CHARLESTON – Joe Singleton had been on the cusp of greatness throughout his Glenbard South athletic career.
But it took until the last high school meet of his career to reach the pinnacle.
Competing in the IHSA Class 2A state meet at Eastern Illinois University, the Raiders' senior, who missed the track season last spring due to injury, captured the title in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:19.48.
"It's the best feeling ever," Singleton said. "To be able to do this now, this is awesome. I always wanted my face on a banner at school, to show kids that hard work does pay off. I can't believe I did it.
"I've always been right on the cusp of making it but I've never been perfect enough. I had all of the tools [on Saturday]. I had the speed, I had the strength and I had the determination."
Making his move with two laps to go, Singleton blew away the rest of the field with his time. Runner-up Simon Thorpe of Dixon was over eight seconds behind.
"In warm-ups, I felt a little hot and tired so I was getting a little worried," the senior said. "But coach told me to just sit in the pack at the beginning and it worked out perfectly. I told myself once I make a move, I have to commit, I have to do it."
Singleton, who will continue his track career at Illinois State University, also competed in the 1,600 and came in fifth place with a mark of 4:23.71.
Jack Curtis contributed a sixth-place finish in the high jump after clearing 6 feet, 5 inches. He was also ninth in the 200 dash.
"I kind of shocked myself earlier in the season," Curtis said. "Once I got 6-6, I knew I could contend for state. I'm kind of disappointed, I wanted to do a little better but hopefully I do better next year."
Brandon Blankenship added an eighth place showing in the long jump with a distance of 21-2.5 despite battling a hamstring injury.
"I've been down here for three years," he said, "and last year I missed the finals by a half inch. Ever since the beginning of the year, that was my goal, to make it to the finals. Coach told me to put it all on the line. I was consistent; I know I could do better but I'll take it, especially because of my hamstring."
Andre Steiger also advanced to Saturday's finals and was 10th in the shot put (49-11).
In Friday's prelims, Gabe Williams went 40-8.5 in the triple jump. The 4x800 relay team of Jon O'Rourke, Andrew Sundberg, Joey Wood and Michael King (8:34.13), the 4x200 grouping of Williams, Ryan Hoffman, Connor Willis and Curtis (1:30.93) and the 4x400 quartet of Jonathon Walker, Hoffman, King and Williams also competed.
The Hilltoppers' 4x400-meter relay team of Chris Buechner, Ben Hecht, Jake Jaskowiak and Nate Crail advanced to Saturday's finals of the IHSA state meet and finished 10th with a time of 7:50.83.
In Friday's prelims, Nate Abrams produced a mark of 42 feet, 9.25 inches in the triple jump and Paul Selman had a time of 11.05 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
The 4x200 relay team of Mohamed Gborie, Andrew Lindstrom, Will Gibson and Selman crossed in 1:29.78, and the 4x400 grouping of Devonte Dillon, Lindstrom, Jack Moore and Selman finished in 3:21.21.
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