Marengo’s Finn Schirmer does not have fond memories of his first time setting foot on the track at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
As a freshman last year, Schirmer made it to the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet in four events, and hoped he might qualify for the finals in at least a couple of those.
But in Schirmer’s first race, the Class 2A 110-meter high hurdles, he tweaked a hamstring and could not recover. He missed in the 100 meters and in the 300 intermediate hurdles, then was pulled from the Indians’ 4x400 relay.
Schirmer will return to the big blue track in four events again on Friday, significantly faster and motivated after last year’s disappointment. He will run in the 110 highs, the 100, the 200 and the 4x400 relay.
The Class 1A athletes compete in preliminaries on Thursday, with 2A starting Friday morning and 3A on Friday afternoon. Finals for all three classes will be together on Saturday.
Based on sectional meet times, Schirmer is seeded second (110 highs), fourth (100) and third (200). The Class 2A Richmond-Burton Sectional was something to behold with Freeport’s Deion McShane (14.11) and Schirmer (14.12) going 1-2 in the 110 highs and Schirmer (21.91) and McShane (21.94) going 1-2 in the 200.
Schirmer and McShane enjoyed competing against each other last week and look forward to racing again, likely on Saturday.
“It was very awesome to race against him,” Schirmer said at the sectional. “He is a very good athlete and he had some really good races today. I’m glad both of us were victorious.”
McShane, who will run at NCAA Division I Northern Iowa, had similar feelings about running against Schirmer.
“Man, that 200’s one of the best I’ve ever ran and (Schirmer) ran strong,” McShane said. “I wish there were 20 more meters. It’s going to be a great race at state. To be a sophomore, that’s smoking.”
Schirmer no longer competes in the 300 hurdles, which McShane won in a state-meet record (all classes) 36.53 last year.
McShane was a reason that five runners qualified in the 110 highs and four qualified in the 300 intermediates from the R-B Sectional. McShane, his Freeport teammate Jadon Johnson, Schirmer, Marengo’s Blaine Borhart and Woodstock North’s Joe Grove all made it in the highs. Everyone but Schirmer qualified in the 300s.
“I said, ‘If I can stick with (McShane), I know I’m going to state,’ ” Grover said. “That’s what I tried to do and that’s what everyone else did. That got us there. He got us all there.”
Grover leads the largest group of competitors that North has ever taken to state. Grover is in four events, the Thunder will be represented in five events.
In Class 3A, one of the most interesting events could be the discus, where McHenry’s Brian Keyes, Quincy’s Jordan Johnson and Lockport’s John Meyer all have topped 190-0 this season. Cary-Grove’s Jason Petko and Huntley’s Ben Litwin both could make the finals and medal.
Meyer has consistently thrown past the state meet shot put record of Lake Park’s Jermaine Kline (66-5 34, set in 2011) and is expected to break that mark. Cary-Grove’s Andrew Stokes threw 58-3 last week, which has him seeded fourth. Keyes threw 54-1, but has thrown better than 58-0.
McHenry’s Maki Mohr has cleared 6-9 in the high jump, where he medalled last year with an eighth-place tie. Mohr worked more on the event this offseason and is poised for a big weekend.
Local State Qualifiers
Marengo: Finn Schirmer (100, 110HH, 200, 4x400), Blaine Borhart (110HH, 300IH, 4x400), Jadon Kozin (4x400), Alex Leonard (4x400), Aaron Shepard (HJ), Anthony Dixon (SP).
Marian Central: Ryan Jones (3,200), Zach Taylor (LJ).
Richmond-Burton: Reed Marshall (TJ), Kevin Powers (TJ).
Woodstock North: Joe Grover (110HH, 300IH, 4x200, 4x400), Elijah Pena (TJ, 4x200), Colin Zinn (4x200), Keith Webb (4x200), Austin Zieman (4x400), Luke Duenas (4x400), Aiden Filetti (4x400).
Cary-Grove: Andrew Stokes (SP), Jason Petko (discus), Brett Groves (shot put).
Crystal Lake Central: D.J. Ulrich (pole vault)
Crystal Lake South: Jack Becker (3,200, 1,600), Will Lawrence (4x200), Sam Greenspan (4x200), Matt Reall (4x200), Zach Borgert (4x200, 200).
Dundee-Crown: Shandell Watson (HJ), Jack Michalski (HJ), Adam Swanson (800, 4x800), Jack Searles (4x800), Anthony Hurgoi (4x800), Joey DeVita (4x800), Jason Miller (200).
Jacobs: Loren Strickland (LJ), Zach Albrecht (4x800), Brett Bognar (4x800), Brandon Cole (4x800), Mark Lemke (4x800), Jermaine Maegdlin-Ferguson (110HH, 300IH), Tommy Subaric (110HH, 300IH)
Huntley: Josh Guyer (TJ), Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu (TJ), Jadon Conroy (4x800), Jeremy Roe (4x800), Rasheed Ahmad (4x800), Chris Simek (4x800), Eric Mooney (4x100, 4x200, 100, 200), Ron Noll (4x100, 4x200), Zach Tepper (4x100, 4x200), Antonio Passarelli (4x100, 4x200), Ben Litwin (discus, shot put), Ian Geisler (3,200), Shayne Piskule (shot put).
McHenry: Maki Mohr (HJ, LJ), Brian Keyes (discus, shot put)
Prairie Ridge: Grant Jensen (800, 4x400), Ethan Baker (800, 4x400), Weston Dzurisin (4x400), Jackson Willis (4x400)