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Area track athletes off an running with goal of making state finals

Benet, Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South and Westmont on path to Charleston

The starting gun has gone off on the boys outdoor track season, but the finish line is still off in the distance as most teams have had just a pair of outdoor meets. The end goal is to make it to the state meet in Charleston during the last weekend of May. Here’s a look at what to expect from area boys track and field teams as they push toward the state finals.

Benet Redwings

Coach: Pat Marshall

Top athletes:

Sean Harnik jr.

Stephen Hubona sr.

Sean Kirwan jr.

Zach Kowalczyk jr.

John Stoppelman sr.

Max Zinski jr.

Outlook: Benet scored 19 points at the 2013 Class 2A state meet to finish tied for 13th place, but several seniors who were key contributors have since graduated.

Stephen Hubona recently finished third in the shot put at Naperville North’s Gus Scott ABC invite with a throw of 48 feet, 9.5 inches and also won the discus at that meet with a mark of 163-6. He was a state qualifier in the discus last spring and finished seventh in the state with a mark of 164-4.

Max Zinski was a high jump state qualifier last year.

The Redwings lost several seniors from their state qualifying 4 x 200, 4 x 400 and 4 x 800-meter relays and will be rebuilding with the goal of getting back downstate.

Downers Grove North Trojans

Coach: Eric Buhot

Top athletes:

Jazz Charrier sr. sprints, relays

Zac Christensen jr. distance

Ryan Clevenger jr. distance, relays

Jeremy Craven sr. distance

Charles Creamer sr. sprints, relays

Jack Diamond jr. relays

Nick Janicki jr. throws

Marc Mathy sr. distance

Zach Smith sr. distance, relays

Jared Spilky sr. distance

Tony Zea sr. middle distance, relays

Outlook: Zach Smith ran to third place in the state in the 1,600-meter run as a junior, and he is primed for another successful season on the track. The two runners to finish ahead of him and the two behind him were all seniors, and Smith is coming off a third-place finish in the cross country state meet in the fall.

The Trojans have a good chance to send more athletes than just Smith to the state meet.

Nick Janicki made it state last year in the discus and he recently won the title at West Aurora’s John Bell invite with a mark (153 feet) that was not far off the throw that got him to state last spring (155 feet, four inches).

Zac Christensen, Ryan Clevenger, Jeremy Craven, Jack Diamond, Marc Mathy and Jared Spilky were all part of North’s second place cross country team in the fall and add depth in the distance races and relays. Jazz Charrier and Charles Creamer anchor the sprint events.

Downers Grove South Mustangs

Coach: Dustin Hausherr

Top athletes:

Jacob Amiri sr. middle distance, relays

Ethan Kirk sr. distance, relays

Ross Netzel jr. sprints, relays

Jon Osei jr. sprints, relays

Tim Tully sr. throws

Outlook: The Mustangs will have a bit of a different look this year, particularly at the shorter distances as all-state athletes Odell McFarland and Jalen Lewis have graduated. McFarland was fourth in the 100-meter dash and Lewis fifth in the 300 hurdles at last year’s state meet.

Jacob Amiri ran at state in the 800 run prelims last year and returns for a bid at another state berth.

Throws could be a strength with Tim Tully, who earned a pair of top-three finishes in shot put (second, 47 feet, six inches) and discus (136-9) at South’s Bud Mohns invite over the weekend.

In the shorter races, Jon Osei and Ross Netzel showed well at the Mohns invite by placing first and second, respectively, in the 400 and should provide a boost as the season goes on.

Westmont Sentinels

Coach: Rainy Kaplan

Top athletes:

Quintin Brown jr. relays, 400

Nick Dea jr. distance

Tim Doll sr. sprints

Joe Kalafut jr. pole vault, triple jump

Scott Larem sr. relays

Joseph McDermott sr. pole vault, triple jump

Mitch Perrotta jr. relays, 1,600

Sam Soltwisch so. throws

Seth Torrens sr. relays

Outlook: A busy indoor season segued into a busy outdoor season as the Sentinels have already competed four times outside.

Westmont has a small team but a talented one. Senior Tim Doll is a three-time state medalist and has been the runner-up in the 400-meter dash the last two years. He has a chance to add more hardware to his collection.

“Our sprint relays have been scoring in every meet,” head coach Rainy Kaplan said. “Tim Doll and Quintin Brown are a great combination, and our 4 x 400 relay should do great things with the two of them.”

Distance events should also be a strength with Nick Dea and Mitch Perrotta leading the way. Joseph McDermott and Joe Kalafut have been strong in pole vault and triple jump, giving the Sentinels a well-balanced team capable of scoring points at meets in a variety of ways.

Class 1A Westmont has a schedule that includes several Class 2A and 3A schools. So far, the only small school to best the Sentinels was Moosheart at Lisle’s Megameet. This weekend’s Plano invite, the Chicago Christian invite (May 2) and Lisle’s Nalley invite (May 10) are the key meets left before the postseason.

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