ELGIN – Batavia’s David Morrison located two things within a few seconds of one another Friday night: his closing kick and the nearest patch of infield grass.
The 3,200 meter run at the Class 3A Barlett Sectional boys track and field meet hosted by Elgin ended with Morrison in third place but ahead of the state meet qualifying standard.
Morrison fell to the ground in elation and exhaustion moments later, one of several signature moments for a Bulldogs team that finished second to champion Schaumburg among 15 teams.
“I knew the field was going to go for time. It wasn’t going to be a tactical race, I was assuming,” Morrison said. “But just go out with them, just stick with them, and then hopefully get down to state. It was a great race.”
Ditto for the Bulldogs’ 4x400, which closed the meet with a winning effort of 3:23.07. Anchor Jorden Berendt had a blazing backstretch run to help Batavia edge Larkin.
“Unbelievable. Everyone on the team really showed up tonight,” Berendt said. “We’ve just trained super hard all year. It’s finally paid off.”
The rest of the Chronicle-area contingent who’ll compete in the May 30 state prelims at Eastern Illinois totes either a decorated state history or a yet-to-be-written one.
St. Charles East junior Kyle Decker clinched his long-awaited first state berth by winning the 110-meter hurdles in 15.28 seconds.
A seventh-place finisher at sectionals as a sophomore, Decker entered as the top seed and seemingly in the clear after each of the six runners to finish ahead of him last season graduated.
He nicked the second hurdle but only used it as momentum, rumbling on.
“I’m so excited. This has been my goal since June last year,” Decker said. “It’s incredible. It was just an amazing race. It was the best feeling ever.”
North senior Erik Miller finished second in the high jump, and shows no restraint about improving upon last season’s fourth-place state finish.
“I’m happy to go back down there. Last week, I had the flu … but I definitely felt really good today, and I honestly think I can win it next week,” Miller said. “So it’s going to be awesome.”
A three-sport athlete, Miller was just a few days removed from the end of basketball season when he established a new indoor meet record at York in March.
His foes will include winner Tyler Maryanski of Marmion and Batavia’s Mark Rudelich, who also advanced from the sectional.
An eerie sequence occurred early in the meet, as Marmion throws coach Eddie DeGeeter, officiating the shot put, was struck by a put and taken away on a stretcher. Cadets head coach Dan Thorpe said DeGeeter was in stable condition in an Elgin hospital Friday night.
Marmion’s Luke Juriga won the event with a throw of 51 feet, 6 inches in dramatic fashion.
“Oh, tremendous. Tremendous. I said to Luke the other day, you have to get 51,” Thorpe said. “And for him to get it on his last throw.”
Geneva’s champions included Tim Roels in the 200 (21.99) and Jason D’Amico, who threw a personal-best 155-01 in the discus.
“He worked hard in the offseason, lifted hard, and that’s worked to his benefit,” Vikings coach Gale Gross.
Batavia’s Peyton Piron won the 300 hurdles in 39.79.
J.T. Grill (North) and Tyler Mansfield (Batavia) advanced in the pole vault. Grill’s fraternal twin sister, Jessica, was a state qualifier for this weekend’s girls meet.
The 800 prelims also will be Chronicle-area heavy, as Geneva’s Blaine Bartel ran 1:54.72 to edge Batavia’s Ryan Wieties (1:55.27).
Marmion’s Kevin Grahovec and Mitch Voellinger of Batavia were among the sectional’s six state qualifiers.
Bartel’s backers included assistant coach Andrew Nelson, a former Vikings distance standout who completed his collegiate running career at Syracuse last year. He has been studying with a chiropractor and nutritionist while helping the boys and girls programs “any way I can.”
“A little bit’s changed, certainly. Yeah, it’s five year’s different. I didn’t go to school with any of these guys, so that’s certainly different, but the tradition’s still there.”
Area state qualifiers
Batavia (Jorden Berendt, David Curnock, Chris Orlow, Ryan Wieties), 7:53.16
St. Charles North (Jack Feeney, Steve Lewandowski, Chris Suda, Nathan Klair), 7:56.90
J.T. Grill, St. Charles North, 14-0
Tyler Mansfield, Batavia, 13-9
Tyler Maryanski, Marmion, 6-7
Erik Miller, St. Charles North, 6-7
Mark Rudelich, Batavia, 6-7
David Morrison, Batavia, 9:27.39
Kyle Decker, St. Charles East, 15.28
Peyton Piron, Batavia, 39.79
Jason D'Amico, Geneva, 155-01
Luke Juriga, Marmion, 51-6
Blaine Bartel, Geneva, 1:54.72
Ryan Wieties, Batavia, 1:55.27
Kevin Grahovec, Marmion, 1:56.19
Mitch Voellinger, Batavia, 1:57.07
Jack Feeney, St. Charles North, 49.46
Sam Urben, Geneva, 49.52
Tim Roels, Geneva, 21.99
Mark Sciurba, St. Charles East, 4:25.5
Batavia (David Curnock, Peyton Piron, Blake Crowder, Jorden Berendt), 3:23.07