Talent pool grows at sectional meet : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Talent pool grows at sectional meet|
|Oswego, Oswego East boys' track teams shift focus to challenging sectional|
|by Kristin Sharp|
While Minooka, Plainfield North and Plainfield South separated themselves from the rest of the field, Oswego and Oswego East's boys track and field teams did their part to score points in last Thursday's Southwest Prairie Conference Meet.
Minooka scored 115.5 points to finish ahead of Plainfield North and defending champion Plainfield South, which tied for second place with 92 points. Plainfield East finished a distant fourth with 65 points while Oswego scored 51 points to finish fifth and Oswego East scored 47 points to place seventh.
"Everybody ran fast for what we've been doing this year," Oswego East head coach JR Wilson said. "We can't be upset. We had a good, strong meet for us. Prime example in the 400, when five guys are under state-qualifying time, that's a tough track meet. We have a very strong conference and unless we have an entire team competing at the state-qualifying level, we're not going to finish very high in the conference standings."
Oswego enjoyed three conference championships and senior Zach Kingsbury and juniors Alain Dixon and Caleb Beck earned All-Conference honors in a combined five events last Thursday.
"This conference is just really loaded for the past three or four years," Oswego head coach Jeff Edwards said. "I think we have a lot of potential going into this week. It's our conference plus a lot of other strong teams, so it's not going to get any easier, but we have three or four guys who have a shot at qualifying and we're real excited and real confident they have a solid chance."
Oswego senior Zack Kingsbury won the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:29.01 - a full 11 seconds ahead of the runner-up. He returned to the track later in the afternoon and posted a third-place finish in the 1,600 with a time of 4:34.42.
"Zack ran a really strong two-mile and he was running with the pack for a while, but he pulled away and didn't really have anyone pushing him at the end," Edwards said. "It's going to be exciting to see what he does with some other kids from Waubonsie or Neuqua pushing him. For him to come back and place third in the mile was really impressive. We think he has the potential to qualify in the mile, but obviously the two-mile is his strength."
Oswego junior Caleb Beck led the 1,600-meter event, crossing the finish line in 4:17.48 to give the Panthers two scoring athletes in the one-mile race. Beck is expected to join Kingsbury in the distance double at this week's sectional, competing in both the 1,600 and 3,200 races.
"Caleb's strength is the mile but when we were looking at his times, he's really, really close in the two-mile and he's never had anyone to run with," Edwards said. "I think coach (Dan) Whipple has talked with him a lot over the past week and this is a good chance. I think Caleb is a smart enough runner that he knows what he's got left in the two-mile and he'll have to be ready to go in the mile because it's almost a sprint compared to the two-mile."
Dixon was also an All-Conference athlete in two events, winning the long jump with a leap of 22-3 1/4 while placing second in the triple jump at 40-7 1/4. His mark in the long jump was beyond the state-qualifying mark of 22-3.
"It was a great confidence builder for Alain. It was the first meet that he hit the state-qualifying distance in the long jump," Edwards said. "It's nice to know he has that capability. He's going to come into this week with a little more confidence and we're looking for him to possibly hit a school record."
Oswego's 4x800-meter relay of Beck, junior Christian Bartell, sophomore Chase Hall and senior Adam Lowry placed fourth in 8:21.33 and senior Jared Konrardy placed seventh in the 3,200 with a time of 10:16.
Oswego's 4x200-meter relay of senior Julian Mendez, junior Devon Bice, senior Nick Thompson and junior Ryan Hodges finished sixth in 1:34.68.
Oswego East juniors Nick Craft and Donovan Sivels placed second and third, respectively in the high jump as both cleared 5-11 behind champion Kurtis Zumbahlen of Minooka, who cleared 6-5 to set a new SPC Meet record.
Oswego East's 4x800-meter relay team of juniors John DeVries, Andrew Holm, Rene Salinas and Chase Skenandore placed second in 8:01.28, trailing Plainfield Central's winning time of 8:00.81. The state-qualifying time in that event is 8:00.04.
"(Plainfield Central) passed us with about 15 or 20 meters to go," Wilson said. "We were running really well and Plainfield Central just ran a great race. We're right in position to run state-qualifying."
Salinas captured third place in the 800-meter run, clocking in at 2:01.44, but teammate Chase Skenandore had to scratch out of the event due to illness.
Senior Kalmon Stokes placed third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.81 seconds. He was below the state-qualifying time of 39.84 seconds in the event. He also reached the finals in the 110-meter hurdles and placed sixth in 15.78 seconds.
Oswego East hoped to receive All-Conference honors in its 4x400-meter relay, but was disqualified on the final leg of the event and did not score.
"The major disappointment was the fact that the 4x4 was DQ'd when they really shouldn't have, and just that one race would have been the difference between fifth and seventh," Wilson said. "Kalmon was our anchor and trying to pass the person in front of him, who was not running in a straight line, and was run off the track. Since he passed him while he was off the track, they disqualified him."
Oswego East senior Luis Corona scored in the discus when he placed fifth with a toss of 136-7.
The 4x100-meter relay team of senior Elnimair Barakat, junior Andrew Ernest, sophomore Robert Kallien and senior Chris Horbacz placed fourth in 43.40 seconds, closing in on the state-qualifying time of 42.84. Barakat placed fifth in the 100-meter dash finals wit a time of 11.33 seconds.
Freshman Turner Kelly placed fifth in the 3,200 with a time of 10:09.45.
Oswego's 4x200-meter relay of Barakat, Ernest, Horbacz and Kallien clocked in at 1:33.22 to finish fifth in the event.
Oswego and Oswego East now enter the 16-team Class 3A Naperville North Sectional, which begins today, Thursday, at 3:30 p.m. with field events. Running events are scheduled to start at 5 p.m.
"It just piles on," Wilson said of the sectional competition. "Our conference is one of the tougher ones in the state and you add schools from the DVC and Upstate Eight and you're basically taking the strongest programs in the state and putting them at the same sectional," Wilson said.
"If we have five guys running state qualifying in the 400, we're probably going to have eight or 10 at the sectional. It's why we compete. We want to run with the big dogs."