CHARLESTON – Burlington Central advanced three entries from Friday's preliminaries to today's IHSA Class 2A boys track and field state finals. Senior Clint Kliem was part of all of them. In addition to qualifying in the 800 meters, Kliem anchored the 4x800 relay and was the third leg of the 4x400. After allowing Kliem to catch his breath, Kane County Chronicle sports reporter Kevin Druley caught up with the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville cross country and track recruit for this week's edition of the Weekend Chit-Chat. The following is an edited transcript:
Everything looked smooth with the 4x400. How did you see things?
We were about a second slower than our sectional time, but it's a little hotter today and the heat's playing a little bit of a factor. We've got to do this all over again [today].
Talk about how you cope with the weather swings.
You just get mentally prepared. Expect the worst and just learn to play it smart. Trying to stay out of the sun, between stretching, ice baths and just trying to get the recovery. It all plays a factor. We'll go back to our hotel and basically just chill there and come back [today], do this again.
You're used to having a heavy event workload, so you know what that's about, right?
I think [today] I'll just be trying to take it one race it a time but still trying to leave it all out there. I've got three races left in my high school career, so I'll try to go out with a bang.
Going to SIU-Edwardsville, you'll be used to this weather belt, too.
Yep. Edwardsville is only a couple hours away from [Charleston]. It'll be a good change, instead of 10 degrees cooler [back home] like it can sometimes be. Overall, I mean, it's hot and you get tired. But I'd much rather have this weather than be freezing. It'll be a nice change.
How did you get to compete in the 800 given your cross country and distance background?
My coaches and I, we were trying to go back either between the mile and 800, and just from looking at times and stuff we feel like I have a better chance winning or placing high in the 800 than the mile. ... The 800 I'm a little bit more confident with.
You and Mike Gulik [a fellow senior] had a duel in the 800 all season. I know he didn't get through, in prelims, but talk about having him in both relays with you.
It always seems like I nip him in the 800, right? It happened at a Geneva meet, at our sectional meet. He'll always get me and pass me with about 200, 250 to go. We'll be even until the last 25 meters, and we've just been going back and forth. I know he's been having a little bit of a cough. Hopefully he'll feel better and help us get a state championship.
What's your comfort level like in Charleston?
Family and friends and all that, the expertise and my coaches – I couldn't be there without them. I've got to thank God for that. You've just got to have the faith and do all that you can.