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Kaneland boys track fights off county field for title

Burlington Central’s Lucas Ege (center) wins the finals of the 110-meter hurdles Friday during the Kane County Meet at Streamwood High School.
Burlington Central’s Lucas Ege (center) wins the finals of the 110-meter hurdles Friday during the Kane County Meet at Streamwood High School.

STREAMWOOD – Kaneland captured a Kane County boys track and field title Friday on Cook County soil.

File that under the category “potentially profound.” The Knights already were deep before the meet started.

Winning six of 18 events in a competition hosted by South Elgin but held at Streamwood, Kaneland scored 128 points to defend its county title. Next up: hitting strides in next week’s Northern Illinois Big 12 conference meet, then the Class 2A state series.

“We all know that we’re just as good as one another, so we’re always pushing in practice and we’re challenging each other,” Knights junior middle distance runner Andrew Lesak said. “We just have the mentality that we’re always going to hit those fast times, and we do.”

Runner-up Batavia scored 77 points, while St. Charles East had 68 to take third among 15 teams.

Kaneland opened the track finals with a narrow victory against Batavia in the 4x800-meter relay. Knights anchor Nathaniel Kucera traded the lead with Bulldogs counterpart Ryan Wieties in the last lap before Kucera discovered the final kick to help Kaneland finish in 8:00.64 – .53 seconds ahead of Batavia.

As Lesak told it, the effort resembled something of a flu relay.

The same group in a different order was about 10 seconds faster at the Knights’ Peterson Prep meet in late April.

“All of us are really sick,” said Lesak, who flanks Division I-bound seniors Kucera (Stanford), Kyle Carter (Southern Illinois) and Luis Acosta (Western Illinois). “I got sick just after Peterson. Nathaniel just got sick. Kyle has been sick. … We’re just hoping next week is better.”

East’s Devon Kelly did little to ease any queasiness in the second event, the 4x100. Running anchor for the first time, he nipped Kaneland’s Isaac Swithers in the final leg. The Saints’ winning time of 43.59 edged the Knights by .08 seconds.

Kelly, usually the group’s second leg, knew he had to cover the same distance whether the crowd was shouting at his side or not.

“I was like, ‘Gotta get out, gotta get out.’ If I don’t do good, the rest of the guys won’t, so just got to come out strong,” Kelly said.

The same Saints quartet later won the 4x200 in 1:30.7.

Double vision was prevalent elsewhere. Burlington Central junior Lucas Ege, still smarting a tad from the Rockets missing the Peterson meet because of prom, swept the hurdles events, winning the 110s in 14.63 and the 300s in 38.85.

“The best part about tonight for competition was I just knew Kaneland was out for me, and knew they really wanted to kill me. That just got me pumped,” Ege said. “That made me run a lot faster. I think my main motivation was the [300] record for county.”

Although Ege missed that by about .6 seconds, he felt like he accomplished the next best thing by topping Knights Brock Robertson and Dylan Nauert for second and third.

Per usual, Kaneland proved plenty resilient, especially in the field events. Ben Barnes won the long jump (22-9 1/4), while Dylan Kuipers cleared 15-3 1/2 in the pole vault to establish a new PR.

Thrower Nate Dyer placed first in the shot put (55-2) and discus (153-11).

“Our field events, oh, they’ve been awesome,” Carter said. “They don’t get enough notice all the time.”

Marmion senior Tyler Maryanski maintained a solid recent stretch by clearing 6 feet, 11 inches to win the high jump. The standard eclipsed his previous personal best of 6-7, set Tuesday in a home triangular.

“I definitely think I’m peaking at the right time this season, obviously,” Maryanski said. “I had two great weeks of practice, probably the best I’ve had in the two years I’ve been jumping, so that really helps with what we’re trying to do here, having good practices.”

Other winners included North’s Jack Feeney, whose 49.92 effort in the 400 edged Geneva’s Sam Urben, one of a handful of runner-up finishes for the Vikings.

Feeney bantered with teammates throughout a busy night that included heavy duty in the sprint relays and individual events.

“They’re throwing me all over the place,” Feeney said, “which is great.”

Kaneland can attest.

“Everybody’s doing great so far,” Carter said. “We all have more to come. Just getting through the season healthy, you know. Just getting ready to gear up.”

Kane County Meet team standings
1. Kaneland, 128
2. Batavia, 77
3. St. Charles East, 68
T4. West Aurora, 67
T4. Burlington Central, 67
6. Geneva, 60.5
7. St. Charles North, 57
8. Marmion, 43.5
9. Dundee-Crown, 40
10. South Elgin, 35
11. East Aurora, 27
12. Streamwood, 12
T13. Larkin, 7
T13. Aurora Central Catholic, 7
15. St. Edward, 6

Meet winners
Pole vault
Dylan Kuipers, Kaneland 15-31/2
High jump
Tyler Maryanski, Marmion, 6-11
Long jump
Ben Barnes, Kaneland, 22-91/4
Shot put
Nate Dyer, Kaneland, 55-2
Nate Dyer, Kaneland, 153-11
4x800 relay
Kaneland (Kyle Carter, Andrew Lesak, Luis Acosta, Nathaniel Kucera), 8:00.64
4x100 relay
St. Charles East (Frank Chaloupka, Jordan Duncan, Mo Flanigan, Devon Kelly), 43.59
4x200 relay
St. Charles East (Frank Chaloupka, Jordan Duncan, Mo Flanigan, Devon Kelly), 1:30.7
3,200 relay
Max Rowland, St. Charles East, 9:42.69
Jack Feeney, St. Charles North, 49.92
110 hurdles
Lucas Ege, Burlington Central, 14.63
300 hurdles
Lucas Ege, Burlington Central, 38.85
4x400 relay
Kaneland (Brock Robertson, Brandon Bishop, Nathaniel Kucera, Kyle Carter), 3:23.47

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