Roselle, Ill --- At this time of the track season, schools start tinkering with their lineups looking for the right combination to score points. Coach Don Helberg looks like he has the right combination in place for Wheaton North to have a chance to make things happen in Charleston in three weeks. The Falcons won all four relays and nearly doubled the score on such perennial state powers as Lake Park, York, and Wheaton-Warrenville South to dominate the 80th DuPage County Meet Friday night at Lake Park.
This squad is balanced and could score in a number events at state. The two athletes that provided the spark for the Falcons at this meet were Zach Gordon and Aidan Askin. Gordon started his night in the Long Jump. Coming off of a great performance in the event at a low keyed meet on Tuesday where he jumped 23-3 for the second longest outdoor jump in the state, he won with a performance of 22-7.25. A little off of Tuesday, but still the junior was happy.
“Today I was not on the board. Tuesday, I really felt it,” he said. “My step was off. I was behind the board the entire time.” Gordon anchored both the 4x1 and 4x2 relays. In the 4x1, he led his team to a 42.13 time in less than ideal conditions for a sprinter. He came back 45 minutes later and ran a 21.7 anchor to finish in 1:29.1 seconds. He felt his hamstring tighten up and coaches decided his night was over. He did not race in the 200 Meter Dash. No need to risk injury when his team had a big lead.
Askin started off the good fortunes for Wheaton North on the track in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay. The senior grabbed the baton on the anchor leg in second place behind York. He was able to catch York’s Jack Achen with 500 meters to go and went on to win by nearly four seconds. Askin’s anchor split was 1:55.6.
“I knew I was running the 1600 later on, so my coach told me to stay relaxed,” Askin said. “I knew at the same time I did not want to be out kicked so I did not want to worry about that.”
Wheaton North also closed the night by winning the 4 x 400 Meter Relay by coming behind on the last leg to catch Waubonsie Valley. The Falcons also got a 1-2 finish from Christian Hollinger and Mac Spaulding in the Shot Put
Perhaps the best race of the night was in the 1600 Meter Run. Jimmy Qiao of Naperville North stretched the pack out early passing the 400 in a quick 61 seconds. Following close behind was Askin and Mike Lederhouse of Glenbard West. Qiao kept the lead at the 800 going past in 2:07.6.
On the backstretch of the third lap, Lederhouse took the lead and the race really began at that point. The Glenbard senior stretched the lead over Askin and York sophomore Nathan Mroz. On the final lap, Askin made a charge after Lederhouse, but the Hilltopper was able to hold off Askin. Lederhouse’s winning time was 4:13.38 and signaled that he was back and should be considered in the talk for the 1600 title. Askin finished in 4:15.98.
“It started back at indoor conference where I did not feel great and I was really fatigued at the end of the race. After Prep Top Times, I went to have my blood tested and found out that my iron levels were severely low. I have been eating a lot of red meat and a lot of iron supplements and I am starting to feel like I am back to my normal self.”
That he was feeling better was evidenced in the 4 x 8 relay where he had the lead for the Hilltoppers with an opening 1:54.5 split.
Lederhouse 1600 Splits:
61.4, 2:07.7, 3:13.2, 4:13.83
The 3200 Meter Run was not what Willowbrook senior Pat Niyork had expected. Wanting to run under 9:10 on this night, Niyork went through the 1600 with York’s Billy Clink & Scott Milling, and Glenbard South’s Joe Singleton. Niyork stretched out his lead and quicken his pace in the last 800 running 2:16 to finish in 9:16, close to his seasonal PR.
“ The first lap was perfect. But then I dropped off after that. I mentally just could not stay with it,” Said Niyork. “I can’t wait to start doing some more speed work and then I will be able to hit the 69’s like I want. This was the last real meet about time. From here on out, it is all about the place. I am not worried about times.”
As Lederhouse was coming back into form in the 1600, so was Glenbard South’s John Wold in the 800 Meter Run. He took control of the lead at the 400 passing by in 57.2. He held off Derek Anderson of Wheaton-Warrenville South on the last straight. His time was 1:57.02, but it really did not matter to him. After a season of foot problems, it felt good to get back on the track.
“I have been having a lot of trouble with my feet, with the bones. Today it felt good to get out on the track. I felt so relaxed during this race, “ the sophomore said.