CHARLESTON - At the beginning of the track and field season Minooka’s Collin Forrest wasn’t mentioned in any list of a top hurdler in the state. That all changed on Saturday at the IHSA 3A Track & Field State Championships, held at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
Forrest won the 110 meter hurdle race with a time of 14.03 and becomes the area’s first large school 110 hurdle champion since Providence Catholic’s Andrew Helmin won in 2013. He is also Minooka’s first individual state champion in five years.
“The motivation started last year at sectionals when I didn’t qualify for state,” Forrest said. “I knew what I had to do and I worked very hard at this event and it all clicked midway through the season. There wasn’t any pressure because I knew that my work was paying off and I really believed in myself. I knew I could do it.”
Forrest also placed ninth in the 300 hurdles (40.81).
The Indians also received a second-place finishes from Tyler Colwell in the 100 meters (10.72) and in the 200 (22.16) and Emerson Fayman placed eighth in the 800 meters (1:56.44) to give the Indians 29 points and finishing fourth in the team race, just one point out of claiming a state trophy.
Colwell felt a bit of redemption in the 100 meters, as the senior false started a year ago in the finals.
“I really wanted to win the 100 today, but I’m happy with second,” Colwell said. “I’ve had some issues with my hamstring lately and this is some redemption for what happened last year. I thought about it, how can you not, but I just reacted to the gun and felt I did a good job with that.”
Bolingbrook’s Brett Wasick was in a similar position as Forrest. Wasick finished 20th in the 2021 state meet in the 3A 800, but won the title this year, running 1:52.64 and beating the heavily favored defending champion Daniel Watcke of Hinsdale Central.
Wasick becomes the first Raider to win the event in school history and the first local athlete to win the 800 in 23 years, as Lockport’s Nick Setta won the AA title in 1999.
“I felt pretty calm all weekend, because I knew I had it in me,” Wasick said. “I learned from racing against Watcke before and I had a game plan. It just fell just a little short at sectionals, but today it worked out perfectly. This feels so good right now.”
Lockport’s Gabe Czako was second in the 110 hurdles (14.44) and in the 300 hurdles (38.22). It was the second consecutive year that Czako was second in both events. It concludes an outstanding year for Czako, who was on the state trophy winning soccer team, the kicker on the state championship football team and two seconds in track & field.
“It’s not what I wanted, but I’m so grateful for the experience and the friends I have made,” Czako said. “What I’ve experienced this school year has been nothing short of amazing. To be in three sports and have the success we had this year is unbelievable and it is something I will carry forward for the rest of my life.”
In the 3,200 meters, the area had two medalists, as Caden Simone from Lincoln-Way Central placed fourth (9:06.80) and Nolan Rogers of Lincoln-Way East was ninth (9:15.49).
In the pole vault, Arnie Grunert from Lincoln-Way East placed third with a jump of 4.65 meters (15-3) and Kyle Eppenstein was seventh at 4.35 (14-3 1/4).
Plainfield North placed fourth in the 4 X 200 relay as the team of Nik Clark, Zander Pauley, Armaan Rehmani and Dylan Gramley ran 1:28.85.
Romeoville’s Joel Anyan placed seventh in the high jump, going 1.93 meters (6-4).
Coal City’s Christian Micetich placed seventh in the 2A 300 hurdles (40.87) and become only the second Coaler to medal in the event. The other was his father, Jon, who placed eighth in 1986.
" Wanted to follow my dad’s legacy,” Christian said. “And to be honest I wanted to be better than my dad’s eighth place finish. I see his picture at school everyday and I figured I could get one if I did better.”
“I get so nervous watching Christian run, more so than I ever did when I competed,” Jon Micetich said. “Growing up we talked a lot about it and my wife and I, each being hurdlers, we sort of nudged him that way and helped him at times with technique, but ultimately it was his decision. Watching him compete here today was the neatest thing ever. To know that feeling and seeing your son do better is so cool.”
In Class 1A, Reed-Custer’s Vander Dransfeldt placed second in the pole vault with a jump of 4.35 meters (14-3 1/4).
After placing 10th in 2A in 2021, Dransfeldt was motivated for a medal.
“After being disappointed last year by just missing a medal, that motivated me to get one this year,” Dransfeldt said. “I’m happy with second, would of liked to have won, but it’s better than third.”