Roles reversed: York wins WSC-Silver outdoor team title over Lyons Township
By Michael Newman
River Forest, Ill --- It was a nip and tuck team championship chase between state powers Lyons Township and York on Saturday afternoon on the Concordia University campus. York had the lead for the conference championship by two points heading into the final three events. It was similar to what happened at the indoor meet when Lyons Township had a tight lead going into the last three events. They went on to roar to the indoor championship.
This time the roles were reversed. The Dukes outscored their conference rival by 23 points in the final three events to win the conference championship 162-141.
“Indoors we did not close out the meet. It was just the reverse. They did it to us,” said York Head Coach Stan Reddell. “From the 400 Meters on, we turned things around.”
York got a boost at the beginning in the field events from Reid Smith. The junior captured the High Jump clearing 6-4. He then moved over to the Pole Vault where he cleared 13-0 to stay ahead of Jack Czyzewicz (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove).
Lyons boosted their chances early in the meet by a pair of wins as well. Matt Harris only needed two jumps in the preliminary round, but his 22-11 performance was more than enough for the win. Jimmy Mitchell added on to his indoor championship in the Shot Put by winning outdoors as well. His winning put of 54-9 ½ was nearly four feet ahead of teammate Nick Demes.
This conference is known for the strong distance runners that it produces. The meet was tainted (just a little bit) with both Zach Smith (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove North) and Alex Bashqawi (York HS, Elmhurst) out do to nagging little colds. Both will be running this coming week at their respective sectional meets according to their coaches.
The 4 x 800 Meter Relay was the first final race on the track and the closest finish of the day. York, Hinsdale Central, and Lyons Township showed in the first leg that they would be the teams to watch as they pulled away from the rest of the pack. This was going to be a fast race as Lyons Ed McCarter opened in 1:57.3 to give his team the lead. Central and York were close behind. It remained close for the next 1600 Meters as the three teams started to trade off the lead. It came down to a final 800 Meter show down between Ryan Somerfield (Hinsdale Central HS, Hinsdale), Alex Lima (Lyons Township HS, LaGrange), and Matt Plowman (York HS, Elmhurst). Plowman took the lead in the last 50 meters to hold of Lima for the win. York, using their third different line up in as many meets (Alex Baughman, Dale Douglas, Zach Herrera, and Plowman), ran 7:52.33 for a seasonal best. Lyons Township (McCarter, Connor Delaney, Dan Lupano, and Lima) was close behind 7:52.61 with also a seasonal best. Hinsdale Central (Kevin Huang, Dylan Palo, Mike Korompilas, and Somerfield) improved on their time of 8:14 that they ran two weeks ago at Prospect by running 7:54.31. “We will take it for now,” said Hinsdale distance coach Jim Westphal.
Team tactics continued in the 3200 Meter Run as Lyons Township’s Ryan Spier and Mike Matusiak pushed the pace for the first 2k with York’s Nathan Mroz & Chris May, and Will Lindstrom (Glenbard West HS, Glen Ellyn) following close behind. With 900 Meters to go, May and Mroz pushed the next 400 meters down to 69 seconds to break the race open as Lindstrom tried to stay close. With 500 meters to go, Mroz took over. He pulled away for a five second win (9:22.31) over May and Lindstrom. It was a welcome back in a way for Mroz. The last year has been difficult for the York junior as he has battled back from injuries.
“It’s been a while since I have been back. I missed all of cross country season,” said Mroz. “Having to win a race, it is great to be back running.”
"We had the same situation with Jordan Hebert a couple of years earlier. We just told him to believe in his training and set times along the way that he would have to meet to get to the point that he wanted to be at the end of the year," said York distance coach Jim Hedman. "Right now he is right on pace. Jordan ended up being second in the state that year. We are just following the same roadpath with Nathan. He's going to run well in a couple of weeks."
Ed McCarter came back after leading off the 4 x8 and lead wire to wire in winning the 800 Meter Run (1:57.12). It was not easy though. He held off challenges from Lima, Plowman, and Tony Zea (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove) in the last 200 hundred meters to capture the win.
The 1600 Meter Run turned out to be tactical waiting for one runner to make a move. It played into the hands of Ben Eaton (Downers Grove North HS, Downers Grove) perfectly. He took the lead with 500 meters to go running the last 400 meters in 64.2 for the win (4:25.61). York’s pair of Scott Milling and Alex Mimlitz finished 2-3 to grab 14 important points for their team.
“I was just hanging off the pack until the last 500 meters. With 500 to go, it just felt like they were slowing down so I decided to take it,” said Eaton. “I definitely could hear that they (Milling/Mimlitz) were coming. I don’t really have a good kick. I just gave it all that I had.
Oak Park-River Forest validated that they have one of the top sprint squads in the state by their performances at this meet. Their chances for a state trophy took a big hit in the 200 Meter Dash. Earlier in the meet, the Huskies with smooth handoffs handled a strong field winning the 4 x 100 Meter Relay. They won the race (42.63) as they just held off Lyons, York, and Glenbard West. Their top sprinter Tariq Taylor then commanded the 100 Meters by a great start winning easily (11.02). Taylor anchored their 4 x 200 Meter team to a narrow win over York (1:29.73-1:29.84).
Zach Booth (Oak Park-River Forest HS, Oak Park) was one of the favorites as he entered the blocks for the 200 Meter Dash. He had made up the stagger 75 meters into the race when all of a sudden it looked like he hit a wall. He crumpled down onto the track grabbing his left hamstring. The race continued as teammate Jamal Baggett won the race (22.66). The stadium grew quiet as the trainer looked at Booth’s left leg. He could not walk as he needed help leaving the track. He was seen walking around an hour later with his leg heavily bandaged with ice on it. According to Oak Park coach Tim Hasso, Booth will have an MRI on Monday. It could end the trophy chances at state for the Huskies.
Lyons Township swept the hurdles with Matt Harris taking the lead by the second hurdle in the 110 Meter Hurdles and won over teammate Lino Mogorovic (14.90-15.16). Mogorovic commanded the 300 Intermediate Hurdles winning by a second and a half (38.75) over Jarvis Grace-Hill (York HS, Elmhurst). Mogorovic was also the anchor for their 4 x 400 Meter Relay win (3:23.04).
Nick Piker (Hinsdale Central HS, Hinsdale) will be a discus thrower to watch in a couple of weeks at state. He won on Saturday by over fourteen feet with a throw of 177-3.