HUNTLEY – When Huntley 4x200-meter relay anchor Mike Dollar grabbed the baton from Connor Boos on Friday, he was a few meters behind Jefferson’s DeRontae Craig, but that didn’t seem to bother the senior, as he found another gear.
By the end of the turn and heading into the final straight Dollar had caught Craig, and Dollar knew he had enough energy left to pull away. He did, and the Red Raiders won the event in a school-record 1:29.66 to qualify for the state meet next weekend in Charleston.
“We told ourselves that we need to dominate everyone and we did exactly that,” Dollar said. “I knew that [Craig] wasn’t going to be able to go as far and I’m really good at being able to turn it on.”
Dollar said the relay had experienced issues with the transfer of the baton in past races. but Friday at the Class 3A Huntley Sectional the transfers were perfect and played a huge role in being able to advance to the state meet and breaking a school record set in 2009 in 1:30.33.
“It’s great,” Huntley coach Jim Rolando said. “The guys ran a great race and it’s pretty special to see them run faster than the [2009 team].”
The Red Raiders also qualified in two more relays – the 4x800 and the 4x100. Craig Lambert qualified individually for the Red Raiders in the pole vault, and teammate Justin Herbert qualified in the discus.
Huntley placed second overall with 56 points behind sectional champions Grant (83). Crystal Lake Central (49) placed fifth, Cary-Grove (42) took seventh, Jacobs (38) took eighth, McHenry (37) placed 10th and Prairie Ridge and Crystal Lake South each earned six points for 13th place.
The Trojans’ Michael Gleeson won the 400 in a season-best 50.35. The senior ran the same race and state last season in 49.3. Though we wasn’t too pleased with his time he was excited that it was still good enough to earn him his third trip to the state meet.
Gleeson is still working his way back to top form after missing nearly the entire season because of nagging hamstring and ankle injuries. He ran in only three meets before Friday’s sectional and hopes to be able to shave off some in the next week.
“I actually felt pretty good but I’m still not where I was hoping to be at this point,” said Gleeson, who is still working to get his legs under him. “Next week is when it counts so hopefully I can get a little closer.”
Aside from Gleeson, the Trojans Michael Saxon qualified for state in the 300 hurdles (39.75) after placing second and under the state qualifying time of 39.84. The Trojans also qualified their 4x400 relay, and Ricky Hurley made state in the shot put and the discus.
Crystal Lake Central also impressed at the meet, as Isaiah Mosher qualified for two individual events. The senior won the 100 in 10.97 and was the only runner to run a sub-11 seconds in the race. He also won the long jump by jumping 22 feet, 7 1/2 inches. Teammate Alex Baker won the 1,600 in 4:16.58 and was part of the state-qualifying 4x800 relay.
“Alex and Isaiah are very special athletes,” Tigers coach Brian Seaver said. “There was some pressure to do what they needed to do and they were able to do it. We’re very excited and we have a chance to do well next week and those two have been looking forward to this all year long and are looking forward to competing against the best.”
McHenry qualified its 4x800 relay as well as a few individuals. Jesse Reiser came in second in the 3,200, and Will Ford won the pole vault at 13-9.
Jacobs qualified its 4x400 and the 4x800 relays. Crystal Lake South made state in the 4x800 relay as well. Prairie Ridge senior Joe Cowlin placed third in the 3,200 with a time of 9:19.60, besting his seed-time by more than 15 seconds.
“I felt great,” Cowlin said. “I had a rough middle of the season because I’ve been sick but I just knew that I didn’t want this to be by last race so I went out and made sure it wasn’t.”