Aidan Orlando brings home the 4x100 "W" in for the Prospect at the Wanner Knights Invitational
Mt. Prospect IL-
In a season that's been marred and scorned by the unseasonably unfavorably bad weather, it was a joy to see track and field athletes rise to the occasion amid Mother Nature's creation and produce many delightful marks. Prospect HS was indeed the place to be if you were in Northwest Chicagoland.
For the first time in meet history, the triple jump took center stage in the field events. Three of the state's top five performers were in attendance and many general track and field fans were hovering around. Previous state leader Desmond Horton was eager to get his top state ranking back after losing it several weeks ago. Right away the senior from Lake Park leaped over 46-feet and was head and shoulders above his talented competition. James Ammenhauser (Jr., Neuqua Valley) and Abraham Ailemen (Sr., Chicago Lane) put up a good fight but could manage much past 45'10.5" and 44'5". Horton connected on a state-leading 47'2.25" on his final attempt to regain and obtain redemption with the state leadership post.
The 4x800 starts the meet off in grand fashion-
Once the 6 o'clock hour hit, it was time for the leadoff and the main event, the "MileSplit IL 4x800 relay. State leader Lane Tech hadn't put together the quartet since April 8 at the Arcadia Invitational. Right away it was lead-off legs seniors Emmett Kennedy of Lane and Tim Neumann of Downers Grove South staked to the front of the pack. Senior Sean Safford of Hersey was there too. All three were clocked under 2:00 in less than favorable conditions.
Junior William Archer of Lane immediately latched on to senior Nicholas Motuelle of Downers South. Archer made a powerful move on the backstretch of the second lap to bring his teammate junior Hunter Whitney the baton in first. For Archer, it would be sweet redemption after running a lowly 2:08 at the Distance Night in Palatine. Archer's FAT split was 1:59.77.
Naperville Central moved into second on the strength of their final two legs juniors Samuel Barnard and Luke Noren who clocked 1:58 and 1:56 respectively. However, senior Jack Klein of Lane had a big enough cushion to cruise home for the win in 7:57.67.
It was the Knights sprint machine that impressed-
Prospect has had some very good teams in its history but they have never been this good via a speed edition. Coming into the outdoor season, the Knights put up some very good numbers through the legs of juniors Dominik Balenda, Jack Berman, and Aidan Orlando. Seniors Matt Raitano and Sean Beihoffer add depth in the 200 and the relays.
The 4x100 was the first relay offering and the Knights got the stick around the track in a smooth and clean manner well ahead of a solid field. The winning time was 42.20- meet record and IL#1. Orlando anchored the quartet to victory.
Berman held off Orlando in the 100 with solid times of 10.97-10.98. The Knights were not done yet. Over an hour later, the quartet of Beihoffer, Berman, Raitano, and Orlando produced another dominating performance- the 4x200- winning in a state-best 1:28.00. Not even the opposing force the rain and wind could detail Prospect.
Balenda got into the act with a big win in the 400- taking out the competition with the second-best time in the state: 48.98. He also won the 200 in 22.62 and anchored the winning relay with a 48.5 split that netted an IL#3 3:26.00.
The best of the rest-
The "Gauntlet 1600" was another good one as Zachary Balzer (Jr., Minooka) led six runners under 4:20 with the win in 4:17.07. Balzer was coming off of a similar performance the night before at the Pete Struck Invite. Connor Oiler (Sr., Hersey) just missed the sub 4:20 cutoff at 4:20.03. Another runner was Hunter Whitney who was with the leaders on the penultimate lap but dropped out when his calf locked up.
Two good battles in the hurdles. Gabe Czako (Sr., Lockport) won the short version 14.57-14.60 in a close affair over Collin Forrest (Sr., Minooka). It was a clean race for both athletes who battled some headwinds.
One of the state's top discus throwers Maverick Ohle (So., Naperville Central) maintained his top five stature in the state with a 165'4.75" heave.