Inside Prep Track

Athletes of the Week


Alex Baker

Crystal Lake Central, sr.

Baker almost set two records in the Fox Valley Conference Boys Track and Field Meet Friday night at Cary-Grove’s Al Bohrer Field.

Baker ran the 3,200 meters in 9:04.93 to break the mark Grayslake Central’s Will Brewster (9:17.53) set last year. McHenry sophomore Jesse Reiser finished in 9:09.97, which helped Baker break the record.

Baker came back in the 1,600 and cruised to a victory in 4:18.56, only .01 off the record set last year by Jacobs’ William Hennessy.

“I wasn’t looking at the [3,200] record,” Baker said. “Whoever was out there, I just wanted to beat them.”


Lauren Van Vlierbergen

Jacobs, so.

Van Vlierbergen qualified for the IHSA Class 3A Girls Track and Field State Meet in three events at Thursday’s Belvidere North Sectional Meet.

Van Vlierbergen anchored Jacobs’ winning 4x800 relay and won the 1,600. She also took second in the 800.

Van Vlierbergen, Molly Barnes, Tori Tamburrino and Sam Baran ran 9:33.07 to win the 4x800. Van Vlierbergen also ran a 5:05.52 to win the 1,600.

In the 800, Van Vlierbergen was second to defending Class 3A state champion Courtney Clayton of Hononegah, who won in 2:13.85. Van Vlierbergen finished in 2:16.52.


Dalman headed back: Crystal Lake Central pole vaulter Claire Dalman, who has cleared 11-0 four times, was close again at the Belvidere North Sectional, where she made 10-9 to win the event.

Dalman, a junior, will make her third trip to state with hopes of qualifying for the finals this year. She cleared 10-0 at state last year, but it took 11-0 to make the finals.

Young Hornets: Harvard will send one of its youngest contingents ever to the state meet, two freshmen and two sophomores.

Freshman Sophie Stricker qualified with 1:00.52 in the 400 and also ran in the 4x800 relay with freshman Jordan Peterson and sophomores Javanneka Jacobs and Riley Korczak.

Nice sendoff: Dundee-Crown boys coach Tom Smith was honored before the running finals in Friday’s FVC Boys Meet. Smith, who started coaching at Crown in 1980, is retiring at the end of the season.

Huntley coach Jim Rolando thanked Smith over the P.A. system and McHenry coach Dave D’Angelo handed Smith a plaque thanking him for his service to his school and to the sport.

Smith is regarded as a mentor and friend by the FVC coaches in both cross country and track.

Getting ready: Crystal Lake Central’s Isaiah Mosher won the long jump, but was dissatisfied with his performances otherwise in the FVC Meet. Mosher was second in the 100 and fifth in a close finish in the 200.

“I definitely didn’t come to compete,” Mosher said. “I ran a 10.89 100 earlier and run 11.14 today. To me, that’s inexcusable. The Grayslake North runner [Titus Booker] came to compete. That’s the first time I lost in the 100 this year. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and part of me will be glad [Booker] beat me. I’ll realize I have to compete out there next week [at the Huntley Sectional].”

Friendly competition: Huntley senior Justin Herbert and Cary-Grove sophomore Ricky Hurley have brought out the best in each other all season.

Herbert usually has the edge in the discus, while Hurley has been better in the shot put.

In the FVC Meet, Hurley almost had the discus title until Herbert, on his final throw, wrested it away with a 169-0 effort, his best throw ever.

“We’re close friends and the same caliber at throwing,” Herbert said. “I was actually really nervous [before the last throw]. [Assistant] coach [Chris Maxedon] gave me a quick pep talk and told me to zone out everybody else and do it.”

It was Herbert’s personal-best by six feet.

This week’s top meets


IHSA State Meet

Thursday to Saturday

Eastern Illinois University, Charleston

The Class 1A meet has preliminary heats and flights are Thursday. Classes 2A and 3A compete Friday. The finals in all three classes will be Saturday.


(All boys meets are Friday)

Class 1A Oregon Sectional

Local team competing: Alden-Hebron

Class 1A Seneca Sectional

Local team competing: Faith Lutheran

Class 2A Sterling Sectional

Local team competing: Hampshire

Class 2A Vernon Hills Sectional

Local teams competing: Harvard, Johnsburg, Marengo, Marian Central, Woodstock and Woodstock North

Class 3A Huntley Sectional

Local teams competing: Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Huntley, Jacobs and McHenry

Class 3A Hoffman Estates Sectional

Local team competing: Dundee-Crown

– Joe Stevenson

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