CHARLESTON – Prairie Ridge junior Grant Jensen had grown weary of competing only in the preliminary heats at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet.
While that is an accomplishment in itself, Jensen wanted more, and he will get it Saturday at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
Jensen was second in his heat of the Class 3A 800 meters, with the fourth-fastest time in the three preliminary heats (1:55.09) to get a spot in the finals.
“I feel good. I finally made it after the last two years,” Jensen said. “I barely missed it (last year). I learned don’t get boxed in. I got boxed in my first couple years, and it didn’t work out well.”
Jensen was one of 12 local qualifiers from Friday’s Class 3A preliminaries. Seven of the nine Fox Valley Conference schools will be represented in the finals.
“I just wanted to go out there and run my race,” Jensen said. “Before I would go out there and fall into other people’s strategies. I just wanted to get out fast and hopefully lose them.”
Huntley sprinter Eric Mooney will have a chance to medal in the Red Raiders’ 4x100 relay for a third consecutive year. Antonio Passarelli, Zach Tepper, Ron Noll and Mooney qualified at 42.0 in that relay. They accomplished that without Kentucky-bound sprinter Dubem Anikamadu, whose leg injury kept him out for most of the season.
“We had to step up and make it regardless, and that’s what we did at practice every day,” Mooney said. “Just going to work, and we got what we needed for Day 2 and look to finish strong tomorrow.”
Mooney also qualified in the 200.
McHenry’s Brian Keyes (167 feet, 5 inches), Cary-Grove’s Jason Petko (165-5) and Huntley’s Ben Litwin (161-8) all qualified in the discus, where Keyes is in third and Petko is in fourth.
Keyes (55-9 1/4) also made it in shot put, where C-G’s Andrew Stokes (57-0) advanced and is in fifth place.
The other local finals qualifiers were Crystal Lake South’s Jack Becker (1,600), Jacobs’ Jermaine Maegdlin-Ferguson (300 intermediate hurdles), McHenry’s Maki Mohr (high jump) and Dundee-Crown’s 4x800 relay of Anthony Hurgoi, Joey DeVita, Jorge Hernandez, Adam Swanson.
Keyes, who was fourth last year in discus, had trouble with his release. He hopes to fix it by the finals.
“It makes me feel good sitting in third with probably one of my worst throws of the season,” Keyes said. “I had a lot of floppy discs. It wasn’t sticking to my hand right. There’s definitely work to be done for sure.”
Petko was excited about his opportunity for a medal.
“I was seeded eighth. This is a whole lot better than I thought I would do,” Petko said. “I was a little scared on my first throw, but I got the second one and I was pretty motivated from the warm-ups I had.”
Becker came in with the slowest seed time from sectionals and ran a personal-best 4:17.25 in the 1,600. He also has qualified in the 3,200, which is run only on Saturday, but with the high-80-degree temperatures, he was considering scratching in that race after making the 1,600 finals.
“That’s a PR (personal record) for me. That feels really good especially coming in with the slowest seed time,” Becker said. “I knew I could keep up with the guys ahead of me. It felt good to move up on the field and use the momentum and the atmosphere around here to get me going.”
D-C’s 4x800 team knocked four seconds off its sectional time to make the finals.
“Coming out of sectionals, we knew 7:58 was not our limit,” Hurgoi said. “That time (7:54.61) is all right, but we think we can get three or four more seconds off that in the finals.”
Class 3A local results
4x800 relay: Dundee-Crown-* (Anthony Hurgoi, Joey DeVita, Jorge Hernandez, Adam Swanson) 7:54.61, Huntley (Jadon Conroy, Chris Simek, Jeremy Roe, Rasheed Ahmad) 8:11.69, Jacobs (Mark Lemke, Brett Bognar, Brandon Cole, Zach Albrecht) 8:12.58.
4x100 relay: Huntley-* (Antonio Passerelli, Zach Tepper, Ron Noll, Eric Mooney) 42.00.
110 high hurdles: Tommy Subaric (Jac) 15.23, Jermaine Maegdlin-Ferguson (Jac) 17.24.
100 meters: Mooney (Hunt) 10.96.
800 meters: Grant Jensen-* (Prairie Ridge) 1:55.09, Swanson (D-C) 1:56.56, Ethan Baker (PR) 1:59.89.
4x200 relay: Huntley (Passarelli, Mooney, Noll, Tepper) 1:28.82, CL South (Will Lawrence, Zach Borgert, Matt Reall, Sam Greenspan) 1:30.88.
300 int. hurdles: Maegdlin-Ferguson-* (Jac) 39.46, Subaric (Jac) 40.98.
1,600 meters: Jack Becker-* (CLS) 4:17.25.
200 meters: Mooney-* (Hunt) 22.28, Jason Miller (D-C) 22.63.
4x400 relay: Prairie Ridge (Baker, Weston Dzurisin, Jackson Willis, Jared Greiner) 3:29.92.
Shot put: Andrew Stokes-* (Cary-Grove) 57-0, Brian Keyes-* (McHenry) 55-9.25.
Discus: Keyes-* (McH) 167-5, Jason Petko-* (C-G) 165-5, Ben Litwin-* (Hunt) 161-8.
High jump: Maki Mohr-* (McH) 6-3, Shandell Watson (D-C) 6-1, Jack Michalski (D-C) 6-1.
Long jump: Loren Strickland (Jac) 22-1, Mohr (McH) 21-9.5.
Triple jump: Melvin Aninagyei-Bonsu (Hunt) 45-5.5, Josh Guyer (Hunt) 42-11.25.
Pole vault: D.J. Ulrich (CL Central) 13-0.
*-Qualified for finals.