CHARLESTON – Being a part of the state champion cross country team in the fall is no doubt the top highlight in the prep career of Billy Magnesen.
But standing on the podium at the IHSA state track meet as the fifth-place finisher in the Class 3A 3,200-meter run Saturday was a close second, according to the Hinsdale Central senior.
"It's very exciting," said Magnesen, who finished 27th in the 3,200 as a junior. "I'm honored to be a part of this group of guys, you have some of the best athletes in the state."
Magnesen actually led for much of the race before being passed at the beginning of the final lap. He crossed the finish line in 9:12.13.
"We went out a little slow," he said, "but I expected that because many of the guys were coming back from the mile [in Friday's preliminaries). I scratched the mile to put myself in the best position [for Saturday's 3,200].
"At the 1,200-meter mark, I decided it was time to pick it up and I kind of went for it. It was kind of disheartening to get passed by three guys at the same time but with this type of field, there is nothing to complain about."
After a successful senior season, he will continue his running career at the University of Illinois.
"I know it will definitely take a lot more commitment and time," Magnesen said. "But I'm definitely ready to move on. Hinsdale Central has been an amazing program to prepare me for the next level."
Joining Magnesen as an all-stater was fellow senior Nkemjika Nwosu, who came in fourth in the triple jump. And while he was not completely pleased with his mark of 45 feet, 6.5 inches, the UIC recruit was happy with his medal.
"I could have done a little better," Nwosu said. "You have to turn it on then and there, and I wasn't able to.
"But I'm happy. For four years I have worked so hard for this. I wasn't able to come down last year, I had a lot of injuries, and sophomore year, I made it but didn't make it to the finals. I'm happy I came down my senior year and did it."
The 4x800 relay team of Kevin Huang, Trent Hyland, Nathan Hill and Jake Hall clocked a time of 7:56.25 in the prelims.
Victor Ciardelli crossed the finish line in 39.90 seconds in the prelims of the 300 hurdles while Kyle Stiff finished in 22.69 in the 200 dash.
Nwosu, Derek Robert, James Reilly and Stiff comprised the 4x100 that competed at state.