Let’s head south along the banks of the Illinois river to Ottawa Township high school for boys sectional track and field!
Field events start things off and Neuqua Valley sophomore Hunter Danton makes his mark early, qualifying for state thanks to a throw of 154-8, good for 4th place in the meet.
His teammate Matt Appel continues his outstanding junior season with a throw of 187-11 inches! In addition to winning the meet by 30 feet, he also sets a new school record for good measure.
From athletes who throw objects over to athletes who throw themselves with objects, Alex Kiefer of Neuqua Valley gets his state qualifying height at 13 feet, 8 inches on his first attempt.
Fellow senior Wildcat Trevor Lambert needs two attempts, but he gets up and over, also at 13’8 sending two Neuqua vaulters to Eastern next weekend.
Your sectional champion is Waubonsie Valley senior Aiden Stapleton, he also gets 13’8 but he got there in the fewest attempts, an exciting moment for all three district 204 vaulters. Aasav Shah of Dunlap also qualifies.
Now the shot put and ho hum, it’s another school record for Neuqua Valley’s Matt Appel, this heave goes 57-5 to earn another sectional championship and a hug from a very proud coach Dave Ricca.
On the tails of a Neuqua Valley win in the 4X800, the 3200 meters is very challenging on a day like today with the temperature over 80 degrees and higher than normal humidity thanks to the storms earlier in the day.
At the finish line it’s Plainfield Central senior Jonathan Goetsch who wins the meet, Waubonsie Valley junior Wes Beitler finishes in 2nd to qualify for state. Matthew Jett from Neuqua Valley finishes 4th to earn 4 points for his team.
The hurdles go onto the track for the 110 meter high hurdles, Donovan Turner from Neuqua is back and recovered from a hamstring injury, he wins the sectional in 14.71 ahead of Kwesi Caldwell of Oswego East. A tough break for Plainfield North senior runner Kyle Burke, one of the favorites coming into the race but an injury causes him to stumble to the ground before the final hurdle. Despite being in a great deal of pain, he would gut it out and finish the race.
One of the most fun races of the meet is also the shortest and defending state champion Marcellus Moore of Plainfield North puts on a show as usual, he wins with a time of 10.79. The junior also wins the 200 meters later in the night.
800 meters is next and Neuqua Valley with a couple runners in contention with Michael O’Connor and Nicolas Dovalovsky.
Only a two lap race means an exciting finish and in the end Emmanuel Angomas of Plainfield East just edges Michael O’Connor by less than a second, they both are moving on to state. Dovalovsky finishes 5th.
Let’s doubles up the 800 and move to the 1600, four laps around the track for these runners in the third and final heat of the event.
This one would be a photo finish, Neuqua’s Michael Madiol and Christian Knowlton of Plainfield South are neck and neck, but it’s Madiol who gets the win by less than a tenth of a second! Chris Keely from Neuqua finishes third, but not quite fast enough to qualify for state.
300 meter hurdles time and Donovan Tuner in lane one really gains steam down the stretch, but he smoothly glides over the hurdles and wins his 2nd sectional title of the night. Yorkville junior Nathan Batres gets the other state qualifying spot.
Final race of the night is the 4X400, Neuqua Valley has the sectional title well in hand, but is hoping to qualify in the event to improve the Wildcats chances of defending their state championship.
The final handoff finds Plainfield South in the lead just ahead of Plainfield North and Oswego, Donovan Tuner takes the baton in 4th place.
An absolutely furious finish as Plainfield North leads, but Oswego and Neuqua go to the outside to pass, Oswego hangs on for the 4X400 win, Turner pulls into 2nd to qualify the Wildcats relay and Plainfield North makes it to state as well in third.
Neuqua takes a sectional title victory lap, Oswego East finishes 2nd while Plainfield East and Plainfield South tie for third. The state meet at Eastern Illinois awaits next weekend.
Check out how the other Boys Track and Field Sectionals went in our Boys Sports Highlights!