St. Charles North sprinters Jack Feeney, Connor Larson and Zach Kirby endured a lengthy rain delay at one of their first big, boys track meets together.
The trio went on to get all wet about a subpar sectional finish from North’s 4x400-meter relay two springs ago.
“Ever since then, we’ve been just building up, building up, building up for this moment,” Kirby said.
He’s referring to the group’s last chance, its last weekend together: The Class 3A state meet in Charleston that begins with today’s preliminaries.
Feeney, a junior, sees the relay through to seniors Larson, Tyler Ingham and Kirby – in that order. Last month, the group established a school record of 3:21.75 while competing at the famed Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
Each member has raved about the experience. North finished 35th among 537 teams, encountering competition from across the nation and world. Teams from Jamaica and the Bahamas were on hand, as well.
“This is our big year. We’ve had great runs fairly consistently,” Feeney said. “Me, Kirby and Connor have been running together since I was a freshman. We’ve been working this 4x4 into the ground.”
Ingham joined the fold after the graduation of last season’s achor, Oshay Hodges. Part of a deep stable of North sprinters – the 4x100 and 4x200 also are state-bound – Ingham fit in quickly.
Since Penn, North has worked to recapture its form while navigating less than optimal conditions in the Kane County, Upstate Eight and Hoffman Estates Sectional meets.
North won the UEC 4x400 in 3:25.88 before placing second to an upstart Larkin group at sectionals in 3:22.72. The Royals, who won by 16 hundreths of a second, improved by nearly nine seconds from conference.
Kirby feverishly gave chase down the backstretch, nearly closing what the public address announcer had deemed a formidable gap.
“What can you do now?” Kirby said. “You see them and beat them downstate. That’s all that matters now.”
Kickin’ it: Campton United Soccer Club will host the 10th annual Midwest Cup Tournament today through Monday, attracting 200-plus boys and girls teams in 8U through 18U age divisions.
Out-of-state entries include teams from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Iowa. Cool Inlet Soccer Club of Anchorage, Alaska, is set to compete in the 14U division.
Campton Director of Soccer Brian Nail and tournament director Tony DeMarco head the event, which includes 450 games and 150 referees on 24 fields. More than 10,000 spectators are expected over four days.
• Kevin Druley is a sports writer for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.