Workers get the pit ready for the triple jump final at Peterson Prep.
Sixteen teams came to Kaneland High School on Saturday in hopes of winning the Peterson Prep Invitational, but it was the home team that finished first.
The Knights placed in 15 of 18 events, won two relays and had three individual champions on their way to capturing first place with 84 points.
“This was a nice win for us on our home track,” said Kaneland coach Eric Baron. “All these programs are very good. To finish in the top five or top ten here shows you’re a strong competitor throughout the state of Illinois.”
Geneva, who held the team lead going into the final event, ended up in second place with 75 points. Burlington Central, paced by their intermediate runners, captured third place.
West Aurora finished in fourth place with 64 points, Yorkville took fifth with 45 and Oswego East followed closely in sixth with 42. Elgin came in ninth with 30 points, East Aurora finished in 12th place with 16, and Dundee Crown ended up in 14th with 9 to round out area teams.
Kaneland rode anchor Sean Carter to first in the 4×100 (43.78) and 4×200 (1:31.31) relays. The Knights also finished second in the 4×400 (3:26.62).
Dylan Nauert (300 meter hurdles) and Nate Dyer (discus and shot put) won individual championships for the Knights.
“Taking first at a home invite is a lot of excitement,” said Dyer. “Doing it twice, it was definitely a good day.”
Geneva’s Ben Rogers launched himself into first place in both the long jump (21 feet, 8 inches) and triple jump (43-11).
The Vikings’ senior was held back last season by a nagging hamstring injury. This year he’s fully healthy and performing at an exceptionally high level. His mark in the triple jump on Saturday was a new personal best.
“I’d like to keep getting better every meet, I think that’s the goal,” said Rogers. “I think if I can keep getting better each meet, I’m going to end up where I want to be.”
The Vikings also got a big boost on the track from Justin Davis, who finished first in the 400 meters, third in the 200 meters and seventh in the 100 meters.
“We covered the events well, which is what we always preach,” said Geneva coach Gale Gross. “We had to fight through some injuries, but overall the kids did awesome.”
Burlington Central runners Mike Gulik and Clint Kliem both finished in first place in three events. The two were part of the Rockets’ first-place 4×400 (3:25.43) and 4×800 (8:01.69) relay teams.
Gulik captured first in the 800 meters (1:57.28) while Kliem was the champion of the 1600 meter race (4:24.38). Kliem ran the third leg of the 4×400 relay just 25 minutes after setting a personal record in the 1600.
“That last one was just all guts,” said Kliem. “After finishing that mile, I just kept my legs up for five or ten minutes, did a little jog, and tried not to think about the next race. It’s just all basically a mental game.”
Central athletes Ben Damisch (400 meters) and Johnny Reuter (pole vault) both took home second place in their events.
Fourth-place West Aurora was paced by pole vaulter Royce Golembeck, who jumped 13-06 to capture first in his event.
The Blackhawks also got strong performances in the field from Aaron Kennebrew (second place in the triple jump and fourth place in the high jump), Lijah Spears (second place in the discus) and Jonny Gosong (third place in the long jump).
“We came in with a good focused attitude and we did a real nice job today,” said Blackhawks coach Cortney Lamb. “It’s not our best meet, but we have a lot things we can build on.”
Fifth-place Yorkville had no individual champions but runners Jake Callahan (800 meters), Chris Kellogg (1600 meters) and Eric Baker (3200 meters) all finished second in their events. The Foxes also got third place finishes from Jake Hoffert (3200 meters) and Joe Haske (pole vault).
Sixth-place Oswego East was paced by senior Kalmon Stokes, who finished second in both the 110 meter hurdles (15.77) and 300 meter hurdles (40.84). The same Wolves team of Dakoda Skenandore, Andrew Holm, Rene Salinas and Chase Skenandore took home third place in 4×800 relay (8:09.19) and fifth place in the 4×400 relay (3:32.24).
Elgin’s Dennis Moore was definitely the standout athlete for the Maroons. The senior sprinter blazed his way to first place in the 100 meter dash (11.46) and fourth place in the 200 meter dash (23.72).
Moore, along with teammates Terrell Campbell, Derek Moorman and DeVante King, also took home second place in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays.
East Aurora sprinter Desmond Gant accounted for all of the Tomcats’ points. The electrifying sophomore earned first place in the 200 meter dash (23.07) and third place in 100 meter dash (11.61).
“In my opinion, this was the fastest competition I’ve had,” said Gant. “If I’m winning against these guys, I know I can go out at other meets and come in first with a bigger lead. So, that’s my goal now.”
Dundee-Crown’s highest finisher was shot putter Joe Meixner, whose throw of 137-09 earned him third place. The Chargers placed in two relays, earning fifth in the 4×200 (1:33.27) and sixth in the 4×800 (8:14.33).
I wrote this story for the Chicago Sun-Times, Aurora Beacon, Elgin Courier and yourseason.com. It appears here and here. I wrote separate stories for the Beacon and Courier and combined them for the blog.