State Meet Recap

Monday, May 30 2016 - IHSA 3A Boys State Track & Field Championship

In the first six years of Lincoln Way North track and field we sent a total of two athletes to the State Finals. Julian Hylton was a star sprinter who qualified 3 years in a row, and Bobby Eberling qualified by finishing second at Sectionals in discus in 2013. Last year we qualified 6 athletes in 7 events (4x8, 200, 400 (x 2), 800, 1600, and 3200. This year we qualified 11 athletes in 9 events (4x1, 4x2, 4x4, 400, 800, 1600 (x 2), and 3200. With relay alternates we brought more than a white bus down to EIU. It was a blast. Our seniors got a chance to compete at the ultimate level, and our underclassmen have now seen the stage and will be primed for big things in the future.

We knew going in we had a chance to qualify a few events into finals if we executed and ran very well in prelims. Our 4x1 was up first (Jamir Hunt, Jimmy Barkauskas, Drew Slager, and Nick Miranda). They executed hand-offs well and ran a strong race but just didn’t quite do what they needed to in order to advance. They ran the second fastest time in school history (42.80 and 18th place in prelims). Jamir needed to get ready right away with the rolling schedule for his second race of the day, the 100. He did not get out well but regrouped to run his second fastest race of the season (11.0). After his race he got a quick drink and had to be ready again for the 4x2, his third race in the span of an hour. But before the 4x2 ran, it was Demetri Panici’s turn in the 800. Demetri was very confident coming into State, he ran great at Sectionals and was ready to get in the mix at EIU. He did not get out very well and got tripped up a few times in the pack. The plan was to move with 300 to go but Demetri just didn’t have it. Luckily he was able to close strong enough to find his way into the last qualifying spot for Saturday. Then the 4x2 took the track. Jamir ran a strong lead leg to hand to Dante Amos. Who charged down the homestretch to hand to Jimmy Barkauskas who then handed to frosh Cam White. The guys ran well not what we ran at Sectionals but still the third fastest time in school history (1:29.9). Next up was Nick Miranda in his second race, the open 400. Nick was in a blazing fast heat, he was well back at the 250 mark but closed like a boss to finish in 48.85. A PR and new school record, but he came up just short, finishing as the 11th fastest time in prelims. After a short break with the 300 hurdles, the Phoenix were back on the track in the first heat of the 1600 with Noah Healy and Kyle Bechtold. The plan was to put themselves in the mix and hope to close hard. They both ran the race plan well, Noah ran 65s all the way around to run 4:22.05 (a new school record and a PR) and Kyle competed tough through 1200 meters but just didn’t have it in the end. Noah ended up being the 13th fastest and just missing finals. Our last race on Friday was the 4x4. Both Nick Miranda and Kyle Goodwin ran strong legs to lead us off (both just over 50 flat), then Demetri ran a 400 relay PR of 51.1, finishing off the relay was frosh Cam White who ran a 51.6 for the second week in a row. The guys just missed out on finals as well running the second fastest time in school history 3:23.17.

Friday was a good day, although we only qualified one through to finals the guys competed well and raced close to what was their season and personal bests.

Friday night the race at state was cancelled due to weather, our alternates were bummed because they had hopes of getting their own chance to run on the big blue.

Saturday morning was windy and humid, which it would stay that way all day. Not ideal conditions to run fast (unless your last name was Torpy). Our first race of the day was also the first 3A race of the day. John Chomiak was in the first heat of the 3200. John wanted to be aggressive. He was not in the shape he was in last year for a few different reasons, but he wanted to at least give himself a chance in his final race as a Phoenix. The plan was to run with the leaders for as long as he could. John ran at the front of the chase pack for the first 1600 meters, coming through the mile in 4:47. He tied up the second mile and fought through as best he could. John finished in 9:57 in 22nd place. That left only Demetri in the finals of the 800. After the prelims I didn’t want Demetri to run the same race again. When Demetri is assertive and aggressive is when he is at his best. We knew the field would be strong in the 800 but the plan was to be aggressive from the start and put himself in the mix. Demetri executed very well. He went straight to the front and led through 300 and still was right in the mix until 400 to go. With 300 to go Chris Torpy opened up a gap that split the field. Demetri fought hard the last 200 to finish in 8th place just off his PR, finishing in 1:54.99. Demetri became only the second all state boys track and field athlete in school history. And a great way to end the LWN track and field history.

Overall it was a very positive weekend, I wish it were not the end of this program. I think the future would continue to be bright for Phoenix track, but unfortunately that is not how this story will end.

I plan on putting some thoughts together on what this experience at LWN has meant in my life in the next few days as a chance to reflect.

I am so grateful for what the last three years have meant to me, I wish it didn’t have to end but I am glad for what it has been.