JOLIET – The wind was strong out of the northeast Thursday at the boys track and field Class 3A Plainfield South Sectional. It hurt the races around the tracks, but aided the sprints and jumps.
The area had seven individuals and three relay teams qualify for next week’s boys state track and field finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Neuqua Valley won the team title with 127 points, and Plainfield North tied for second with Yorkville with
63 points. Plainfield South was fifth, Plainfield East finished eighth, and Plainfield Central was 10th in the 15-team field.
North’s super sophomore Marcellus Moore anchored the 4x100 relay to victory in 41.82 seconds, then came back and ran a state-leading 10.33 in the 100-meter dash. He then ran the second leg on the second-place 4x200 relay (1:28.91) and capped the day with a victory in the 200-meter dash with yet another state-leading time of 20.88.
“Today sets the tone for next week at state,” Moore said. “Winning the 100 and 200 was important today along with our relays advancing, because we know what is at stake next week.”
Moore was joined by Brendan Hanneman, Brian Registe and Anthony Capizio in the 4x100 relay.
The Tigers’ Dylan Webb qualified in the high jump (6 feet, 2 inches).
“My biggest concern today was getting the sprint relays through,” North coach Tony Hollar said. “We did that, although we ran well in one and bad in the other. Marcellus ran faster than the state record in the 100 meters and looked great. He doesn’t turn 16 until the end of June and doesn’t even drive a car yet.
“We had, as I’m sure everyone else did, some disappointments, but the wind was the culprit. But overall, I’m happy with our performance.”
The host Cougars had two sectional champions, with the first in the
400 meters, as Kaizer Giddie ran a 50.91 to claim the title, and then Christian Knowlton won a very close 1,600 meters in 4:22.
“I wanted to get out and be in great position at the 200 meters,” Giddie said. “Even with this wind, it was tough, but I’m confident in my training and this is very satisfying.”
“This is beyond amazing,” Knowlton said. “The only strategy was to win. I’ve worked all my life to qualify for the state track meet. I had to come back for our team, especially after the disappointment in the 4x800 relay.”
South also received a qualifying performance from Myles Lincoln in the triple jump (44-9).
East had two individual qualifiers, as Bryan Keubeng jumped 22-11 in the long jump and Alex Babbington leaped 6-4 in the high jump to win the sectional title.
“Sectionals really get the nerves going, because you have to make it this week, there is no next week if you don’t get there,” said Keubeng, a senior. “Going back to state is great, and I won’t let the nerves get to me like last year.”
The Bengals also qualified their 4x800 relay (8:02.09) for the first time in school history. The team was comprised of Nick Pederson, Emmanuel Angomas, Jonathan Gancarczyk and Eddie Cintron.
“This is amazing, incredible, and I have no other words,” Cintron, the anchor, said.
Central junior Geremiah Lawson qualified in the long jump with a leap of 23-7.
South also won the 4x400 relay (3:25.42) behind Giddie, Jalean Brown, Nico Schultz and Reese Kokanda.