TRACK AND FIELD: Herscher leads locals at Interstate Eight meet

May 4, 2019

After prior failed attempts because of this week’s steady downpour, six local schools finally made the trip to Manteno on Friday for the Interstate Eight Track and Field meet, where Herscher led the way for area schools with a second-place finish on the girls side and third-place finish on the boys side.

Reed-Custer sweeps pole vault

The Comets have traditionally been one of the strongest pole vaulting teams in the area year in and year out, and Evan Pickard and Shaelin Ruzich are keeping that tradition alive. Both are just sophomores and picking up where they left off last year after both qualifying for state as freshman.

Ruzich won the girls side Friday after clearing exactly 10 feet.

“I wasn’t necessarily focusing on winning,” Ruzich. “But I knew if I jumped the way I knew how to that I would do well.”

Ruzich also took first place in the 100-meter high hurdles as well as the 300-meter low hurdles.

Pickard won the boys pole vault competition after jumping 13 feet, 6 inches.

“I’m happy because I set a personal record and won my first conference championship.” Pickard said. “I was just trying to do my best and that was enough tonight.”

Both competitors were quick to note their pole vaulting program is special because of its coaches and teammates.

“I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for our amazing coaches,” Ruzich said. “They keep us sane in a sport that can drive you crazy at times.”

“We have some really good coaches that are always giving us good advice,” Pickard said. “They are always helping us push forward and improve.”

Mendoza wins discuss

Wilmington thrower Faith Mendoza also is representing the area as a conference champion after winning the girls’ discuss after throwing 100 feet, 9.5 inches.

Mendoza set a personal record by nearly 20 feet.

“It was fantastic. My first throw was my best and it was barely in-bounds,” Mendoza said. “I hesitated for a second to wait for confirmation that it was counted, and when they told me it counted I jumped in the air and screamed I was so happy.”

Mendoza’s constant improvement throughout the year has impressed Wilmington coach Eric Dillon.

“Her old personal best was 87 feet and all of her throws were over 90 feet today,” Dillon said. “If anyone deserves this, it’s Faith, because of how hard she works.”

Herscher finishes first and second in 3200 M

Herscher had a strong showing in the 3200-meter run in both the boys and girls competition. Kylie Lockwood finished second place on the girls side (13:05.33), behind Reed-Custer’s Sam Moeller (12:40.14).

“This time of the year I’m just trying to get my times down and keep improving,” Lockwood said. “My times decreased a little bit from my sophomore and junior year for a while, but I’m glad to making improvements again at the right time of the year.”

Drew Rogers won the boys 3200-meter run with a time of 10:09.37, edging out Westmont’s Matt Gedraitis by nine seconds.

“I’m pretty happy with my conference championship — that Westmont kid was breathing down my neck for most of the race,” Rogers said. “But I was really happy to have the competition to help push me even more.”

Rogers also won the 1600-meter (4:46.78) and finished second in the 800-meter (2:07.56).

With conference championships under his belt, Rogers now looks forward to his next goal.

“My goal is to make it to state and hopefully place,” Rogers said. “But we’ll have to wait and see.”

Girls local first place finishes

4x800 M relay — Herscher (10:32.50); 4x200 M relay — Herscher (1:51.01); 4x400 M relay — Herscher (4:21.74); 3200 M — Sam Moeller, Reed-Custer (12:40.14); 800 M — Mady Rogers, Herscher (2:30.03); 300 M high hurdles — Shaelin Ruzich, Reed-Custer (47.43); 1600 M — Sam Moeller, Reed-Custer (5:57.83); 200 M — Kate McCann, Wilmington (27.90); Discus — Faith Mendoza, Wilmington (100-feet-9.5); Triple Jump — Jaden Christian, Reed-Custer (36-feet-5); Pole Vault — Shaelin Ruzich, Reed-Custer (10-feet); Long Jump — Jaden Christian, Reed-Custer (16-feet-10).

Boys local first place finishes

3200 M — Drew Rogers, Herscher (10:09.37); 4x200 M relay — Herscher (1:32.73); 300 M hurdles — Jackson Crater, Reed-Custer (42.73) 1600 M — Drew Rogers, Herscher (4:46.78); Discus —Jacob Arseneau, Manteno (141-feet-7); Pole Vault — Evan Pickard, Reed-Custer (13-feet-6).

Girls local team finishes

Herscher, second (115); Reed-Custer, third (103); Wilmington, fourth (95); Coal City, eighth (16); Peotone, ninth (14); Manteno, 11th (3).

Boys local team finishes

Herscher, third (100.5); Coal City, sixth (51); Reed-Custer, seventh (48); Manteno, T-9th (11); Wilmington, T-9th (11); Peotone, 11th (9).