Richmond-Burton’s Mike Kaufman has competed against Marengo’s Finn Schirmer on the track and on the football field and has nothing but respect for the Indians’ junior.
“He’s a freak,” Kaufman said. “I’ve never seen someone so fast before. It’s awesome to run against him. I can push myself with him in front of me.”
Kaufman was speaking after last week’s Class 2A Woodstock North Boys Track and Field Sectional, where Schirmer, as usual, took four individual first places.
Schirmer and Kaufman both will run at the IHSA Boys State Track and Field Meet this weekend at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium in Charleston. The Class 1A boys preliminary competition is Thursday, with Classes 2A and 3A Friday. All finals will be Saturday.
Schirmer is a contender in the 100 and 200 meters, and in the 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles. His sectional seeds put him first in the 300s and in the top five in the other three races.
“I’m going to go out and run as fast as possible,” Schirmer said. “I’m looking forward to the 300 hurdles. That’s where I’ll be able to do my thing and get going.”
Schirmer took third in the 200 at last year’s state meet and fourths in the 110 hurdles and 100 meters. His 300 seed time (37.94) is well ahead of the next-best sectional time at 38.58. He could become Marengo’s first boys state track and field champion in school history.
Schirmer’s 110 seed time (14.87) was well off his career-best (14.12) from the McHenry County Meet last month. He also likes the 200.
“I ran the 400 (in the 4x400 relay) last year,” he said. “I don’t have to pace myself in the 200. I just sprint (it all) as fast as possible.”
Kaufman was sectional runner-up to Schirmer in the 100 and 200. He also qualified for four events, making it with the Rockets’ 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
“It feels great, especially since we’ve been working so hard in practice,” Kaufman said. “It’s good to have a great 4x100 and 4x200 team to help us get there.”
Fun race: The 4x800 relay at the state meet becomes quite interesting with the strategy and drops in time with better competition. During the season, the best teams are not always challenged, but state is different.
Huntley’s Jeremy Roe, Chris Simek, Ian Geisler and Jadon Conroy have the fifth-fastest seed time (7:54.05), but ran 7:49.91 a week earlier in the FVC Meet. That quartet is eager to see what it can produce against top competition. St. Charles East (7:49.54) and Batavia (7:49.63) are the top seeds.
“It’ll be different,” Conroy said. “It’s definitely nice that the three of us (Conroy, Roe and Simek) had that experience last year at state. Ian was in the (3,200), so we all have experience on that track.”
Coincidentally, St. Charles East’s head coach is Brad Kaplan, the twin brother of Huntley assistant Matt Kaplan, who works with the distance runners. Matt Kaplan also is Huntley’s cross country coach.
Geisler also qualified in the 1,600, which is much later in the race schedule than the 4x800. He is the second seed in that race.
Keeping up with the Jones: Marian Central sophomore Peter Walsdorf qualified in the 3,200 meters by taking second in the Woodstock North Sectional to teammate Ryan Jones, who also won the 1,600. Walsdorf missed qualifying for state in cross country by one spot.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Walsdorf said. “To get so close during the cross country season, this is really great to make it in track. That was the plan going in, to stick with Ryan and let him show me the way to do it. This is all I’ve been working for all year.”
Sticking together: Woodstock North long jumpers Austin Zieman and Luke Duenas have been close in competition all season, so it’s only right that they finished 1-2, just an inch apart, at the sectional.
Zieman won at 20-10, Duenas was second at 20-9.
“I’m glad that’s how it turned out,” Duenas said. “We’ve been neck-and-neck all year and I’m glad we both get to go.”
Zieman also won long jump at the county meet, with Duenas taking second.
“It feels good that we both get to represent our school,” Zieman said. “We’ve never had a long jumper go (to state) and now we have two. We’re glad to represent Woodstock North.”
In contention: Two other runners right in the thick of title contention are Prairie Ridge seniors Ethan Baker and Grant Jensen in the Class 3A 800. Baker (1:54.47) is seeded third, while Jensen (1:55.61) is seeded fourth. Jensen took fourth last year.
Bloom Township’s Ramon Lacey (1:54.28) is first and Minooka’s Jason Hoffman (1:54.33) is second.
Heading back: Jacobs senior Tommy Subaric won the 110 and 300 hurdles at the 3A Guilford Sectional on Friday and returns to state in both races. Last year, he qualified for those with teammate Jermaine Maegdlin-Ferguson, who took seventh in the 300s.
“It’s awesome,” Subaric said. “I’m hoping to break the school records (Danny Trevor’s 14.51 in the 110s, Dom Blake’s 38.89 in the 300s). If I get those times, I should be an All-Stater and in the finals.”
Subaric will attend Iowa next year and is considering walking on for track.
LOCAL STATE QUALIFIERS
Marengo: Finn Schirmer (100, 200, 110HH, 300IH), Aaron Shepard (HJ).
Marian Central: Ryan Jones (1,600, 3,200), Peter Waldsorf (3,200), Bryce Radcliffe (HJ).
Richmond-Burton: Mike Kaufman (100, 200, 4x100, 4x200), Matteo Acosta (4x100), Jack Langlois (4x100, 4x200), Nick Legnaioli (4x100, 4x200), Cam Peterson (4x200), Kyle Curran (discus).
Woodstock: Julio Arellano (4x800), Jack Hansen (4x800), Max Hodory (4x800), AIdan Schleutermann (4x800), Ki Norgard (TJ).
Woodstock North: Elijah Pena (TJ, 110HH, 300IH), Aidan Filetti (400, 4x100), Austin Zieman (LJ), Brandon Walker (4x100, 4x200), Keith Webb Jr. (4x100, 4x200), Luke Duenas (LJ, 4x200).
Cary-Grove: Andrew Lewis (300IH), Jason Petko (SP, discus).
Dundee-Crown: Dylan Becker (4x100, 4x200), Trevor Fed (4x100, LJ), Meante Foster (4x200), Jack Michalski (HJ, 110HH), Andrew Miller (4x100, 4x200), Jason Miller (4x100, 200, 4x200).
Crystal Lake Central: Jack Munn (discus), Keegan Smalley (3,200), DeShawn Smith (110HH).
Hampshire: Cam Reedy (400).
Huntley: Antonio Passarelli (100, 200, 4x200), Zach Tepper (4x200), Ron Noll (4x200), Paul Kerber (4x200), Ian Geisler (1,600, 4x800), Jadon Conroy (4x800), Chris Simek (4x800), Jeremy Roe (4x800), Josh Guyer (TJ), Michael Benner (PV).
Jacobs: Tommy Subaric (110HH, 300IH).
McHenry: Andy Maye (HJ).
Prairie Ridge: Ethan Baker (800), Grant Jensen (800).