Admittedly disappointed with his previous forays on the local boys track and field scene, Ryan Kredell has much grander ambitions for his final spring season at Geneva.
The Vikings’ senior entered the spring with raised expectations after an All-State Class 3A cross country season in the fall.
At the Vikings’ annual VanDeveer Invitational on April 13, Kredell and St. Charles North junior Ryan Arnold were practically in a separate area code as the 1,600-meter run wound down.
Kredell crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 33.37 seconds.
Twenty-nine one-hundredths of a second later, Arnold settled for runner-up.
The Kredell triumph symbolically carried Geneva to a 182-141.5 victory over Dundee-Crown at its seven-team invitational.
“[Arnold and I] had actually talked before the race and we were going to go for a 4:25,” Kredell said. “It didn’t work out; it was a little windy. I definitely knew [Arnold] would be there. I could hear him [in the closing meters]. It was a little nerve-wracking, but we’re buds.”
Geneva sophomore Ben Calusinski emerged victorious in the 3,200 run in a time of 9:52.71.
“I am kind of gearing up for [this] weekend when we go to Louisville, Kentucky,” Calusinski said. “That’s a big race for us.”
Sprinters lead North Stars
St. Charles North was third at the VanDeveer with 131 points behind sprinters Josh DiNatale and Jacob Aalfs.
The former won the 100 dash in 11.37 seconds after teaming with Aalfs moments earlier to secure victory in the 400 relay.
Aalfs and Ben Cook were first and second in the open 400.
“The 400 is my race,” Aalfs said. “This year I have been testing out with the four-by-one [400 relay] and [open] 100. It’s kind of a warmup, getting the legs moving.”
The North Stars’ Gil Braglia is a returning state qualifier in the pole vault. The senior aspires for a breakout season in hopes of being able to walk on at Illinois State next year.
Braglia had few issues in winning the event at Geneva at 13 feet.
“I am definitely not where I want to be [height-wise] just yet,” Braglia said. “There is always space to improve. From indoor going to outdoor I am feeling better.”
Braglia had able company from teammate Josh Kolodziej as the sophomore went 12 feet to finish second.
“It’s a brotherhood on this team,” Aalfs said of the North Stars’ 1-2 finishes in the 400 and pole vault. “Getting first and second pushes each other on the team.”
Wagner boosts Rockets
Burlington Central finished fourth at Geneva with 94 points.
Connor Wagner is a key figure for the Rockets.
The senior, along with classmate Adam Kries, returns from a Class 2A state 1,600 relay quartet.
Wagner had to settle for razor-thin losses in both the 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles to Larkin senior Jahari Stubbs.
Also a returning state qualifier in the longer hurdles, Wagner was two one-hundredths slower to Stubbs’ 39.85 winning time.
“Doing the quarter-mile really helps in doing the 300 hurdles,” Wagner said.
Kries had to withdraw from the meet-closing 1,600 relay after suffering a minor injury earlier in the day.
Wagner was thrust into a new role: anchor leg in the metric mile relay.
“It’s about the same amount of pressure in my eyes,” Wagner said of the switch from his customary lead leg. “I have been doing this [relay] pretty much ever since I was a freshman. I have kind of like adapted to the role.”
Wagner did nothing but create separation on the final leg against his St. Charles North counterpart to give the Rockets their lone track win in 3:33.03.