The Distance Crew brought their season to a successful conclusion tonight after a nice night of racing at the Sectional competition at Palatine High School. The mild, sunny weather was invigorating and the mood upbeat as our runners took the track for the last time. Through some gutsy performances they ran some nice times.
Our two 3200m runners ran in the prelim heat. Justin and Collin represented us here tonight. A sophomore and freshman, they represent the emerging strength of our underclassmen and are two of our top three two-milers this season. Both got out nicely and worked with the pack for the first half. Collin fell in just behind the leaders with Justin a few paces behind him at the mile, and both had a really nice second half. Collin finished with a 10:14.09 FAT time, earning a 1-second PR, while Justin was just one second off with his 10:36.51 time. Excellent races were run by both these young men!
The 3200m relay was up next at the start of the meet. We fielded a mix of upper and lowerclassmen here. John led with a nice 2:14 split and handed off to Bradley. Bradley ran the race of his life. Against a PR of 2:15 that he last established against Mundelein in April, he went out with fire and handed the baton off with a PR 2:11 split! Nate ran a nice third leg with 2:17 on the clock, and Sergio anchored with 2:18. Overall we finished at 9:01.06 FAT. While not our fastest time, it was a good effort from this newly mixed team and a good starting point for next year.
Kenneth represented ZBDC in the open 800m. He has been moving up in time all season, and tonight he looked fantastic! He had a great start and 57s first lap to lead his heat. He finished at 2:04.76 FAT for a 3-second PR and a successful conclusion to his high school career. Well done!
Our milers were the last racers of the evening. Jaime and Desmond ran in the same heat and both went out well. Desmond led just a few paces off of Jaime, and both had nice kicks. Desmond finished three seconds of his PR at 4:49.40, and Jaime earned a split-second PR of 4:52.38. It was not an easy race and both put in solid effort to match their work this season.
This evening we send six ZB Track & Field competitors to State! Zion Benton also placed fourth overall in the Sectional and has much to celebrate. Our guys ran a nice season and our seniors went out in good form. Most importantly, we have a great foundation for this next year. The work ethic displayed by our frosh-soph pack is truly astonishing. They are coming into their own and truly growing from each competition as they look to the examples of the upperclassmen--they, however, are not content to run behind them! This has been a long season through snow, ice, rain, heat, and everything in between, but we have set some great times and grown faster and smarter racers over the course of the season. Competitions, though, are not the full measure of a team's success. Their workouts, work ethic, and friendships have forged strong bonds on this team that will not soon be forgotten. While our numbers steadily whittled down through the unfortunate attrition of voluntary and involuntary removals, the core that remained was among the strongest, most forward-thinking, and cohesive that I have had the pleasure to coach. We will certainly miss the seniors who hang up their spikes for the last time in their high school careers, but they leave behind a pack hungry for success and steadily moving forward toward those heights.
Summer running awaits!
F-S Conference 5.16.15.
Our Frosh-Soph pack traveled back to Stevenson today for their Conference meet. This group has made incredible progress this season, and had a nice opportunity today to run with some fast competition at their age level.
The 4x800m relay led off today. Justin ran the lead leg in 2:13 and would be our fastest split. Sergio received the baton next and logged 2:15, followed by Nate's 2:17 and Rod's 2:17 splits. Rod tied his PR here, and we finished with a total time of 9:03. This is a 5-second PR over their time set at Urbana!
Our two-milers were up next. Frederick and Joseph took the line among a pack of 20 runners. While this was a packed race, there were some nice opportunities to move up and overtake competitors throughout. Joseph took a nice position early on and worked in nice form, perhaps additionally motivated by a monetary incentive presented by his father. He looked excellent at the half with a 5:20 split, with Frederick slightly trailing behind his usual pace at 5:28. Joseph had a particularly nice final kick to break 11 minutes for the first time in his life! He came in at 10:56 for a 10-second PR, and Frederick finished at 11:21.
Alex and Jonathan represented our team in the 800. Alex looked in the best form that he has all season! Against a PR time of 2:40, he worked very assertively and finished at a strong 2:32 for an 8-second best! Jonathan was just two seconds off of his best with 2:34.
Justin and Sergio ran the mile for us. Their heat went fast and presented a nice opportunity for us to run with. Justin ran an aggressive race, with 2:21 at the half and a nice 4:58 finish in the humid climate. This was just one second off his best set at Lake Zurich and a nice race. Sergio logged 2:27 at the half but had a challenging second half, finishing at 5:14.
It was a challenging day, but I am proud of the successes that we enjoyed. For many of our runner this was their last race of the season, but for some there will be opportunities at Sectionals based on the way they have run this season! We will continue to work together as a team this week and drive forward this week.
We traveled to Lakes Community High School for the North Suburban Conference meet tonight on a nice Thursday evening. The weather was pleasant, but later on a rainstorm moved in and dampened both the meet and the mood of our runners. We did see some high points this evening, but overall were not as focused on competing as we have been in the past.
Bradley led off in the slower heat of the 3200m run. This season he has been making some nice progress and appeared poised to break his 11:14 PR. The pack moved fast and he looked good at the midpoint with 5:33 at the mile, but his second was a battle that saw him finish at 11:28.65 FAT. Collin ran in the fast heat later on, and also had a more difficult time working against the fast pack. He looked great at 4:57 for his first mile, and finished six seconds off his PR at 10:21.58.
The 4x800 would take 8th place with a time of 8:53. Desmond led with a 2:09 split, followed by Jaime tying his PR of 2:16, John at 2:18, and Kenneth finishing the anchor leg in 2:09. Kenneth then turned around and ran the open 800m, charting 2:12.3 here.
Desmond and Jaime ran in the mile. Both had set goals for their splits to work toward PR goals. Desmond worked hard for 4:46.57 PR finish, and Jaime would cross the line soon after for a 4:52.9 PR. They both had 1-second PRs. I am proud that they were both becoming conscious of race splits, and I believe with a little work they can fully reach their goals this next week. Both are still our fastest milers on the team, and tonight still represented nice forward progress for both!
Overall, it was not a night of big breakthroughs for ZBDC. There were a number of Conference records set in the meet, but we missed some opportunities to really push out of comfort zones and use this momentum to our advantage. Whether it was the Thursday evening, weather, or other factors going on, we have but one meet left to do the great achievements that we have set out to do this season: Sectionals. It is going to be a week of rejuvenation, focus, and honing ourselves for this final test. But if we can shape our team mindset to compete like we did most recently at LZ, we can achieve anything!
We traveled south to Conant for the big invite this weekend, but unfortunately Mother Nature intervened with severe thunderstorms. The high temperatures and humidity was broken with an impressive lightning and rainstorm. After an hour on the bus, we went inside and a second storm rolled in. Eventually, the meet officials canceled the event and we then journeyed home.
While this wasn't the evening that we were hoping for, there were some high points worth mentioning. Our pack worked together in great form over the course of the evening, weathering the storm together on the bus and them opening up their strides on the ramp and displaying nice form on the final kick to the concession stand. This is representative of the teamwork we've been building this season, and bridged the upperclassmen and our F-S runners as they stuck together through the event. I saw some particularly assertive moves at the announcement of pizza for sale, with Nate taking the lead in the line through a surge of Hinsdale runners. I remind our guys to "stay hungry" for success, and that was no metaphor tonight. Unfortunately, our younger guys were prematurely celebrating with snacks before the meet was called off, but I anticipate a strong PR decision if this scenario were to happen again.
This was unfortunate, but we were spared what might have been a miserable night in the rain. I hope that we can refocus for this next week's Conference races and come out ready to compete!
Antioch Invite @Lakes 5.6.15
We had a pretty nice race day at the Dick Harland Invite, hosted by Antioch. This year the Antioch track is under construction, so the meet was hosted at Lakes. The afternoon was mild and temperatures perfect for running. Our younger part of the team has been growing in strength, and they preformed well tonight.
The 4x800 relay consisted of Nate (2:22), Rod (2:17 PR), Joseph (2:26), and Sergio (2:16). Rod's 1-second PR was a nice achievement, and overall they ran for 9:22 against a fast field. In the 3200m Justin and Frederick represented ZBDC. Justin came through the mile in second place at 5:05, having just passed Etienne from LF, while Frederick was in fourth with 5:17. Justin was out-kicked but ran a gutsy race, as did Frederick who was way out in the open. Both finished with substantial PR times! Justin logged a 16-second PR for a 10:35 finish, and Frederick a 14-second best with 11:02. They earned medals for their third and fourth place finishes!
Jonathan, Rod, and Nate ran in the 800. Jonathan logged a great PR 2:32 and looked in good form. Rod ran 2:22 and Nate 2:26. Soon after, Alex, Joseph, and Sergio took the line for the 1600. Alex ran a nice race for yet another sub-6 time (5:54), which was his PR up until Monday's achievement at LZ. Sergio ran 5:12, but Joseph stepped up and ran a nice PR 5:09 (and thus earned pizza from his father)!
These were some nice highlights from the meet tonight. The PRs speak to the hard work that these young men are putting in and the effort they leave out there on track. These are the future leaders of ZBXC/DC and they are evolving into a tight-knit and committed pack. Note: there is a free beverage for the first ZB runner who reads this and mentions one of the Lakes PR times to Coach :) Keep up the good work!
Lake ZuricH 5.4.15
It was truly a great night for Zion Benton Track and Field Monday night in our final dual meet of the season. We traveled to Lake Zurich and also competed against Lake Forest on a beautiful evening with sunshine and a light breeze. While LZ and LF ran their JV/F-S runners in the competition, we went in intending to do our best at all levels. In doing so, we set some great season record times and went home with the Division title!
The two 3200m relays went first as usual. In the first Jaime earned a PR 2:16 split, followed by Justin's 2:11 PR, Bradley at 2:16, and John anchoring with a nice 2:15. Their overall time was a nice 8:59! The second relay looked great too. Collin led off with a 2:17 PR, followed by K-Man at 2:26, Frederick at 2:21, and Nate boosting his record to 2:15 for a 7-second PR! They finished at 9:20. These were nice starts to the evening.
Kenneth C., Desmond, Joseph, and Sergio competed in the 3200m. It was a small race, but a tough one at the front end. Desmond went out competitively the entire way, soon finding himself battling a short pair of LZ runners who matched him stride for stride and every 200m made moves to cut him off. Unfortunately Dezzie's teammates were not able to get up to help him out, but Desmond battled hard and then outkicked both for a fantastic 10:17 PR! Joseph out-ran Kenneth for a 11:06 that matched his PR, followed by Kenneth (11:40) and Sergio (11:47).
We had a nice pack in the 800m race, and they worked well together. Kenneth led our pack with a 2:14, followed by Rod (2:21), Sergio (2:27), Joseph (2:40), and Alex's 2:40 PR. But it was in the 1600 that our runners truly shone and worked well together. I loaded this event with a big ZB pack, and every runner would either run a PR or match his best time! Collin went out with great form and led the entire field, followed a short distance back by Jaime, Justin, and the rest of our runners. Collin was overtaken by a split-second by a last-ditch sprint by Jaime; both PR'd at 4:53! Justin then ran his first sub-5 mile, finishing with 4:57! Bradley finished next for a PR 5:04, then John with a PR 5:10 with Frederick right on his heels for a 5:11 time that matched his PR. Nate then finished with a PR 2:24 and Alex with a PR 5:46! Great job milers!
We concluded as usual with the 4x400m relay. Kenneth C., Collin, Frederick, and Sergio won with 4:04 to cinch that final Coach's Cup Challenge of the year! A huge shout-out and thank-you to David for his help in timing, recording, getting splits, and for keeping our guys organized!
It was a great night. We charted 14 PRs and two runners matched their best times. While some runners may not have been satisfied with their performances, the energy and accomplishments of the day prevailed on the ride home and will hopefully inspire this team to continue the forward motion. The way we ran tonight showed teamwork and the willingness to step out of comfort zones--grit. While it was our last dual meet, there will be several racing opportunities left and plenty of challenges ahead. Building on tonight will be essential, rather than seeing it as a final accomplishment. While the Distance Crew has whittled down to just over a dozen remaining guys by this point, I am proud of the dedication of this squad, their teamwork, and their potential for future greatness. Keep moving forward Bees!
Prospect Invite 5.1.15
It was an epic meet again at Prospect on Friday night. Consistently among the top meets in the state each year, this year's achievements and energy fostered an omnipresent energy and excitement in track racing. Our runners were a bit nervous going into this one and against such competition, but they responded well and ran some nice times.
Collin and Jaime ran in the slower of the two heats of the 3200m, putting them early on with the prelims. This is totally fine, as the temperatures were prefect and they had less downtime. Their pack was a fast one, holding tight for the first mile then advancing their pace in the last 1200m. Both Jaime and Collin worked well on the pack for much of the first mile, with Collin crossing at 4:58 and Jaime at 5:10. Both reset well in the second half against a surging field and finished in good form. Collin ran a 10:15.9 for a fantastic 13-second PR; Jaime ran 10:44.0 for a 6-second record!
Our 4x800 ran against a fast field too and our guys responded well. Desmond led off with a nice 2:09, followed by John and Sergio both with 2:14 splits. Kenneth C. ran as anchor, fighting up the ladder of competitors for a great 2:07 PR split. Overall the relay team ran a 14-second PR for a time of 8:45.9. Good work gentlemen!
Unfortunately John missed the call for his 800m opportunity, but our milers were called around 8:45 to the line. Desmond and Kenneth both went out in good form and ran nice races. Desmond fought shoulder to shoulder for much of the first half, finishing with 4:48.0 and matching his PR set against Mundelein; Kenneth ran 5:02.2 and looked good as well.
To say that it was a rewarding evening would be an understatement. The runners ran well and responded to the competition. I hope that, as we go into another challenging week of meets, that they capitalize on these experiences and keep moving forward. We have few weeks left in the season, and as we sharpen our speed and hone our competitive edge we can see our string of achievements continue. Keep up the good work Zee Bees!
Grant Bulldog Invite 4.30.15
The evening was pleasant and the temperatures mild as we journeyed to Fox Lake for Grant's Bulldog Invitational. I ran our F-S/JV runners as Varsity this evening, and they stepped up nicely to run with the competitors.
The first race was the 4x800, but as the meet organizers opted to move along after prelims we ended up starting half an hour earlier than planned; thus, the warmup of the four runners was significantly abbreviated. Justin led off with a nice 2:17 split, which proved to be our fastest, followed by Frederick (2:21), Nate, (2:26), and Rod (2:27) for a total time of 9:32. Bradley and Joseph represented us in the 2-mile. Joseph took a particularly aggressive angle on his race and both looked good at the mile with Joseph at 5:20 and Bradley at 5:32. Joseph finished at 11:06 for a 1-second PR, followed by a nice kick from Bradley for a 11:19 and 15-second PR!
Alex and Rod ran in the 800m. Rod matched his earlier split at 2:27, while Alex beat his best set at Lyons last week with a 2:41 and 1 second PR! Our last ZBDC race was the 1600, with Frederick and Justin coming back to race again. Both looked even better than in their relay as they attacked the heat. Justin took third place overall with 5:03 and a 5-second PR, and Frederick was right behind him at 5:11 with a 2-second PR! They are both closing in fast on sub-5 accomplishments!
The JV/F-S men ran well today and stepped up to be our varsity team at this invite. I am proud of the effort they are putting in and the PR times they are setting each meet. I cannot wait to see what they can accomplish as we edge toward Conference!
Home v. Libertyville 4.27.15
The chill and damp of the weekend broke and gave way to nice weather with sunshine and temperatures near 50 degrees for our final home meet of the year. Libertyville journeyed to ZB for this dual meet and overall we ran well in this competition. It was our third meet in four days.
As usual, our 4x800s ran first. John, Bradley, Rod, and Sergio ran a combined 9:09, while Jaime, Collin, Joseph, and Calvin ran a total 9:35. Both teams worked well together.
We had a nice pack in the 2-mile against one Libertyville runner. Desmond led the ZB squad, coming through the mile mark at 4:59 and finished in with a PR 10:26. Justin worked hard with Kenneth for the first 2000m, then kicked past him for a nice 10:55 finish and Kenneth rolled in just behind him at 11:13. Frederick achieved a PR 11:16 right on his heels, and Kenneth T. rounded out our finishes at 12:42. These same runners then turned around and ran in the 800m. Kenneth C. led with a 61 split and 2:14 finish, followed by John at his always-consistent 68/2:17. Justin logged 2:22, followed by Nate (2:24), Kenneth T. (2:26), Frederick (2:27), David (2:32), and Jonathan (2:44).
In the mile we put a nice group on the track and they worked well togehter. Collin assertively took the lead early on, looking fantastic in form. He ran a PR 4:56, followed by Jaime and Sergio's twin 5:08s. Joseph (5:14), David (5:38), and Nate (5:42) rounded off the pack. In the exhibition 4x400m the teams again worked hard and ran some nice splits. Justin, Kenneth C., Collin, and Kenneth T. won the Coach's Challenge with a time of 4:00! Congratulations gentlemen!
Libertyville did not run their varsity tonight. Still, we had some good competition and came away with a dual meet win. It was a tough weekend of racing but they actually looked better tonight than in some of the previous races, and most of all were more relaxed. This week we have Grant on Thursday and Prospect on Friday. These are big meets ahead and we need to keep honing our speed and competitive edge as we approach them.
Lake Forest 4.25.15
It was an early morning after a late arrival home from Lyons, but this underscored the importance of mental and physical toughness that we have been building all season long. We traveled on a chilly morning to Lake Forest for their small invite, and while the weather started out overcast the rain arrived just before noon and soaked everyone yet again.
In the prelims the f/s two-mile race was run. Collin and Joseph represented our team here and in fine fashion. Collin led against Etienne of LF for most of the race, looking great and fresh despite his multiple races last night. He came through the mile at 5:08 and Joseph at 5:24, and Collin was passed in the final 200m for a second place finish and PR 10:28! Joseph also ran a nice PR, logging 11:07 and dropping 11 seconds from his previous best set at Carthage.
The f/s 4x800 led off the regular events after 11am. Justin led in nice form for at 2:18 split, followed by Sergio at 2:15, Frederick at 2:24, and Rod's anchor leg of 2:22. All guys went out hard but had more challenging times with their second 400m splits. They totaled 9:20 for this race.
The varsity ran a nice race today. I switched up their order to see if we can capitalize on their individual strengths. John led with a great PR 2:13 time, handing off to Desmond who kept our team in the mix for a 2:10 split that matched his best this season from Carthage. Bradley ran 2:19 next, and Kenneth kicked hard as anchor to match his Carthage PR of 2:15 as well. They set a varsity best time of 8:59!
This is nice progress for the day, and something we will need to keep chipping away at as we evolve this season.
The varsity 3200m runners ran next. Calvin and Jaime represented our team here and worked against the competitors. Jaime ran his first sub-11 with a 10:50 finish, and Calvin ran 11:22. This race was soon followed by Alex and Nate running in the f/s 800m. Both ran nice races, but we are waiting still to see what their times were (my watch accidentally cleared...sorry!). John jumped into the varsity 800, running his first split in 61s and finishing at 2:17. Not bad for 5 minutes notice of racing! :)
The milers ran toward the end of the meet and by this time it was raining and considerably colder than when we started. Justin ran a nice 5:14 and Frederick finished at 5:20; Kenneth and Desmond worked well in the varsity race for 5:01 and 4:56 respective finishes. The Zee Bees won the invite!
This hasn't been an easy weekend, but we have run through a lot this season and these two meets should have been consistent with the level of training we have run each week. Despite the weather conditions, there were several missed opportunities for running with and overtaking competitors, rather than staying within comfort zones. Minor adjustments to form will be changes we seek to make for the future as well. There were many PRs run and seconds shaved off, and hopefully this helps energize and reboot our guys for the tough races ahead! Sunday is a day of rest, and Monday we are home against Libertyville. I cannot wait to see the team take the line on the home track and to see what they can accomplish!
Lyons Relays 4.24.15
It started out as a mild Friday evening, but the wind kicked up with a chill and later on the rains came and dampened our experience at Lyons. This meet provides us a new perspective on team running with all events being relays of varying distance. All of our guys had some good opportunities to be competitive.
The meet opened with open mile races. Alex jumped at the opportunity and led his heat in the first two laps with fantastic resolve. He finished at 5:54, his first sub-6 mile! Not only that, he ran a double-PR, with his first 800m at 2:42 and then beating his 6:00 record! David raced later in the varsity race, also running a PR of 5:22. They both took advantage of these races and looked good throughout.
We then ran the lengthy 4x1600m relay. Justin led well and matched his PR of 5:08, handing off to Calvin who logged 5:27. Joseph was our third guy and ran only one second off his best with 5:17, and Collin anchored in his first of many raced this evening. He finished resiliently at 5:00, only three seconds from his best. It was a tough race against some of the best milers in the state and the Bees generally ran alone for a total time of 20:55.
The frosh-soph 4x800 ran next. Nate led in great form with a 66s 400m and 2:26 split, handing off to Sergio who logged 2:22. Frederick ran third, also 2:22, and Rod anchored with a 2:25 and bringing us in with a total time of 9:37. The varsity 4x800m ran next, with Kenneth C. leading off. He looked great and ran a season best 2:14, followed by Jaime's 2:24. John was our third guy and he's been stuck at 2:17 for a while; he beat it by a second for a 2:16 split and handed off to Desmond, who anchored with 2:13. Their total time was 9:10.
The exciting Distance Medley Relay was next, with varying lengths. By this time the temperature had dropped significantly and the rain was starting to pour down. Bradley led off with the 1200m leg, logging a decent 3:40. Kenneth ran his second 800m race, logging a PR 2:13 here, and handing off to Desmond for the 400m split which he ran in 57 seconds. Collin stepped up for his second mile of the night, fighting through the driving rain for a 5:01. He has modeled great resolve and consistency this season and tonight was no exception. The DMR's final time was 11:52.
Collin then turned right around after his second mile race and led off in the 4x400 Class Relay. As the freshman, he ran first with a decent 64s split, followed by Sergio at 60, Zeb at 59, and Jaime at 65. Their overall time was 4:09.
In total, it was a challenging evening with the environmental conditions. It is also the first of our meets this weekend, with Lake Forest on Saturday and then our last home meet on Monday.
@Stevenson w/ Warren 4.20.15
We traded the heat of Urbana for 40 degrees and high winds at Stevenson on Monday evening. With one day of rest I challenged the men to recharge and get ready for a tough competition against two substantially larger and challenging teams. From the start, the wind and weather seemed to put a damper on the team's spirits, but despite this they came out and ran some nice times.
We ran two 4x800s. Our first team to finish consisted of John (2:20), Frederick (2:21), Joseph (2:23), and Sergio (2:16), with a time of 9:22. Our second team was Jaime (2:29), Collin (2:20), Kenneth T. (2:26), and David (2:28) for a total time of 9:45. Kenneth's time was a 6-second PR!
We had a pack of five in the 3200m, stacking against a large group of competitors. Desmond ran his first 3200 since his sophomore year, working hard in third place behind a pair of Warren runners that had a substantial lead. He finished at 10:29 for a 16s PR, followed soon after by Kenneth C. (season PR 10:58) and Justin (10:58); these three all finished ahead of Stevenson's first runner. Bradley finished next at 11:34 for a 79s PR, followed by Alex in his first 3200 of the year and 13:24 finish.
I had these same 2-milers in the 800. Alex logged 2:56, Bradley 2:46, Justin 2:21, Kenneth 2:18, and Desmond 2:16. It was a challenging race as they were recovering but a building experience.
The mile runners had some nice successes. Unfortuantely they all ran in the F-S heat instead of our Varsity level guys running in the second heat, perhaps because they were all feeling cold. Collin led with great form for a 5:02 finish, followed by Jaime at 5:06. Sergio came in next at 5:13, followed by David's 5:23 PR, Joseph at 5:25, and Nate running an incredible 5:33 PR. Kenneth T. was our last guy, also running a season PR of 5:56.
Our final event was the exhibition 4x4. While in two separate heats, the runners had better energy for this race than they had displayed all day. Kenneth led off with a 54s 400, and a number of other guys ran nice sprints at the end of the day. In the end, Sergio, Justin, David, and Bradley won with 4:09, beating our other team times of 4:11 and 4:34.
We have a stacked weekend ahead. Lyons on Friday, LF on Saturday, and home vs. Libertyville of Monday. This week we need to work on recharging and retooling our efforts for this trio of meets. We must ensure that we are equipped to compete in any weather and stay focused on the races at hand. We had some nice PRs and must continue to work hard and strive for greatness in this exciting upcoming weekend!
It was an early morning and a hot day at the Urbana Invite. While unfortunately confined to just one bus at the time of our departure, the runners did a good job of rolling with this unforeseen situation and staying focused on the business of the day. We rolled in to Urbana just before 8:30 am and prepared for greatness!
The frosh-soph 4x800m relay ran first. They had the coolest temperatures but least amount of warm-up time, and preformed marvelously. I challenged every man to run a PR time, and ALL DID! Justin led with a great split, taking his first lap in 64s and handing off to Frederick with a stunning 2:13 (7s PR!). Frederick worked hard as well, dropping 3s from his previous PR for a 2:20 split. Joseph ran third with a respectable 2:21, handing off to Sergio for the anchor leg. Sergio blasted alone around the track for a fantastic 2:12 and overall finish of 9:08.4 FAT. He looked great but was unfortunately caught in the the final paces by a competitor from Mattoon. This is a full 19s faster than their PR from Deerfield and earned them both a 4th place finish and ribbons! Great work relay team!
After an hour break, 11:30 rolled around and it was time to start the Varsity meet. The temperatures were climbing to the high 70s at this point and the weather was beautiful. Calvin led off in the varsity relay in great form for a 2:19 split; Bradley worked hard for his 2:18, followed by John at 2:18 and Desmond at 2:17. Overall they ran 9:13.8 FAT, ten seconds off their best from earlier this week and 5s slower than the frosh-soph runners.
Jaime and Collin represented ZBDC in the 3200m run. I challenged both the work together and dictate the race, but Jaime slowly slipped back as Collin firmly entrenched himself in the top pack of five runners. At the mile both looked good with Collin running a 5:04 first mile and Jaime 5:24. The second half was visually challenging for both as runners made moves. Collin in particular refused to be beat, fighting his pack for lead position every lap. He kicked hard and earned a 3rd place with a PR 10:30.3 time, two seconds better than his record set at Carthage! Jaime kicked in the last 100m to a 5th place finish and time of 11:18.6, which stands as a PR for him as well. Both runners earned Varsity medals.
Despite ongoing shin pain, John powered through an additional 800m race. Against a PR of 2:17 and running a 2:18 just thirty minutes previously, John stayed warm and worked hard throughout his two laps. It was a very gutsy race, as he was visibly in pain, but he stayed on and competed well. He matched his previous split of the day for 2:18.4 FAT and a nice race.
Our 1600m runners ran last for the Distance Crew. Both Kenneth and Desmond seemed at ease going in to the race, but as the gun went off it quickly became apparent that the 80 degree temps and intense competition were challenging factors. Kenneth went out in great form, taking the lead of the pack for the entire first 800m of the race as Desmond settled in the middle. Kenneth was overtaken almost immediately as lap 3 commenced, with the pack collectively moving past him and increasing to a pace Kenneth could not quite match. Kenneth finished with a season best 5:02.7, with Desmond just seconds late at 5:09.5.
While we ran some gutsy races, we need to continue to up our competitive attitudes and lengthen our strides in the final kicks. It is very important to challenge those who make moves on us instead of letting them pass--we lost positions in several races in the final feet of the race. We have also seen a shift in strength toward our frosh-soph pack, who beat out the Varsity in the relay. Our older runners are going to need to come out in top gear if they want to retain their spots later on this season--this competitive spirit among our younger runners is already making them great, and their willingness to give 110% every day is contributing greatly to our team's success.
Zion Benton again won the varsity meet! This is our third consecutive varsity win at Urbana. We also took home many medals and ribbons; the Distance Crew alone logged eight PRs. It was a successful meet, but we are going to need to turn it up closer to home on Monday as we challenge Warren and Stevenson at Stevenson. These have some tough distance teams, and I hope our guys rise to this great challenge!
Home v. Mundelein 4.13.15
It was a beautiful evening to go head to head with Mundelein in both our first home meet and first dual meet of the season. Mundelein showed up with their usual strong distance team, anchored by Richards and Hagerdorn, but our distance guys did a very nice job and helped in ZB's victory in the meet.
Our varsity ran a season best 9:03, with Desmond, John, Rod, and Kenneth contributing to this well-run race. Our JV/FS relay ran 9:49 with a lineup consisting of Justin (who ran a PR 2:20 split), Nate, Alex G., and Collin. Nice job relays!
I put a pack of five in the 3200m race, running against both Hagerdorn and Richards. Our pack stuck together well through the first 800m but ended up stringing out and losing sight of both Mundelein competitors who ran their own race easily out front. Jaime was the first ZB through (11:21), followed by Frederick with a fantastic PR 2:25, Sergio (11:38), David (11:51), and Joseph (11:57). In the 800m we also ran a large pack. Bradley emerged fresh and ran a very strong race for a lifetime best 2:15! This was followed by Jaime (2:22), Sergio (2:24), Rod (2:27), Frederick/David (2:33 both), Joseph (2:36), and Jonathan (2:38).
We regrouped and had some nice breakthroughs in the 1600. Desmond led the ZB pack with a very assertive race, challenging himself and Mundelein's Krauss for a 1-second PR time of 4:48! Collin was right on his heels for much of the race, and this night he earned his first sub-5 PR with a time of 4:57! Congratulations Collin! Kenneth C. was next at 5:03, followed by Justin with his second PR of the night (5:08)! John logged a nice 5:16, followed by Bradley (5:56), Alex G.'s PR 6:00, and Jonathan's PR 6:11.
We also ran our exhibition 4x400m relay for the first time this season. John, Nate, David, and Frederick won the first Coach's Cup prize with a time of 3:53.
It was a nice evening to race and a great opportunity to put our full team on the line against one other school (winning was nice too!). I saw some of the guys really put themselves to the test and many nice Personal Bests earned in their races. Together there is much to celebrate but, as always, room for improvement. We will be working on form and kicks to hone our level of competition as we use this as a springboard to the remainder of the season. We were not fortunate this week to lose several runners to academic deficiency, something that will thrust each of the remaining guys into the position of filling in these gaps on the team. I am very certain they will rise to the challenge, but it is an unfortunate reminder that academics must be our primary priority. This weekend we travel to Urbana for a long trip and a shot at our third consecutive win!
We ran our first outdoor meet yesterday in beautiful weather at Deerfield High School. While last year saw a storm then a massive uptick in humidity, this year the temps settled at a comfortable 60 degrees with light westerly wind and omnipresent sunshine. Conditions were prefect, and we saw some nice progress made, especially at the frosh-soph level.
Our frosh/soph 4x800m launched promptly at 10am and looked in fine form. Sergio led with a PR 2:18.3 split, followed by Nate's first track race and a decent 2:23.8 split. He handed off to Frederick, who opened up well in his second half to achieve a 2:23.7 and 2-second PR; Rod anchored in his usual intense fashion, making up ground against Deerfield. He edged out Deerfield by two seconds to take us to a fourth place finish for a 2:21.3 split and overall 9:27.3 finish. This is a 3-second PR for our F/S boys!
Varsity 4x800m ran next. David ran first with a 2:24.6, handing off to K-Man for his first race of the year. Kenneth ran an especially nice first half and achieved a 2:32.1 overall; Calvin ran third for 2:23.1 and a 1-second PR over Evanston, then John ran a nice anchor leg at 2:18.2. Overall Varsity logged 9:38.5.
Collin and Justin ran in the 3200m and their race could arguably have been the most memorable of the day. The pack got out well, with both ZB runners holding right near the top. At the mile Collin was a t 5:08 and Justin just behind him at 5:11. With a gutsy second half Collin came in with a nice 10:33.1 FAT, just one second off his PR from Carthage; Justin's first 2-mile race concluded on a great note with 10:51.5! Congrats to both with these great times! Kenneth C. and Delown represented ZBDC in the Varsity 3200m. Both were in good form at the midpoint, with Kenneth at 5:10 and Delown at 5:30, but both backed off in the second half for 11:08 and 11:33 finished respectively. For Delown this was a 30-second PR over his last race during his sophomore year.
Our milers warmed up well and looked good for the starts of their races. Sergio and Frederick doubled up in events. They worked with a fast pack, with Frederick edging past Sergio in the last 200m for 5:18 and 5:15 finished respectively. For Frederick this was this second PR of the day, a full 25 seconds better than his previous! At the Varsity level, Jaime and Desmond also doubled and went out hard. Desmond refused to let a fast pack put too much of a gap on him, and finished at 4:49, a second better than his lifetime best! Jaime finished at 5:11.
In conclusion, it was a nice racing day and we charted a number of nice PRs. This intensity is required if we are to continue to make progress this season. It was nice to finally put out guys on a full outdoor track, and this is where our training is going to do us the most good. Our freshmen and sophomores really brought it at this meet, and should give the Varsity a kick--I am very proud that these younger guys are pushing to be the best they can be!
We competed in our final indoor meet of the season this weekend at Proviso West High School. Bathed in the orange lights, we were able to run a JV/F-S 4x800m relay for the first time this season, as well as Varsity 4x800, 1600, and 3200m races. We have been able to bookend Spring Break with two competitive indoor meets on 200m tracks, and next week we enter outdoor season and the chance to extend our laps to 400m.
The F-S relay ran first and had a nice race. Sergio led off with a 2:23, handing off to Frederick who worked hard against the competition for a 2:25 split. Justin made his lifetime track debut as our third man, finding his stride for a 2:26 and making up some ground in the heat. Rod ran his first race of the season as anchor, moving up in great form and overtaking runners on every lap. On his final lap he surged forward and caught the first-place runner, then kicked hard against him. With a lunge of his head he snapped across the finish line neck-and-neck with the other runner--with a roar the judge called "Zion-Benton!" and Rod had won the heat! He charted a fantastic 2:18 split, a lifetime PR, and earned ZB a 9:33.46 FAT time.
Our Varsity 4x800m ran next. Bradley led off with the pack, running a nice 2:19 PR before handing off to David. David worked gamely around the track for 2:29 and Joseph followed with a 2:24. Delown ran his first race of the season as anchor and a 2:22, making some good headway in the final laps. They finished overall 9:36.65.
John was our only 3200m runner, and while he was feeling congested and sick he took to the line and ran a great race. With sixteen laps, he kept his form square and worked hard in his heat. He finished against a person best from last year of 11:23 with a 11:20.96 FAT, charting a PR despite the protests of his sinuses. Nice job John! After a substantial break, it was time for our 1600m runners to run. Collin ran first in the second heat, and Kenneth in the third and fastest heat. Collin's goal was to beat his time from last week (5:07 set in his 3200m run!), and he worked very well with this pack. He finished nicely with 5:00.09 FAT--just a split second off of a sub-5 mile but with a fantastic PR of 7 seconds! Kenneth, freshly returned from the Caribbean, ran a gutsy race with a very fast pack. His first half looked smart but his vacation challenged him in the last two quarter miles. Still, he finished at 5:09.71.
Overall, ZB placed third overall at this meet, our highest placing in our history of competing here. It is tough to run at the end of a break, but our guys held on and charted some successes. I am confident that we can shave some time as we enter the outdoor season and train with greater frequency on our 400m track. Our F-S relay beat the Varsity, and I've challenged the guys to adapt a tougher mindset and focus on their strides to raise these times to an even more competitive level. We have a short break before our next meet, and will be using this opportunity to up our level of competition, train for 400m laps, and energize our team for greatness!
Keep moving forward, Distance Crew!
Zion Benton Distance found its stride yesterday at the Lake Michigan Invite, held at Carthage College in Kenosha. With over 30 teams participating, it was a good opportunity to see what we could do with excellent competition and on a little longer track than last week. Fortunately, too, we had a couple more slots for runners to compete and our team to gain experience. While it was a long day, we saw some excellent successes!
Our 4x800m relay team hit the track first, running in the high heat. Desmond led off, working particularly well on the turns and achieving a season best 2:10 split and handing the baton to David for his first race this year. For someone as prone to injury and used to running through omnipresent pain as David is, he looked in the best shape in his career yesterday and ran a lifetime best split of 2:23--a full seven seconds better than last year's PR. John was our third runner, "taking a PR" (John's words!) by a second better than last week's PR with a 2:17 and incredible final lap drive. Kenneth anchored and went out hard. Kenneth has excellent distance stamina, but proved his diversified skillset with a gutsy sprint and 2:15 split. Our team achieved 9:07.5 FAT, placing 14th/21 finishing teams and beating last week's time by seven seconds. Well done gentlemen!
The 1600m race was our next event, and I used a wildcard entry to place three runners in this event. As luck would have it, they all ended up in the same heat. This proved a mixed blessing, as they are used to racing each other and need to focus instead on the outside competition, but on the other hand they have each other to work with. I encouraged them to dictate the terms of their heat together, and they took the line with great hunger. Jaime went out determined to achieve a sub-5 mile after last week's 5:00 success, and for the first third he hung well with the leaders, while Bradley and Sergio packed up a short ways behind. Jaime then surged to the front and led through the final lap with excellent resolve. Bradley and Sergio worked together, with Bradley taking a later and narrow lead on Sergio and running with great form. Jaime kicked hard a little sooner than expected, and this pushed the rest of the heat of of their comfort zone. While he was passed by several runners, he finished nicely with his first sub-5 lifetime achievement (4:57.22) and our team's first sub-5 time of the season! Sergio and Bradley finished neck and neck, running 5:12.3 and 5:12.8 respectively. For Sergio is was his season best. But for Bradley, it busted past his 5:17 PR to earn him a lifetime best! Congratulations to all three milers!
After a substantial stretch of downtime, our 3200m runners were ready to race. Collin ran first in the second heat, while Joseph ran in the final one. Collin swallowed his nerves and let his instincts take over, naturally holding right with the top pack. He made some excellent moves mid-race, adapting to a good pace. He passed the 1600m halfway point at 5:07--a lifetime PR for the mile(!!!)--and displayed a fantastic second half with a 5:25 and final time of 10:32! Logging one PR in a race is fantastic, but two is monumental; in his first 3200m race he established himself as a serious competitor who can adapt on the move and challenge himself. WOW! Joseph had been taking mental notes, for he ran a very smart race as well. He worked very hard in his heat, taking control and an early lead and passing the 1600m mark in great form at 5:28. His second half was tougher and saw him battling hard against a surging field, but he held on and ended up dueling a Racine Horlick runner for much of the final half. He kicked nicely for a 11:18 finish and 5:50 second half split. Nice job to both 2-milers!
Overall, we charted excellent progress at Carthage. Our 4x800 splits got faster, our milers pushed to PRs, and our 3200m runners displayed great stamina. I could not be more proud of this progress. Our season is still young, and already our guys are pushing to some fantastic achievements. With their work ethic and growth mindset they can push to far greater heights, and these leaders can inspire our younger group to similar greatness. Finally, I cannot wait to put them into outdoor competition on a 400m track, allowing the speed and skill they've been honing to carry them longer curves, wider lanes, and longer straightaways. It was a good day. Runners: keep the momentum up as we compete this next week at Proviso!
Our first racing opportunity finally came this weekend at the Dan Phillips Invite, held at Evanston. Our first scheduled meet, Thornwood, was canceled at the last minute and pushed us back a week--after over nine weeks of training, we were as ready as we would ever be to test our skills in a competition. This is a Varsity-level race and therefore only a handful of runners had the opportunity to go. We entered a team into the 3200m relay and two men into the 1600m. The blue indoor track is 10 laps/mile.
My expectations for the evening were few: count our laps correctly (run no more, no less than needed), make all our handoffs, and run all out races. In a repeat of last year, their FAT system broke and we started to get behind schedule and edge into the evening hours. Our 4x800m team was very resilient in the 45 minute delay and stayed warmed up. Desmond ran as our leader, followed by Collin in his first track race ever, then John, and Calvin ran as anchor
With ten teams on the line, it was a push to get out and cut to the inside. Desmond did this flawlessly. On the first turn he bodily edged in and those behind him backed off, giving him some space to work. He had a nice first race of the season, running a 2:12.8 and matching his time from this meet last year. Collin got off to a good start, but started to stagger in his third lap as the warm and dry interior climate hit him; he gamely held on for a 2:24.3 split. John went out with a vengeance, his signature kick on the final lap paying off nicely with a lifetime PR of 2:18.9! Calvin had a nice couple laps too, his long stride carrying him in good form--his final two laps were run alone and were tough, but he held on to match Collin's time with a 2:24.1 split. Overall we raced 9:20.1 and took fifth place. Congratulations gentlemen!
It was not too long of a wait before our mile runners had their opportunity to shine. We have run many 1600m time trials this season, devoting many a Saturday morning to this endeavor, but never have we run one above 23 degrees! The dry indoor climate had visibly taken a toll on our relay runners, and I urged Kenneth and Jaime to stay mentally tough through their ten-lap race. Jaime raced first, wearing track flats for the first time. He started off conservatively with the pack, but soon found their pace to be undesirable and began moving up. By the end of lap three he was indicating a dry throat and began experimenting with a variety of changes to his form--while this was not what I had intended when I challenged him to "run your own race," he did even out and, with two laps left, kicked past the lead runner and was dictating the race for himself. He finished with strength and joy to a 5:00.9 time and a lifetime PR--not to mention what would later be a 5th place overall between the two 1600m heats! Kenneth then toed the line in the second, faster-seeded heat--he also had brand new spikes. Kenneth worked with the leaders of the race for the first half, clocking 2:24 for his 800m and setting up nicely for a sub-5, but the second half was tougher. He finished with a very nice last kick to a time of 5:14.9 and a season best by over ten seconds. Congratulations to both!
We have tasted competition and soon will have both an opportunity to compete again in a week and the opportunity for several more guys to run indoor races as we head to Carthage this next weekend. We will acclimate to warmer temperatures train harder this week. The first races are behind us, and it is time to turn up the level of intensity and the hunger for greatness.
4x800m Relay (V)
8:45.9 FAT @Prospect
4x800m Relay (F-S)
9:03 @F-S Conference
800m Split (V)
1. 2:07 Kenneth @Prospect
2. 2:09 Desmond @Prospect
2. 2:11 Bradley @Sectionals
800m Split (F-S)
1. 2:11 Justin @Lake Zurich
2. 2:12 Sergio @Urbana
3. 2:15 Nate @Lake Zurich
1. 10:17 Desmond @L. Zurich
2. 10:44.0 FAT Jaime @Prospect
3. 10:58 Kenneth @Stevenson
1. 10:14.1 FAT Collin @Sectionals
2. 10:35 Justin @Lakes
3. 10:56 Joseph @F-S Conference
1. 4:46.6 FAT Desmond @Conference
2. 4:52.4 FAT Jaime @Sectionals
3. 5:02.2 FAT Kenneth @Prospect
1. 4:53 Collin @Lake Zurich
2. 4:57 Justin @Lake Zurich
3. 5:09 Joseph @Lakes
Coach's Cup 4x4 Record
4:00 4/27 v. Libertyville
by Kenneth C., Kenneth T.,