Even small seeds can grow into a surprisingly strong crop.
That is what the boys’ track team will be looking for Friday and Saturday at the Illinois High School Association’s State Finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
The IHSA seeding formula, which is based on how the Warriors placed at the Sectionals May 17, forecasts the Warriors to come away with zero points. But Coach Jeremy Kauffman and his team know that seeding is not what runs the races.
“The state meet isn’t about seeds,” Kauffman said. “It is about who performs that weekend. The State Meet is every man for himself. If you are there you got a shot. We have been very lucky in past years to go down there and come home with medals.”
“Seeding means nothing to us,” and will anchor the 4 x 200 relay team, said. “I think we have a very good chance to place and earn points for us and move up in the standings.”
Kauffman was worried that the Loyola sectional, arguably the toughest in the state, could take its toll on the Central Suburban League North Division champions. “It was very tough,” he said. “Every team there had a banner day. Every team qualified an enormous amount of athletes. It speaks to the volume of the Sectional.”
Katz, who was seeking to qualify in four events last weekend, just missed on the long jump. He also came up a bit short in the triple jump, where he placed third in the state last year.
“The triple jump was at the end of the meet and I was just dead,” Katz said. “I had run in the other two events and there were five jumps on the long jump, so I was just out of energy.”
Besides Katz, the Warriors will have a strong contingent representing them. Alex Gold, who was fifth in sectionals with a time of 9:24.38 in the 3,200-meter run; Makoto Bowering was fourth in the 800 meter run in a time of 1:56.79 and Adam Rabushka, who was second in the 300 intermediate hurdles with a time of 39.58. All four could all move from Friday’s qualifying heats to Saturday’s finals.
“It will be fun being downstate,” said Rabushka, who will anchor the 4 x 400 relay team. “And I am looking to run my best times so far.” Rabushka will be joined on the relay team by Luke Williams, Donald Middlebrook and Tristen Nunez that was fifth at Sectionals with a time of 3:23.48.
But it is the 4 x 200 team that could make the most noise.
Starting off with Williams, followed by Geoff Heiser and Middlebrook before Katz, the group qualified with a time of 1:29.60, just a second behind Sectional champion Evanston. That finish was despite the fact that the four had never run in a meet together.
“We think there is a lot more there,” Kaufmann said. “This group is not only fast, but very good technically and we plan to use their attention to detail. We are going to go for it here and stretch them out as much as possible.”
“Our overall time was fantastic and it was very exciting for us,” Katz said. “We are the four fastest on our team and it was great to see how well we could do. And I know we can do even better at State.”