With two sets of twin brothers running the same relays, plus a longtime former coach and teacher back working as an assistant, something special was bound to happen for the Marist track program.
It did this year.
Led by senior distance standouts Luke and Kyle Haberkorn, a family name with past running success at Marist, the RedHawks won their first East Suburban Catholic Conference title in 14 years last week at Notre Dame.
“It was a big deal for us,’’ Kyle said. “I had some brothers come through Marist. It was nice to get one for the family.’’
Luke and Kyle are the last of six siblings to attend Marist. The oldest is Lauren, a 2008 grad who was Class 2A state cross country champ in ’05. Lauren was followed by twins Joel and Ryan, who graduated in ’10, and Cody, a ’12 grad.
At the conference meet, Marist’s foursome of the Haberkorns and sophomore twins Bobby and Richie Mauge won the 3,200-meter relay (8 minutes, 20.59 seconds) and came back at the end of the meet to take the 1,600 relay (3:35.47).
In between, Luke won the 800 in 2:02.12, barely edging Kyle (2:02.16).
“I let him have it,’’ Kyle said.
“That’s what he says,’’ Luke replied.
Darshon McCullough, a sophomore, contributed first place in the triple jump (42 feet, 10 inches).
“I’ve been in track since fifth grade,’’ McCullough said. “Coach tried me in triple and I performed well.’’
Marist holds seven conference records, including the 3,200 relay (8:03.30) set in 1986.
Marist had been an ESCC power dating to the 1970s. But after the RedHawks claimed three of four conference crowns from 1997 to 2000, Benet and Carmel were the most frequent champs.
“A lot of the training, the way we go about workouts and practices and the long runs,’’ Luke said of regaining the ESCC title. “There’s more of a team mentality. It’s good to know you can count on other people.’’
Seniors Joe Schmidt (pole vault), Andre Turner (triple jump), Richie Castro (pole vault, hurdles) and Luke McGovern (distance) have been key members of the squad.
Ray Balcarcel, coach for 23 seasons from 1968 to ’90, is in his second season back working with the hurdlers for coach Steve Davidson.
“Couple of years ago, we were toward the bottom of the conference,’’ Davidson said. “We’ve gone in three years from fifth to third to first. It was a good mixture of seniors and young guys, field events and distance.’’
Next for Marist is Friday’s Romeoville Sectional at Lewis, where individuals and relays will compete for spots in next week’s state meet at Eastern Illinois.
“We’ve come a long way,’’ Davidson said. “It’s still a work in progress.’’