Track

High school boys track and field: Crystal Lake South's Prus headlines talented field vying for state bid in 800

Jon Prus
Jon Prus

Crystal Lake South boys track and field coaches were uncertain what Jon Prus was doing in the 800 meters at the Fox Valley Conference Meet on Friday, but they loved it.

Prus took off so fast that spectators wondered when he was going to hit the proverbial wall. That collision never materialized. He ran the first lap in 54 seconds, then went 1:01 in the second and was never really challenged at Huntley’s Red Raider Stadium.

“We didn’t tell him to do that,” South assistant coach Rich Eschman said, smiling.

Prus’ time of 1:55.36 was his career-best. He will return to Huntley on Friday and try to earn his first individual trip to the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet. Prus will be a favorite in a strong 800 field that includes Prairie Ridge sophomore Grant Jensen and McHenry junior Maki Mohr.

Prus, a senior who will run at NCAA Division I Northeastern next year, has been to state with the Gators’ 4x800 relay before but not individually. Last week’s race indicated he’s ready to advance to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston next weekend and make a run at the Class 3A 800 finals.

“My legs felt a little weird. It didn’t feel that fast, and at the 300 I was like, ‘Whoa, that first 200 was fast,’ ” Prus said. “ ‘I’m here now, I might as well keep going with it. I just went with it.’ When I got to 400, I thought, ‘Just run a good second 400 and I’ll be good.”

Prus ran a 2:01 at the McHenry County Meet, finishing behind Jensen and Mohr. He turned around the next day and went 1:56 at Palatine, then ran a 1:57 leg with South’s 4x800 team two days after that.

“I changed my prerace routine a lot,” Prus said. “I listen to music and isolate on my own. It helps me focus.”

Mohr closed the gap somewhat in the last lap and was second in 1:56.35.

Jensen, who advanced as a freshman in the 800 last year, will run with James Lasak, Filip Pajak and David Tulke in the Wolves’ 4x800 relay, which went 7:54.20 to win the FVC title. He will then come back and try to make it in the 800 again as well.

“Jon Prus went out really fast. It’s hard to catch him,” Jensen said. “Maki just has an amazing kick. With those two guys you know it’s going to be a good race. That will help push me at sectional, especially if I run the 4x800 again.”

Huntley’s sprinters and hurdlers make it a threat to win the triple crown (McHenry County, FVC and sectional meets). Dubem Anikamadu will have a shot at qualifying in four races as he runs the 100, 200 and anchors the Raiders’ 4x100 and 4x200 relays with Melvin Aninagyei, Eric Mooney and Ron Noll. Hurdlers Brian Bala, Lukas Bolas and Sam Pitrone scored big for Huntley in the FVC Meet last week.

Sectional capsules

Note: All first- and second-place sectional finishers, as well as those meeting the qualifying standards, advance to the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet.

Class 1A Oregon Sectional

When: Friday

Start times: 4 p.m. field events; 5:30 p.m. running

Local teams competing: Alden-Hebron, Faith Lutheran

Class 2A Vernon Hills Sectional

When: Friday

Start times: 4 p.m. field events; 5:30 p.m. running

Local teams competing: Harvard, Johnsburg, Marengo, Marian Central, Richmond-Burton, Woodstock, Woodstock North

Class 3A Huntley Sectional

When: Friday

Start times: 4 p.m. field events; 6:30 p.m. running

Local teams competing: Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Hampshire, Huntley, Jacobs, McHenry, Prairie Ridge

Class 3A Hoffman Estates Sectional

When: Friday

Start times: 4:30 p.m. field events; 6 p.m. running

Local teams competing: Cary-Grove, Dundee-Crown

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