When Crete-Monee’s Quentin Nash received the anchor-leg baton in the 1,600 meter relay, he trailed Lincoln-Way North by what looked to be insurmountable distance — or “about 20 to 30 meters” from Nash’s perspective.
“He had a distance on me, but I was determined to close the gap,” he said. “I trusted my training and waited for the last 100-meter stretch and just went for it.”
Nash hit the jets and sailed smoothly past the finish line, prompting the Warriors to a first-place finish in Thornridge’s 20th Annual TJ Shirley Blue Smoke Invitational on Saturday.
Nash won the 400 meters in 49.6 seconds and led the 1,600 meter relay to a time of 3:29.7.
“I ran the 400 last year,” Nash said. “But I was nowhere near as mentally or physically ready as I am now.”
Crete-Monee topped Bolingbrook — the meet’s reigning champ — 134-129, and outdistanced itself from a strong 12-team field that included Providence (105 points), Bradley-Bourbonnais (96), Joliet Central (94), Thornridge (86.5) and Lincoln-Way East (85).
Crete-Monee coach Brian O’Donnell called the sprint relays the strength of the team, with the Warriors also triumphing in the 800 meter relay (1:30.8).
Bolingbrook’s Joshua Collins nabbed the 100-meter title in 10.6 and the Raiders went 1-2 in the long jump and pole vault. Jesse Pape and Ben Junkroski each vaulted 13-6, while John Hall (21-9.5) topped Demare Portis (20-11.5) in the sand pit.
Thornridge senior Nick Fizer conquered the 200-meter dash in 22.9 and anchored the winning 400-meter relay, which included Deonta Moses, Kevonte Fox and Raheem Stingley.
After “not finishing right” during the 200 meter state prelims last year, placing 10th and just missing out on the Class 2A state tinals, Fizer has a new motto for his senior campaign.
“Finish through the line,” he said. “I want to be a state champion this year.”
Stingley, the Falcon’s third leg, was happy to be back on the track after pulling a hamstring in sectionals. He had to watch from the sidelines as the 400 relay team took sixth in Class 2A last year.
“A minor setback for a major comeback,” Stingley said.
Lincoln-Way East state-placer Austin Corydon finished first in the 110 hurdles, turning in a 14.1 despite a few hiccups with the wind at his back.
“I hit a couple — almost fell once because I nailed it — but I pushed through,” said Corydon, who added a first-place finish in the 300 hurdles (41.2).
Providence’s Mike Monroe won the high jump at 6-8. Joliet Central’s Salvador Lazaro won the 3,200 meters in 9:51 and teammate Favio Nunez won the disc with a hurl of 158-10. Lincoln-Way East’s Chris Kocur took the mile in 4:39.2.