Boys track & field: Sterling sends all four relays to state finals

Golden Warriors are top seed in 4x200, in top five seeds for three races Saturday

Sterling Golden Warriors logo

All season long, the Sterling boys track team has had en eye toward the state meet in their relay races.

On Friday, all the preparation for the big stage paid off, as the Golden Warriors qualified for the finals in all four relays at the IHSA Class 2A State Meet in Charleston.

“The expectation to do this has been there all year, so it’s no surprise for us to be down here, and then run our best races when we got here,” said senior Kael Ryan, who was part of the advancing 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 teams. “We’ve been preparing for this all year. We have such a good all-around track team, so many guys capable of doing it, and the coaches got us really ready.

“On paper, it might look like we over-performed, but we always knew we were capable of doing this. It was a great day.”

The 4x200 of Cale Ledergerber, Joseph Holcomb, Ryan and Dylan Doss blazed to a 1:28.49, setting a new PR by .6 seconds to earn the top seed going into finals. That same quartet also broke its own school record in the 4x100, setting a new PR of 42.45 seconds as the fourth-fastest time in prelims.

Ryan and Doss joined Jordan Britt and Dale Johnson to earn the fifth seed in the 4x400 with a time of 3:25.49, and Britt teamed with Parker Janssen, Owen Anderson and Thomas Holcomb to run an 8:07.29 in the 4x800 to earn the fourth seed headed into finals.

Johnson also clocked a 4:21.14 in the 1,600 to advance to finals as the fourth-fastest prelim time, and will run in the fast heat of the 3,200.

“It felt good today, ran pretty smooth,” Johnson said. “Being familiar with how the whole thing is run and being down here before gave me more confidence. It’ll be a lot of fun in finals, and I’m just going to run my race and place as a high as I can, and the times will come. Everybody will be running fast, so there’s no room to run slow tomorrow.”

Doss will run in four races Saturday, adding the 200 final to the three relays. He scratched out of the 100 prelims in order to add the 4x400, a move that was predetermined heading into Friday.

“I feel like it was always the plan to drop the 100 after sectionals to run the 4x4. I’ve run it before, and we wanted to shock everyone by putting a really good time up, and I wanted to help do that,” Doss said. “We have really good coaching, and we’re chasing that state title we haven’t gotten in so long. I feel like we’ll all be able to run pretty nice times, it should go pretty smooth in finals.”

Doss is seeded eighth in the 200 after running that race in 22.07 seconds. Even with that event coming right before the 4x400, he said the quick turnaround didn’t affect him much on Friday.

“Doing it today, I felt pretty good, so I’ll be fine tomorrow,” he said. “I just have to make sure I get some fluids in me right after the 200, get in the shade and cool off quick, and then get hyped up and go right into the 4x4.”

As high as the expectations have been all season, Ryan believes the strong start at state will only serve to boost the Warriors’ confidence even more.

“We’re going into the finals knowing what we’re capable of, and the coaches will get us ready and we’ll be pumped up for the races,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a really good group of competitive guys who want to get it done and are happy to be here, so we’re excited for those high expectations. I’m sure we can meet them, and hopefully we’ll exceed them.”

Ledergerber also ran in a pair of individual races, but missed the finals in both. He finished 16th in the long jump (6.09 meters) and took 28th in the 200 (22.79 seconds). Anderson placed 33rd in the 800 (2:11.98) for Sterling, and Thomas Holcomb did not start that race.

Rock Falls sophomore Anthony Valdivia ran a 2:20.57 in the 800 to finish prelims in 24th place.

Dixon senior Matt Warkins just missed the finals in the shot put, as his toss of 14.70 meters put him in 13th; he only missed advancing by one spot and .08 meters. Senior teammate Alec Fulton tied for 18th in the high jump by clearing 1.80 meters; 17 jumpers cleared 1.85 to advance to the finals.

Dixon sophomore Aaron Conderman will run in the 3,200 meters to open the running portion of the finals at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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Ty Reynolds

Ty Reynolds

Ty is the Sports Editor at Sauk Valley Media, and has covered sports in the Sauk Valley for more than two decades.