Boys track and field: Relays a final-day highlight for area at IHSA State Meet

Dwight freshman Graham Meister captures state championship

Plainfield South’s Camyn Viger rounds a turn in the Class 3A 4x800-meter relay Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Charleston at the IHSA State Meet.

CHARLESTON – Camyn Viger’s weekend ended better than it began.

After a frustrating finish in Friday’s preliminaries, the New Mexico commit anchored Plainfield South to a runner-up finish Saturday in arguably the best race of the day at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Field.

The Cougars took second in the Class 3A 4x800-meter relay at 7:41.42. The top eight teams in the race posted season-best times, and the top four – three of them from the Herald-News area – had performances that rank in the top 14 in the nation this season, according to the database.

Winner Downers Grove North ran 7:38.76, the nation’s No. 3 time. Plainfield North was third at 7:41.85, and Bolingbrook finished fourth in 7:42.35. Yet another local team, Lincoln-Way Central, wound up fifth at 7:44.51.

“I was seeing a lot of guys I’ve seen for four years after the race congratulating each other,” said Viger, who followed Gavin Borger, Joaquin DeAlba and Dylan Buturusis on the relay. “Distance running is really ramping it up, especially in Illinois, and it’s going to be something that’s going to be amazing to watch.”

Viger, the Class 3A cross country runner-up last fall, was seeded second in the 1,600. But he finished 13th in the prelims, missing advancement by one place and about a half-second.

“It was a hard pill to swallow,” he said. “I just accepted it, said, ‘Hey ... everything happens for a reason. Just use this.’

“Maybe I would have broken something in that mile [on Saturday] and been out for the whole summer. So I just came in [to the 4x800] very, very hungry, eager. It definitely motivated me to do better.”

Plainfield North’s Owen Stahl hugs a teammate after finishing third in the Class 3A 3,200-meter run at the IHSA State Meet held Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Charleston.

Plainfield North was just behind its district rival with the team of Easton Miller, Ewan Farnum, Quinn Davis and Owen Stahl.

“There’s a lot of great teams, but we know we had a chance to win, and we went after it,” Stahl said. “Came up a little short but we still ran great, ran a PR.”

Bolingbrook’s 4x800 quartet was Joshua Stewart, Jason Vervack, Vincent De Farno and Hussein Almousawi, while Lincoln-Way Central’s team was Kyle Friedl, Bryce Counihan, Evan Jensen and Braden Hoff.

Lemont hurdler Quinton Peterson won a pair of medals in 3A, running 14.11 to finish runner-up in the 110s and a PR of 38.00 for third in the 300s.

“I definitely thought I’d be a double medalist,” Peterson said. “I was expecting gold for the 110s, but Noah [Heiber of Rolling Meadows] got me by .01, but I can’t be upset. I’ve never had this chance [before], I never thought I’d be this good.”

Lemont’s Quinton Peterson makes the last hurdle to finish third in the Class 3A 300-meter hurdles Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Charleston.

Lincoln-Way East long jumper Dedrick Richardson also was a runner-up in 3A at 23 feet, 4.5 inches.

He took more satisfaction from the Griffins’ performance than his own.

“We had a great season, a historic one,” Richardson said, “won our first conference title since 2008, won our first sectional title. I might not have done as well here, but for us as a team it was a great season.”

Also taking thirds in 3A were Plainfield South teammates Joshua Cygan in the discus (PR of 185-5) and Dylan Maloney in the 3,200 (PR of 9:03.21), Minooka’s Dejay Smith in the 100 hurdles (PR of 14.48), Lockport’s Nolan Lamoureux in the 400 (PR of 48.39) and Plainfield North’s 1,600 relay team of Alex Brennan, Farnum, Stahl and Miller (3:18.15).

“I’m a little disappointed,” Cygan said. “I was going into this really hoping that I would win. My goal at the beginning of the season was to hit 190 feet. Came up short, but it’s still a PR, still third place. So it’s still something to be very proud of.”

Smith also was hoping for more.

“I was really going for the win,” he said. “I was really too much in my head. I had the best start out of the bunch, I just couldn’t finish the race.”

Other local placers in 3A were Joliet Central triple jumpers Zion Kostyra (sixth, 45-8) and Jamari Straughter (eighth, 45-5.75), Bolingbrook’s Terrence Jackson (sixth in the 400, 49.13) and Bolingbrook’s 4x400 relay team of Edward Ankomah, Almousawi, De Farno and Jackson (sixth, 3:20.71).

The area’s lone champion was Dwight freshman Graham Meister, who won the Class 1A shot put at 55-9.75.

“It’s crazy,” Meister said. “I went from sixth last year (at junior-high state). ... Hopefully next year it gets even better and I keep improving.”

Also in 1A, Seneca pole vaulters Sam Churchill and Sean Sigler finished sixth and seventh, respectively, both clearing 13-5.25.

Local placers in Class 2A were Joliet Catholic’s Nathan Ciarlette in the 1,600 (fifth with a PR of 4:18.20) and Morris teammates Cuyler Swanson in the 3,200 (eighth with PR of 9:35.07) and Colin Zierman in the 300 hurdles (40.25).

Bolingbrook’s Hussein Almousawi rounds a turn in the Class 3A 4x800 relay Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Charleston.