CARY – In the closest possible finish, both coaches could have agonized over every inch or hundredth of a second that could have meant the outright boys team title at the McHenry County Track and Field Meet.
Instead, they embraced the moment as co-champions.
Huntley, which had been chasing McHenry all Saturday afternoon at Cary-Grove’s Al Bohrer Field, nearly won the team title outright with a late comeback. Still, the defending champion Red Raiders did not mind sharing the title with McHenry with 116 points each.
Huntley coach Jim Rolando and McHenry coach Dave D’Angelo shared congratulations and a laugh at the unusual outcome. Huntley won the coin flip and took the trophy home, but both teams took pictures with it. They even took one together. McHenry will receive another trophy later.
“I’d rather tie with [D’Angelo] than anyone else,” Rolando said. “This is pretty exciting, that’s about all I can say to it.”
Huntley won its first county title last year. McHenry won its first in 2009 and added another in 2010.
McHenry led Huntley by three points heading into the last race, the 4x400-meter relay. Huntley led that race most of the way until Crystal Lake Central’s Tyler Thomas passed Huntley’s Tyler Schwartz in the final 20 meters to win. McHenry finished fourth, which left both teams with 116 points.
“[McHenry] can thank us!” an excited Central assistant Bill Eschman said after the Tigers pulled off the comeback victory for a county 4x400 title.
“It’s unbelievable that it came down to a tie,” D’Angelo said. “It’s a weird feeling, but I’m definitely glad we didn’t lose.”
Huntley rode its winning 4x100 and 4x200 relays, along with Justin Herbert winning the discus and taking second in the shot put.
“It’s really great (to tie),” said Huntley’s Mike Dollar, who ran on the two winning relays and the runner-up 4x400. “We both competed really hard and both teams are really good. We’ve been practicing on the relays as hard as we can and try to push ourselves to do our best.”
McHenry got wins from Nate Richartz (pole vault), Jesse Reiser (3,200), Kyle Postal (high jump) and Korey Partenheimer (triple jump). The Warriors also started the running finals with Nick Shawler-Clapper, John Konstantelos, Calvin Quarterman and Evan Hying breaking the 4x800 meet record with an 8:00.38.
Central had two of the other meet standouts in Isaiah Mosher and Alex Baker. Mosher won the long jump, 100 and 200 meters, while Baker won the 800, 1,600 and ran a leg of the winning 4x400 relay team. The Tigers were third with 102 1/2 points.
“I really like the [1,600], that’s my favorite race,” Baker said. “I’ve been running the 800 almost every meet. I ran the 3,200 more last year, but I like the 800 because it’s over quicker. It gets me moving and it’s not as much of a waiting game.”