CHARLESTON – McHenry’s day at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet got off to a crummy start but ended with a thrilling finish.
The Warriors’ 4x800-meter relay team was poised for a possible top-five finish, but leadoff runner Evan Hying was bumped and fell in his second lap, knocking the Warriors out of medal contention.
Senior Will Ford delighted his teammates later inside the fieldhouse – the pole vault and high jump were moved inside because of rain – when he cleared his personal best by 9 inches, making 15 feet to take fifth in that event.
Ford, likely vaulting for the last time in his life, got on a serious roll. He missed at 13-6, then cleared every height until 15-3 on his first attempt. He missed three times at 15-3 for fifth place.
“This is my last track meet – I’m going to the University of Denver and they don’t have a track team,” Ford said. “I wanted to leave it all out there and take this all in. It’s a great way to end the season.”
Ford said he made an adjustment this week when he planted his pole and looked above the bar instead of at the bar as he swung his legs up.
“I couldn’t do it without [assistant coach] Mike Quinnett,” Ford said. “There’s no better coach to put up with me for four years.”
The Warriors’ 4x800 relay team of Hying, Calvin Quarterman, Nick Shawler-Clapper and John Konstantelos thought it could be right in contention in that race but never got the chance. Hying was bumped during the first lap and almost fell. He was bumped again during the second lap and fell on the synthetic turf at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium. The Warriors finished 12th in 8:15.54.
“I feel bad I didn’t give the others a chance to run,” Hying said. “It happens. I think [a runner] bumped into me and I stepped on the rail and went down. The next thing I know, I’m on the ground and any chance for a medal is crushed.”
Hying was on the turf for a couple of seconds, then got up and finished his leg.
“I was excited because he was making a move,” Quarterman said. “That’s part of racing, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. We could definitely run with those guys, that’s what makes it so tough I suppose.”
Tough finish: Huntley’s Justin Herbert dealt with disappointment Saturday when he was 10th in the discus at 153-4, an inch from ninth place. Mainly, Herbert was upset because he had been throwing in the 160-foot range in recent weeks.
“Everyone I talked to says to appreciate the fact that I’m here and I’m one of the best throwers in the state,” Herbert said. “This wasn’t what I was aiming for. I thought I could be in the top five.”
Herbert committed to EIU in the fall, but decommitted this spring and signed with Western Illinois University.
Annual text: Jacobs assistant coach Kevin Christian sent the text at some time around 11:30 a.m. Saturday to Evan Jager, David Arndt, Mike Connolly and Aaron Russo: Their 2006 race of 7:40.02 is still the fastest in state history.
Jager, a junior that year, ran the relay instead of the 3,200 meters. Every year Christian texts the four former Golden Eagles from the state meet to let them know they are still No. 1. Jager finished sixth in the steeplechase during the 2012 summer Olympics in London.