West Aurora takes second at 3A sectional

Thursday, May 19 2011 - IHSA 3A Track Sectional - Plainfield North - Gerardo Paleo

West Aurora takes second at 3A sectional

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West Aurora's Calvin Robinson leads the pack during the 3,200-meter relay at the Plainfield North Class 3A Sectional. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media


PLAINFIELD — West Aurora hurdler Patrick Schultz bent over at the finish line trying to catch his breath following a fourth place finish in the 300 hurdles at Thursday’s Plainfield North 3A Sectional meet.

Meanwhile, his coach waited at the scorer’s booth, hoping his athlete’s time qualified for state.

West head coach Cortney Lamb turned around, paused and suddenly raised both arms in the air, setting off a chain reaction of cheers from Schultz and his teammates.

“I’m waiting and waiting to see what he says,” Schultz said after finishing in 39.79 seconds, just ahead of the 39.84 needed. “I’m thinking ‘Come on, come on.’ The look on his face was scaring the heck out of me, but he turned around threw his arms up. Everyone was yelling. I’m very happy. It was a good night.”

The positive results kept flowing for the Blackhawks, which finished second as a team with 87 points, a little too far behind champion Plainfield South’s 102.

“A big team effort today,” Lamb said. “We scored points in a lot of different events. We got a bunch of qualifiers down. It was a really nice night for us. We would have liked to have had a sectional title, but you know what, getting this many guys down, we’ll take it.”

The Blackhawks actually led by five points with two events left after senior Matt Muth destroyed the 1,600 in 4:23, ahead of second place finisher Joey Santillo of Minooka.

David Groeber of Waubonsie was fifth in 4:30.

“I just wanted to qualify,” Muth said. “I was a second off last year so I just wanted to give it my all and finish strong.”

Muth took the lead with 250 meters to go, blowing by Plainfield North’s Andrew Sandoval, who finished third.

“Muth, holy cow,” Lamb said. “He finally put a good race together. It was awesome. He ran it perfectly. All the coaching, all the training, it finally paid off.”

Also qualifying for the state meet for West was Marcus Waller, who won the 110 hurdles (14.69) and took second in the 300 hurdles. In addition, Elawrence Langston (shot put) and Alex Chollet (discus) each finished second in their respective events behind Waubonsie Valley senior Owen Saldana, who was a superior strength at the sectional with eyes on a bigger prize.

“He’s not a guy who wants to get there and see how it goes. He did that last year,” Warriors coach Kevin Rafferty said. “This is a kid on a mission. How many kids do you see that are two-year starters in football quit football to focus on track? Everything that young man has done this year he’s earned and I’m very excited he gets another week to keep adding to it.”

Waubonsie’s Amare Greene was the only other Warrior to make it down, winning the triple jump with a leap of 44-1?.

The final area qualifiers came from West’s 3,200 relay, which was third in 7:56 behind Minooka and Neuqua Valley, and Oswego’s Zack Kingsbury, who took third in the 3,200 in 9:27 behind Derrick Mark of Neuqua and Minooka’s Sandoval.

Waubonsie finished seventh overall with 46 points, while the Panthers came in 10th with 11. Oswego East and East Aurora brought up the rear.

For many, it was the end of a season strewn with bad weather and cold temperatures. Only the prospect of a better season next year raised the spirits.

“Our demeanor this week at practice and today at the meet was the best it has been all year,” said Wolves coach Dwayne Wilson, who had just one senior compete at sectional. “I was very disappointed in how we finished at conference last week and it was a completely different team tonight. I was pleased with what they did. We came out, we competed. You couldn’t ask for more.”