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Tifonte Hunt’s photo finish highlights Thornton’s sectional title

05/22/2014, 10:53pm CDT
By Tim Tierney

Thornton’s Tifonte Hunt edged Bloom’s Daylen Hubbard in the 110-meter hurdles to help lead the Wildcats to the team title of the Class 3A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional on Thursday.

Thornton's Tifonte Hunt (right) edges Bloom's Daylen Hubbard by .01 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles. | Allen Cunningham/For Sun-Times Media

In a meet loaded with elite sprinters, back-to-back races at the Class 3A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional won’t take a back seat to the state finals.

The 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter dash finals Thursday night included five runners who competed in the 2013 state finals.

Thornton’s Tifonte Hunt raced to the hurdles title in a photo finish that had observers on the track wondering who won the event. Hunt clocked 14.28 seconds to barely edge Bloom’s Daylen Hubbard (14.29) in a race that qualified six runners to the state meet.

“That was actually the best hurdle race I’ve ever been in,’’ Hunt said. “I hit the last hurdle. I thought that was going to mess me up. I just had to finish at the end.

“I knew sectional was going to be real hard, but I knew I was going to win.’’

The sectional times ran by Hunt, who was ninth in the state last year, and Hubbard would have been good enough for third place in the 2013 state final.

Also beating the 14.74 state qualifying time and advancing to state were Bloom’s Jonah Wiley (14.48, third), Lincoln-Way East’s Austin Corydon (14.54, fourth), Crete-Monee’s Elijah Douglas (14.56, fifth) and Thornton’s Demitrius Mitchell (14.65, sixth).

Five events later, Corydon earned a sectional championship in the 300 hurdles (39.16).

Thornton sprinter Jauan Wesley had plenty of life in his legs. Wesley, seventh in the state 100 last year, won the sectional in 10.83 after he anchored the Wildcats’ 400 relay with Martise Craig, Cavion Clanton and Hunt to first place in a blistering 41.43.

“I knew I had stiff competition with [Lincoln-Way North’s] Julian Hylton,’’ Wesley said of last year’s state runner-up who didn’t advance in the 100 . “I’m just trying to progress and catch up, so I can take first this year.’’

Hylton did come back later in the meet to win the 200 meters in 22.06. Hunt also qualified in the 200 (22.22).

Thornton also won a sectional title in the 800 relay (1:28.35).

H-F’s Matt Anyiwo, seventh in the state 800 last year, advanced in two individual races. He was first in the 400 (48.44) with teammate Emmanuel Spearman (49.47) qualifying second. Anyiwo was second in the 800 (1:51.95), easily beating the 1:57.24 standard.

Providence’s Mike Monroe, state runner-up last year in the high jump, cleared 6 feet, 9 inches to win another sectional title.

“I’m happy because I won, but I’m not really satisfied with the height,’’ Monroe said. “I just need the competition to do it.’’

Other field event winners included Providence’s Andy Jatis in the pole vault (14-9) and Tyler Schiemann in the discus (159-5), Thornton’s Malik Jenkins in the triple jump (46-7), Wiley in the long jump (23-11) and T.F. South’s Adam Kessler in the shot put (51-6).

Lincoln-Way Central opened the track events with a win from its 3,200 relay (8:08.50) of Ben Alvarado, Phil Rinaldi, Alekos Mitchel and Ben Zibricky.

H-F finished the meet with a win in the 1,600 relay (3:20.53) by Spearman, Rodney Johnson, Matt Simpson and Anyiwo.

Thornton claimed the team title in the 14-school field with 95 points over runner-up H-F (66) and third-place Bloom (59).

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