CARY – Huntley sophomore Brennan Bell had no problem sharing first place in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, especially since his team did not have to share anything on this trip to Cary-Grove’s Al Bohrer Field.
Bell and C-G sophomore Mike Saxon accomplished a nearly impossible feat with a dead heat at 40.40 seconds in the 300 hurdles. With that tie and his runner-up finish in the 110 high hurdles, Bell was instrumental in helping the Red Raiders win the Fox Valley Conference Boys Track and Field Meet championship for the first time in school history.
Huntley and McHenry tied for the McHenry County Meet title at C-G three weeks ago, but Friday’s meet belonged to the Red Raiders with 1161/2 points. McHenry (881/2) was second and Crystal Lake Central (871/2) was third.
The 300 hurdles produced a rarity, as frame-by-frame pictures on a fully automatic timing system could not determine a winner, so the finish was ruled a tie.
“I knew we were right next to each other [in the 300 hurdles],” Bell said. “I’m more than happy to tie with [Saxon] since he usually beats me.”
Bell’s tie was one of three Huntley victories in the meet. Justin Herbert won the discus on his final attempt with a career-best 169-0 and the 4x400 relay team of Trevor Obecny, Mike Dollar, Jon Los and Brendan O’Donnell wrapped up the meet with a victory.
“Everyone was really pumped up and ready to compete,” Bell said. “We showed up to compete like we knew we could.”
Red Raiders coach Jim Rolando thought his team had been runner-up four times in the FVC Meet. Huntley also won the FVC Valley Division, while Crystal Lake Central won the Fox.
“It started with our throwers, Justin [Herbert] and Isaac [Jimenez],” Rolando said. “They made a huge difference. We just ran awesome on the track.”
Crystal Lake Central senior Alex Baker and McHenry sophomore Jesse Reiser combined for the best 3,200 meters race in meet history. Baker finished in 9:04.93, the third-fastest time in the state this year according to dyestatil.com, and well under last year’s meet record of 9:17.53 set by Grayslake Central’s Will Brewster. Reiser ran a 9:09.97.
Baker said he was looking at the competition with Reiser and Prairie Ridge’s Joe Cowlin and not the record.
“I was just ready to compete. I wanted to beat whoever was out there,” Baker said. “Those guys are great runners. Every race with them is intense. Jesse is awesome and that pushed me all the way.”
Baker made his move with two laps to go and put some distance on Reiser.
“I was going for a [personal record], I knew Baker would be with me the whole time,” Reiser said. “This is the most exhilarating race of my life. I’m very happy with that.”
Baker also came back to win the 1,600 in 4:18.56, only .01 off of the record set by Jacobs’ William Hennessy last year.
McHenry’s 4x800 relay team of Evan Hying, Calvin Quarterman, Nick Shawler-Clapper and John Konstantelos ran 7:52.38 to break a year-old record of Jacobs (7:54.91). Quarterman danced around the track after Konstantelos finished the race and he head their time.
“I wasn’t looking at the record at all,” Quarterman said. “We wanted to win and set a PR. I didn’t think we’d see 7:52 until we got to Charleston [and the Class 3A state meet].”