CHARLESTON – One is a track veteran while the other got his introduction to the sport this spring.
But on Saturday at the IHSA state meet, Wheaton Academy's Matt Ruff and Ty Seager shared a common ending to the 2014 season with both standing on the awards podium at Eastern Illinois University as all-state finishers.
Ruff, making his third appearance at the state meet, finished seventh in the Class 2A 400-meter dash with a time of 50.03 seconds. In his previous two appearances, the senior did not qualify for the finals.
"The competition at state is so much different," Ruff said. "It's so much harder than what I usually run against, which is good.
"It was my first time making the finals and that was one of my three goals I had (the other two goals were to go under 50 seconds in the 400 and under 22 seconds in the 200). I'm thrilled. To be on the podium and get a medal, that's what I've always wanted to do since freshman year."
As for Seager, the sophomore came out for track this spring with the encouragement of his mom, a former state champion in Illinois who went on to a collegiate career at Purdue.
Seager brought home a pair of medals, starting with his eighth-place showing in the 100 with a time of 11.12.
"I was really happy just to make the finals, to be honest," said the sophomore, who also does club soccer during the spring. "I knew there was really good competition. I was looking to go under 11 seconds but I just missed that."
He later added a seventh-place finish in the 200 after coming in with a time of 22.39.
"I'm pleased with what came out of this year and I'm looking forward to the next two years," Seager said. "I really didn't know what to expect [at state] but the environment is incredible. It was a blast and hopefully I make it down again."
Nate Wesolek closed out his athletic career in a Wildcats uniform by accomplishing all of his goals this spring.
That included competing at the IHSA state meet over the weekend where the senior qualified for the Class 3A pole vault finals before collecting all-state honors with his ninth-place finish.
Wesolek, who will continue his track career at Grand Valley State, had a mark of 14 feet at state; his personal record is 14-6.
"It's a good feeling," Wesolek said. "I'm glad I got the position I did though I didn't vault my best. I managed to pull it off (14-0) on my third attempt."
Fellow pole vaulter James Kubik, a junior, also qualified for the state meet and had a height of 13-6 in Friday's prelims.
"Him and I pushed each other all year," Wesolek said, "and that helped us both get to state."