Boys track: Burlington Central topples Kaneland for sectional crown; SVM athletes qualify for state in 8 events

Sterling's Dale Johnson (left) starts the 4x800 meter relay for his team Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the Class 2A boys track sectional at Rochelle High School.

ROCHELLE – All year, the Burlington Central boys track team had been looking up the standings at Kaneland.

But Wednesday at the Class 2A Rochelle Sectional, the Rockets turned the table on the Knights, winning, 96-89.5, to claim the title.

“I thought it was Kaneland’s, I really did,” Burlington Central coach Mike Schmidt said. “They were seeded quite a bit ahead of us. Kaneland is a really tough team, they’ve beat us all year. This is the only time we beat them. Kids really stepped up.”

Both teams qualified strong contingents for Charleston next week, as did third-place Princeton (66) and fourth-place Sycamore.

Kaneland coach Andy Drendel said he was satisfied with the performance.

“We did what we expected to do,” Drendel said. “We got three relays down and four individuals. A bunch of seniors got rewarded for their hard work, so I’m really proud of them.

Sterling was seventh with 42, Dixon eighth with 41 and Rock Falls ninth with 20.

Dixon's Alec Fulton competes in the high jump Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the Class 2A boys track sectional at Rochelle High School.

Teegan Davis was a big part of the strong showing for Princeton, qualifying in four events – high jump, triple jump, long jump and the 4x100 relay.

“Especially with the relay and the four other guys going down there, that’s what we were really pushing for today,” Davis said. “We haven’t really made qualifying for that yet and we beat it by 0.4 seconds. It’s a big deal.”

Davis still won the triple jump, with Dixon’s Jacob Gusse taking second at 12.97 meters to earn the trip to state. Gusse also placed third in the 400 with a state-qualifying time of 50.99.

Dixon coach Ryan Deets said it was a good day for Gusse.

“We knew Gusse at triple jump could happen. It was kind of a good surprise,” Deets said. “Our field events have always been the strength of our team. ... We finally got all three phases down with Gusse over there at triple and things finally went how we knew they could.”

In the long jump, Princeton’s Davis was second at 6.55 meters, with Burlington’s Gavin Sarvis winning. Davis won the high jump at 1.92, with Nathan Rebacz of Kaneland also qualifying at 1.82.

In the shot put, four throwers hit the qualifying mark, led by sectional champion Dre Jackson of Dixon (15.43 meters). Princeton’s Payne Miller was second (15.40) and Drew Harp was fourth (15.00), while Eli Pflipsen of Kaneland was third with a 15.25.

Sterling won the 4x800 in 8:09.11, while Sycamore (8:10.32) and Burlington Central (8:13.8) were under the qualifying mark as well.

In the 110 hurdles, Matthew Marcum of Rock Falls qualified for state with a 15.83, taking second. Marcum also won the 300 hurdles to qualify for state in 40.01.

Yusuf Baig of Burlington won the 3200 in 9:40.94, and also won the 1,600 in 4:23.69, with Sterling’s Dale Johnson second in 4:30.78

Sycamore’s Caden Emmert won the 800 in 1:58.48, with Thomas Holcomb of Sterling second in 2:04.09.

Sterling's Thomas Holcomb leads Kaneland's Trevor Neal during the second leg of the 4x800 meter relay Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at the Class 2A boys track sectional at Rochelle High School.
Eddie Carifio

Eddie Carifio

Has been the sports editor in DeKalb since 2014.