Cary-Grove, McHenry sophs give glimpse of bright futures in track and field

Cary-Grove's Ricky Hurley competes in the Class 3A shot put during Saturday's IHSA state meet finals in Charleston.
Cary-Grove's Ricky Hurley competes in the Class 3A shot put during Saturday's IHSA state meet finals in Charleston.

Cary-Grove track and field coach Layne Holter marveled at Ricky Hurley’s performance Saturday when the Trojans’ sophomore took home a pair of medals from the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet in Charleston.

“He’s got a lot to be proud of,” Holter said. “Not a lot of sophomores take hardware home in the throws.”

Hurley finished fifth in the Class 3A discus and seventh in the shot put.

McHenry coach Dave D’Angelo expressed a similar reaction to distance prodigy Jesse Reiser, who was seventh in the Class 3A 3,200 meters and, like Hurley, is only a sophomore.

“He’s an animal.” D’Angelo said. “He just goes out and battles people. [Distance coach] Jim [Wheeler] and I look at each other and we’re like, ‘What do we have here?’ ”

Hurley and Reiser both have made themselves well-known. They also may just be getting started.

Josh Freeman, the C-G graduate who won the Class 3A shot put and discus last year, tweeted Saturday about Hurley: “That’s my boy!” Freeman now throws at Southern Illinois University and was a major influence on Hurley last year. Hurley hopes to work with Freeman a little this summer, although Freeman will spend most of it in Carbondale.

“I needed some weight, last year I was smaller and wasn’t strong enough,” said Hurley, who now weighs 250 pounds. “I’m going to do a lot of [USA Track and Field] meets this summer.”

Hurley also will work with Bob Psenka, a Cary resident who works with the Trojans’ throwers. Holter said Hurley has Freeman’s school records of 181-3 (discus) and 66-0 (shot put) in mind.

“He doesn’t even question those will fall, that’s his attitude,” Holter said. “I don’t know if he’s articulated that to Josh yet. He gets a lot of experience at AAU and USATF meets in the summer. He works all year round on throwing and that makes a big difference. There’s a lot of upside there.”

Hurley is thinking even bigger than that.

“I’m going to come back and break both state records,” Hurley said.

Those belong to Lake Park’s Dan Block (discus, 205-8) and Lake Park’s Jermaine Kline (shot put, 66-5 3/4).

Reiser opened eyes with his 9:20 a year ago to qualify in the Class 3A 3,200 as a freshman. He continued to tear it up through the cross country season, finishing seventh in the Class 3A State Meet. He was closing in on 9:00 this season, running his career-best 9:05.40 in Saturday’s finals.

“I just try to stay humble,” Reiser said. “I don’t know what’s in my future yet. I’ll just keep working and getting better each year.”

Reiser plans to attend some running camps and training with his team this summer. He might attend the Midwest Distance Festival in June after being invited at the state meet.

“The sky’s the limit for him,” D’Angelo said. “He’s one of the most mentally tough kids I’ve ever seen. He doesn’t let anything bother him. I don’t think he’s had a bad race all year.”

Playing hurt: Richmond-Burton’s James Kaht sounded hoarse and raspy Saturday after taking second in the Class 2A 1,600.

Kaht’s mother Evelyn said her son “had a raging sore throat” Friday night, so they were apprehensive about how he would be able to run Saturday. Kaht ran a personal record time (4:21.35) to take second, the highest boys’ state finish in R-B’s history.

Evelyn and Glenn Kaht took James to be examined after returning home and learned had strep throat.

“We were speechless with the effort he was able to put forth,” Evelyn said in an email.

Moving on: Jacobs senior Nick Matysek will run at Nebraska next year. Matysek was one of the area’s top 800 runners and a member of the Golden Eagles’ 4x800 relay team that finished sixth in 2012. … Ryan Ross, another member of that 4x800 team, will run at Drake University, as will McHenry’s Calvin Quarterman. Ross and Matysek ran on Jacobs’ state-qualifying 4x800 team again Friday, while Quarterman was on McHenry’s 4x800 relay team. McHenry made it to the finals, but leadoff man Evan Hying was bumped and fell in his second lap, which knocked the Warriors out of medal contention.

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