by Mike Slodki
CHARLESTONâ€”Followers of KHS track maybe have seen a boys track roster for the ages in 2010.
Actually, judging by the second-place team finish at Friday and Saturdayâ€™s Class 2A Boys Track State Finals at Eastern Illinois University, thereâ€™s no â€œmayâ€ about it.
The Knights, with 53 points, finished second in the state only to Hillcrest High School with 61. It marked the Knightsâ€™ highest team finish since 1999. Cahokia tied for second with 53, Oak Forest was fourth with 39 and Crete-Monee was fifth with 35 points.
An impressive showing for Kaneland featured six events with All-State honors and two State champions.
Coach Eric Baron holds the second-place State trophy for 2010. The team was escorted back into town by two fire trucks and a police car. Courtesy Photo
The roster, with the largest contingent at State for the Knights since 1998, featured the 4×400 meter relay team of Tommy Whittaker, Derek Bus, Edgar Valle and Logan Markuson setting a meet record with a time of 3:20.29, and Nick Sinon setting a meet record in the high jump at six feet, nine inches.
At the conclusion of the season, the Knights now have five State champs on the roster, with Markuson winning the 300m low hurdles a year ago.
Sinon and the relay crew now mark the 15th and 16th first-place nods at the State finals in Knights history.
Sinon beat out Burlington Centralâ€™s Cameron Ostrowski by two inches for State glory and was helped by a 6-03 jump in the preliminaries.
The relay squad broke the all-time record by 1.31 seconds, set in 1980.
Markuson knew something big could happen based on the initial performance on Friday.
â€œAfter prelims, I knew we were sitting pretty, and we were going to see how it all played out,â€ Markuson said. â€œItâ€™s cool to have won that event; there was definitely a lot of emotion.â€
Valle continued the good times in Charleston with a second-place finish in the 800m run with a time of 1:58.03 in the finals. The senior was followed closely by teammate Derek Bus, who finished fifth at 1:58.29.
To add to the All-State party, Taylor Andrews cinched up fifth overall in the 110 meter low hurdles with a time of 14.81 in the finals.
Markuson also earned All-State honors in the 300 meter low hurdles with a time of 38.43 seconds, good for fourth.
Markuson also highlighted a productive day for other finals, finishing seventh in the pole vault at 13-03, and seventh in the 110m hurdles at 15.09.
A standout at pole vault and hurdles throughout his Knights tenure, Markuson was thoughtful about his performance in the 2010 season.
â€œItâ€™s kind of weird when you get down to State and see all this competition. Itâ€™s a cool experience but I donâ€™t really consider myself to be in the elite group in my events, Markuson said.
The 4x800m relay team of Dominic Furco, Sean Paulick, Joe Levita and Trevor Holm made it to the finals and finished seventh at 8:01.44.
Also making the trip down to State was Matt Spitzzeri, who jumped a 43-01.5 in the triple jump prelims. Andrews raced a 42.08 in the 300m intermediate hurdles.
Whittaker raced 11.32 in the 100m dash prelims. The Knights also saw additional prelim action for the 4×100 and 4×200. Andrews, Whittaker, Andrew Essex and Brandon Cottier ran a 43.80 in the 100, while Whittaker, Cottier, Essex and Curtis Secrest raced the 200 in 1:32.00.
With the conclusion of the season, the Knights say goodbye to 19 seniors including seven State-goers.
Top photo: Knight boys track cornerstone Edgar Valle closed out his high school career with a second place in the 800m run, and a first in the 4x400m relay on Saturday at Class 2A State in Charleston. Photo by Ben Draper