CHARLESTON – Crystal Lake South shot putter Kyle Hedge put together everything he had been working on for his best throw at the most opportune time.
The spin was fast and powerful. His release was perfect. And the Gators’ junior also added his new finishing touch.
“I had a lot of power on the end, a lot of explosion,” Hedge said. “I’ve started using a grunt and that helped a lot.”
Hedge’s throw was 58 feet, 5 1/4 inches, putting him in third place after Friday’s preliminaries in the Class 3A shot put at the boys state track and field meet at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium. It was Hedge’s career-best throw by 2 feet, 3 inches, but he wants more in Saturday’s finals.
“If I put it together even more, I can hit a bigger one,” Hedge said. His third throw in the prelims was 56-11, his second-best career throw by more than a foot.
Crystal Lake South’s 4x800-meter relay team of Drew Kopfman, Kyle Radosevich, Jon Prus and David Lenzini also qualified in 7:53.47 for the 12-member final field. Other area qualifiers in Class 3A were Cary-Grove’s Ricky Hurley (discus), McHenry’s Kyle Postal (high jump) and Jesse Reiser (1,600).
Reiser won his 1,600 heat and also will run in the 3,200 meters finals, a race that only is run only on Saturday at state.
South’s 4x800 qualification was particularly sweet for Lenzini, a senior who does not plan on running in college, but who has qualified in that relay all four years of high school.
“This is all about four years of hard work,” Lenzini said. “I love competing and Jon [Prus] put me in a good place [for the anchor leg]. I’m really pumped for this.”
Two of the three previous years, the Gators had the 13th-fastest qualifying time, missing the finals by one spot.
“I’m going to miss graduation now, but I’m good with that,” Lenzini said.
Postal made 6-5 in each of his previous two meets and cleared 6-4 in the high jump to qualify.
“My mark was off at first and I was a little nervous,” Postal said. “I moved it back and made 6-4 on my first jump. That was a huge relief. My legs feel good.”
Postal has made 6-6 in practice and hopes to get at least that in the finals.
The 1,600 qualification was basically a formality for Reiser, one of the premier distance runners in the state and a favorite in the 3,200. He won his heat in 4:16.60.
“My coach [assistant Jim Wheeler] told me to run as easy as possible to qualify,” Reiser said. “I’m a competitor though and at the end I wanted to win.”
Hurley fouled on two of his discus attempts, but his throw of 169-9 has him in second place heading into the finals.
“I’m still just irritated at the way I threw,” Hurley said. “If I threw what I was in warmups, I’d be in solid second place that would keep me there. I couldn’t get a grip on it at all.”
Tendinitis in Hurley’s right hand kept him from making the shot put finals. He had a special brace, but the IHSA ruled he could not throw with it, even though he was allowed to use it in the sectional.
C-G’s Brad Wolter was in on two narrow misses Friday in the 400 and the 4x400. Wolter ran his career-best 49.25 in the 400 and was 10th by five-hundredths of a second. He also anchored the Trojans’ 4x400 relay with Robbie Gleeson, Michael Saxon and Daniel Speer, where they ran 3:20.54 and missed by two spots.
Wolter was not too disappointed after the 400.
“I couldn’t be happier,” he said. “I was happy to be here and now to run that time. I’m happy with it.”
Wolter will attend Northern Illinois University and plans on running club track and field there.
Huntley junior sprinter Connor Boos finished off a strong season by running in four events – 100, 200, 4x100 and 4x200 – but did not make any finals.
“It’s great. It’s an honor to be able to run and represent Huntley here in four events,” Boos said. “I was really looking forward to running against these guys and having fun out there. I was hoping to make the 200 finals, but it didn’t happen.”