McHenry junior Evan Hying considered the Geneva Track and Field Invitational as an eye-opening experience.
It was there, on April 13, where Hying, Nick Shawler-Clapper, Calvin Quarterman and John Konstantelos ran an 8:00 in the 4x800-meter relay, a time that put them atop the leaderboard on the website dyestatil.com, which tracks the best performances around the state.
“It was like, ‘All right, we can do something here,’ ” Hying said.
A week later, they did it again with a time of 8:00.38 for the record at the McHenry County Meet. By last week they had hacked eight seconds off that time for a record 7:52.38 at the Fox Valley Conference Meet. Dyestatil.com has that time as the fourth-fastest this season.
The next step is the IHSA Class 3A Huntley Sectional Friday, where they will be the top seed and look for another fast race to earn a trip to the state meet in Charleston next weekend.
“We’ve set ourselves up perfectly to get another great time in the sectional,” Hying said. “We think we can get a medal with the people we have.”
Konstantelos started to see the potential a year ago when he, Shawler-Clapper and Quarterman all broke 2:00 in the 800 meters. They knew Hying was getting close, so this year could be something special.
“We felt we always had 800 depth,” Konstantelos said. “If Evan cold be there, it had to be our year this year. We worked our butts off for this. We’re trying not to be full of ourselves and keep working.”
The 4x800 is an event where times often drop more than any other this time of year as the competition gets better. Konstantelos says the FVC’s 4x800 prowess helped the Warriors reach this level.
“Our conference is definitely stacked, and the sectional is too,” Konstantelos said. “We’re going to be pushed again.”
Along with the tough FVC competition, the Warriors praise McHenry assistant coach Jim Wheeler, who works with the distance runners, and teammate Jesse Reiser, a sophomore who is having an outstanding season himself.
“We’ve put in a lot of miles, then toward the end of the season we lay off the miles and work on speed,” Konstantelos said of Wheeler’s plan. “And Jesse pushes us so much. He’s a stud. In the winter, it was me and Evan and Jesse every day.”
If everything goes according to plan, McHenry will have a sectional race and two next week at state.
“We felt we had that kind of race in us [for FVC],” Hying said. “When we got that, it was like, ‘All right, we’re ready to go.’ We’re peaking at the right moment in the season.”