CAROL STREAM – The defending Class 3A state champion in the long jump, Zach Gordon showed off his full repertoire at Friday’s Glenbard North sectional.
The Wheaton North senior won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, ran a leg on the victorious 4x100-meter relay and qualified safely in the long jump.
“He is just the best athlete I’ve had since Adam Harris,” said Wheaton North Don Helberg. “He is very versatile and talented and just a team player. Whatever the team needs, that is what he is going to do.”
The Falcons qualified for the state meet in nine events, placing second as a team with 105 points. Defending state champion Lake Park took home the first-place trophy with York in third place.
“There are two ways to look at it,” the coach said. “We really stepped up but I could handle not going against Lake Park or York.”
Marcus Charles, Matt Biegalski and Patrick Sharp joined with Gordon to capture the 4x100 in 41.70. Charles, Biegalski, Sharp and Nehemiah Heckler won the 4x200 in 1:28.94 and Heckler, Steve Connor, Ben Riley and Micaiah Steele placed first in the 4x400 in 3:20.29.
Also advancing were Paul Steeno (second in the 1,600), Patrick Sharp (second in the 200), Dale Hollinger (third in the pole vault), Chico Jackson (third in the long jump) and Alex Ryan (third in the 800).
“The ones we thought would qualify did,” Helberg said. “We had a couple of nice surprises and maybe a couple we were a little disappointed they didn’t qualify but they were kind of on the bubble. Overall, I was really pleased.”
A year ago, Wheaton North finished 11th at the Class 3A state meet with 22 points. This time around, the Falcons look to win their first trophy (top-three finish) since 2004.
“We have to have a good meet on Friday (prelims),” Helberg said. “Otherwise we will be watching on Saturday. Whoever has the best Friday and can duplicate it Saturday will be going home with serious hardware.
“That’s what I challenged them with. With the talent we have this year, that (a trophy) is a reality for us and a goal for us. If we get it, great, and if not, it’s not because we didn’t try for it. There are five or six teams vying for three trophies.”