Track and Field Sectional.
Schumacher passed Walsdorf with about 300 meters to go in the 1,600, but Walsdorf, a Kansas commit for cross country, had one kick left in the final 100 to win the race.
Walsdorf won the 3,200 earlier in the day, while Schumacher also was a two-time state qualifier, advancing as part of the Lions’ winning 4x800 relay (along with Connor Flynn, Rowan McDonnell and Lucas Doland).
“We’re conference mates, we race each other in [cross country], but we haven’t really gotten to race each other in duals or quads,” Schumacher said. “I know his kick. I’ve been on the wrong end of it a few few times. I tried to make an early move, and I guess I just didn’t get enough separation.”
Walsdorf, a senior, won the 1,600 in 4:28.04, while Schumacher (4:29.14), a junior, finished second.
“He made a real good move at the 300,” Walsdorf said. “I was like, ‘I’ve got to step it up.’ Around the 100, I had a little more left than I thought. That kind of helped me at the end. I hope to see him again at state.”
The 1,600 race was much closer than the 3,200, which Walsdorf won by more than 36 seconds. Walsdorf won the 2-mile race in 9:46.24 – far from his outdoor personal best time of 9:22.25.
“It was fun. It got me down to state, so I’m happy with it. Not quite the time I wanted, but not every day can be your best day,” said Walsdorf, who was 12th in the 3,200 at state as a sophomore. “There’s a lot of fast guys at state, so it will be a tough, competitive race. We’ll see how it turns out. I’ll shoot for the win. If I can’t get that, something close to that.”
Walsdorf’s teammate, senior Jeremy Kleberg, was first in the pole vault with a personal best of 11 feet, 6 inches. Woodstock North freshman Landan Creighton also advanced with a personal best, hitting 10 feet.
“Last year was the year I started [pole vaulting], and COVID canceled it, so it’s good to be back,” Kleberg said. “I felt nervous because it’s the biggest meet. When the season started, I was clearing 9-6. I usually vault indoors. Outdoors, though, it is a bigger adjustment. But I got more comfortable and stronger.”
Richmond-Burton senior Josh Leslie won the triple jump (40-8) and was runner-up in the 110 hurdles to advance in both events. Johnsburg junior James Kaunas was second in the triple jump to advance.
“It’s really cool, and I didn’t expect for that to happen,” Leslie said. “I’m still actually really nervous. Nerves definitely got to me, but I was still able to perform. The guy behind me [in the 110 hurdles] was pushing me, so that definitely helped.”
Woodstock North senior Jack Duenas won the 300 hurdles in 41.17, taking over Rockford Christian’s Collin Hook after Hook nicked one of the last hurdles. Duenas was quick to make his move.
“I knew I was seeded second, and I know I do better when I’m chasing someone,” Duenas said. “When he clipped that hurdle, the fifth one, I just knew I had to bring it and I could beat him. It’s hard to recover after that. As soon as he clipped it, I was through.”
Marengo senior Jonah Pace won the shot put with a throw of 13.7 meters (about 44 feet, 9 inches). Pace earned the winning throw on his final attempt.
“It feels great. I’ve been working with my glide and everything since my freshman year, so it feels good for it to pay off,” Pace said. “I was loose, staying out of the heat, staying by the tent. Other than that, it feels good. It feels nice to finally pull it out.”
R-B advanced two relays to state. Tristan Rockwell, Sean Rockwell, Landon Jacoby and Jack Verdoni took second in both the 4x200 and 4x400. Those same four took fourth in their first relay, the 4x100. Tristan Rockwell was second in the long jump to get to state in three events.
“It’s my first year doing track, and it feels great,” Jacoby said. “We haven’t ran our [4x200] a lot this year. The first race we had today was disappointing, so I’m happy with that. We just kept our heads up and finished strong.”
Woodstock junior Jack Novelle captured the high jump title (1.91 meters) and Kaunas was second to advance. Woodstock North junior Jacob McConnell advanced to state with a first-place finish in the discus (41.32 meters).
Carmel sophomore Luke Cerwin was second in the 400 to qualify for state, running a 52.71.
“Last year I could only get it to 58 [seconds]. This year, getting to 52, 53, that was my goal for the entire year,” Cerwin said. “Next year, I hope to get to 50. I love running. Not having a season last year was really tough, but it allowed me to get in the gym and built up my time a ton.”
Carmel senior Jalen Burton won the 100 (11.25), 200 (22.1) and long jump (6.29 meters) to qualify for state in three events. St. Viator junior Lucas Doland was runner-up in the 800 to qualify. St. Viator junior Daniel Crawford placed second in the 200, while St. Viator’s 4x100 relay (Brendan Oleksak, Lucas Barisas, Dominic Palese, Crawford) took second to advance.