Call it the nine-year itch.
Illiana Christian, which does not have a track to practice on, finished one-two in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs en route to capturing the Class 2A Thornridge sectional title Thursday in Dolton. The win marks the Vikings’ fifth sectional championship in program history, first since 2005.
“Tonight was a perfect night for Illiana,” Viking distance runner Tony Wondaal said. “Everything went as we planned and we couldn’t have asked for much better.”
Illiana Christian scored 91.5 points to outdistance host Thornridge’s 75.
“I was very pleased with how things went tonight,” Illiana coach Jeff Smith said. “Some things went our way and the Lord blessed us with good weather.”
Illiana qualified seven individuals and two relays.
Wondaal took second in the 1,600 (4:25.36) and was part of the winning 3,200 relay (8:18.91). He also ran the second leg of the runner-up and qualifying 1,600 relay (3:29.69).
“This is great,” Woodall said. “It’s great to have multiple events qualify for state and to get the team victory because it’s been nine years since we’ve won a sectional.”
Illiana’s Kevin Vroegh won the 800 (1:57.82), Nick Wondaal captured the 3,200 (9:43.5) and Nick Flene was first in the 1,600 (4.24.10). Nick Wondaal and Vroegh also ran legs of both qualifying distance relays.
“It’s awesome that our team is not one-dimensional,” Tony Woodall said.
Franklin Hunt anchored Rich Central’s winning 800 relay (1:30.09) and was first in the 100 (10.85) and 200 (22.23).
Thornridge’s Nick Fizer won the 110 high hurdles in 14.92 and anchored the winning 400 relay (42.99). Tinley Park was first in the 1,600 relay (3:28.12).
Marian Central’s Matthew Martinson advanced to the state meet by winning the high jump (6-3) and taking second in the triple jump (43-11).
Morgan Park’s Brandon Riley won the 400 (49.98).
“Now we have a few decisions to make as far as whom to run where,” Smith said of the game plan for the state meet next weekend at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
“When you are a small school like us with 500 kids, you have to pick and choose who to run because we don’t have enough depth to cover all the events downstate.”