CHARLESTON – Marengo junior Finn Schirmer stood with his arms over his head, breathing heavily after winning his heat of the Class 2A 200 meters, and was asked about the possibilities in the finals at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet.
“Endless,” he said. “I just want to go out and do what I did today, run my hardest. But it’s about preparing for it tonight. Take care of my body.”
Schirmer is poised to make school history in a big way, as the Indians never have had a state champion in boys track. Schirmer still has not lost a race this season and qualified from Friday’s preliminaries in the 100 and 200 meters, along with the 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles.
Schirmer is a threat in all four races Saturday at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium.
“I wanted to win my events,” he said. “I feel like my times suffered a little bit with how hot it is, but tomorrow’s a new day.”
Temperatures were in the mid-80s when Schirmer’s day was finished.
Other local qualifiers for the 2A finals were Marengo’s Aaron Shepard (high jump), Woodstock North’s Elijah Pena (triple jump) and Austin Zieman (long jump), Marian Central’s Ryan Jones (1,600) and Richmond-Burton’s Kyle Curran (discus).
“Anything’s possible in the finals,” Marengo coach Brad Wignes said. “We just have to have a good showing tomorrow. We’re definitely rooting for [school history]. That would be nice.”
The last Marengo state track champion was girls runner Katie Adams, who won back-to-back Class 2A 1,600 titles in 2012 and 2013.
Shepard cleared 6 feet, 3 inches on his third jump to make the finals. He took fifth in the high jump last year.
“I was a little nervous, but my third jump was pretty good,” Shepard said. “It’s a good day to get through to the finals. I want to do as well as I can. A new [personal record] would be great. Last year my best was 6-7, so 6-8 is the goal.”
Jones and Marian teammate Peter Walsdorf are both running in the 3,200 on Saturday, a race in which there is no preliminary heats. Jones qualified for the 1,600 final with a blistering final lap.
“I was kind of stuck in the pack,” Jones said. “There were two heats, so I figured if I got top four in my heat, I’d be OK (with 12 going to the finals). So when I was stuck in the pack, I was like, ‘I got to go.’ It was pretty cool. I was just praying that I could keep my speed up and endure the heat.”
Jones took third in his heat at 4:26.48 after passing four runners in the last lap while practically sprinting the final 300 meters.
Pena leaped 42-11 in the triple jump and is eager at the chance for three more jumps in the finals.
“I didn’t jump as well as I wanted to, but I made it to the finals,” Pena said. “I want to improve tomorrow and get where I need to be. Hopefully, I’ll place in the top five. I just have to come out well-rested and get after it.”
Zieman snagged the last spot in the 12-competitor long jump final and needs to climb to ninth for a medal.
“Tomorrow there is room for improvement,” Zieman said. “I’m just happy to get another shot.”
Class 2A State Meet
Local preliminary results
4x800 relay: Woodstock (Julio Arellano, Jack Hansen, Max Hodory, Aidan Schleutermann) 8:33.01.
4x100 relay: Woodstock North (Brandon Walker, Colin Zinn, Aiden Filetti, Keith Webb, Jr.) 44.12, Richmond-Burton (Matteo Acosta, Mike Kaufman, Jack Langlois, Nick Legnaioli) 44.60.
110 high hurdles: Schirmer-* (Marengo) 14.30, Elijah Pena (Woodstock North) 15.39.
100 meters: Schirmer-* (Mgo) 10.64, Kaufman (R-B) 11.46.
4x200 relay: Woodstock North (Walker, Zinn, Duenas, Webb) 1:31.46, Richmond-Burton (Acosta, Cam Peterson, Langlois, Legnaioli) 1:3189.
400 meters: Filetti (WN) 51.85.
300 int. hurdles: Schirmer-* (Mgo) 38.98, Pena (WN) 41.95.
1,600 meters: Ryan Jones-* (Marian Central) 4:26.48.
200 meters: Schirmer-* (Mgo) 22.26.
Discus: Kyle Curran-* (R-B) 148-3.
High jump: Aaron Shepard-* (Mgo) 6-3, Bryce Radcliffe (MC) no height.
Long jump: Austin Zieman-* (WN) 20-11, Luke Duenas (WN) 20-1.75.
Triple jump: Pena-* (WN) 42-11, Ki Norgard (Wdk) 42-3.25.
*-Qualified for finals.