2024 3A Boys State Recap: Event By Event

Malik Allen of Edwardsville is all smiles after helping his team win a piece of the team trophy (Laura Duffy photo)

Edwardsville and Oak Park have fine track and field programs, so it was fitting that they tied with 49 points. Edwardsville won the coin toss and took the trophy home. OPRF grabbed the team medals haul. But both teams will receive medals and a trophy in the mail. Grayslake Central got the third-place trophy via 46 points.



4x800: How would the "crown jewel" respond to what happened in Class 2A? The middle-class division produced a class record and, for the time being, the first and second fastest times of the day. Downers Grove North immediately established themselves with their two opening legs that ran 3:50. The Trojans would put the exclamation on anchor with senior Ryan Eddington's 1:52.00 carry. The final result was a state-leading and US#3 7:38.76.

Plainfield South fought valiantly, and on the strength of senior Camyn Viger's anchor, the Cougars ran 7:41.42. Plainfield North came in third in 7:41.85.

The top nine finishers ran under 7:50, which hasn't happened in quite some time. The final entry came in 12th with a respectable time of 7:56.02. Overall, there were eight top 100 national marks.

4x100: As usually happens, the final is not as swift as the prelims. Eight teams were under 42.00, including the state-best 41.35. Edwardsville duplicated the feat, winning the final in 41.65, followed by upstart Dundee-Crown in 41.72. Chicago Kenwood was the only other team under the watershed mark at 41.80.

3200: Sophomore Alex Krieg of Palatine threw down the gauntlet out of section two of three with a huge PB 9:07.56. It was one of the fastest times in the history of the state meet, not of the final section. It also meant that the "championship section" had to compete, not just run.

About a dozen runners paced ahead of Krieg's mark, hitting the first half under 4:35 compared to his 4:37. It was also warmer than his section, which could impact the outcome. Joe Bregenzer (Jr., Barrington), who controlled the pace most of the race, continued to put the pressure on late, separating himself from Ben Crane (Jr., New Trier) and Dylan Maloney (Jr., Plainfield South). The most unlikely state champion goes to Bregenzer in a big-time PB 8:58.10. Crane crafted out a 9:00.40, ahead of Maloney's PB 9:03.21.

110HH: Hurdles are one of the most difficult races on the track and can be just as unpredictable. A previous unknown, Noah Heiber (Sr., Rolling Meadows), emerged on the scene late in the season. His confidence soared after running great in the prelims. He hit several hurdles but was able to hold off the favorite Quinton Peterson (Sr., Lemont) in a photo finish of 14.10 (+1.2). Peterson ran 14.11.

100: Caleb Schulz (Jr., Oak Park-River Forest) knew his time was now. He knew he had to step up for his team if they wanted to win a team state title. Schulz pulled ahead of the deep field at the halfway point and clocked 10.58 (+2.1). Eight of the nine finishers were under 11.00. If not for an injured star, Jayon Morrow (Sr., Kankakee), it would have been a perfect score.

800: This was a new event for Aden Bandukwala (senior, Hinsdale Central), but the same sensational outcome. Almost identical to what happened in the 2023 800m final, Bandukwala looked sluggish through the race's first half. He sat in 10th of 12 finalists on the bell lap. He was in a position to move up, but could he run down someone of his equal talent, Trey Sato (senior, Grayslake Central)? 

Bandukwala was in full flight mode on the final homestretch, and with less than 50 meters remaining, he slid past Sato for the win in 1:51.11. Sato finished with 1:51.68.

4x200: Edwardsville had the best time coming out of the prelims with a 1:26.34. But Chicago Kenwood would return the favor, run down the Tigers, and win at 1:26.83 (school record). Five other teams broke 1:28.00.

400: Not having a healthy Jayon Morrow stunted a potentially great outcome that might have been under 47 seconds. However, there is a silver lining. Four finalists are returning, including the upstart Troy McLean (Jr., Belleville West), who won his first state title in 47.94. Fifth-place finisher "DJ" Dontrell Young is a freshman at Oswego HS. He is someone to keep an eye on in future years.

300H: Perseverance and patience are underrated and undervalued in this day and age. The talented Amari Williams (Jr., Wheaton-Warrenville South) learned precisely what that meant after hitting a hurdle in last year's final and finishing dead last. That bad feeling ate at him for 364 days, and he made the most of the opportunity and glided over each hurdle with precision. This outcome was met with a smile and a gold medal around his neck after clocking a state-leading 37.49.

1600: It was a most unlikely but pleasant winner because this event will be dynamite for years to come. Philip Cupial (So., Downers Grove North) was part of the championship 4x800 relay quartet, but he was not done. He sat fifth on the bell lap in 3:15.3, moved strong on the bell lap, and passed a tiring Trey Sato for the win in 4:13.57.

200: The state team title would be greatly impacted here. Omar Mims (Jr., O'Fallon) won in 21.46. Clayton Lakatos (Jr., Edwardsville) and Zach Lane (Jr., Edwardsville) finished third and fifth (21.52 and 21.63), which put them in a tie for first with Oak Park-River Forest. Caleb Schulz's sixth-place finish (21.67) enabled the ultimate reality for him and his team.

4x400: So many emotions would go into the "showstopper." Many of the competitors competed in various events during the day, not to mention having to stay late and qualify past 10 p.m. for the final. Grayslake Central needed to win the race for an opportunity to win a state title. Belleville West held off the Rams 3:17.24-3:18.05.

Pole Vault: "I think I am the first to win three titles- two in different classes," Paul Migas (Sr., Lake Villa Lakes) would reflect after posting a merge best 17'0.75." The swaggy Migas is now on his way to the University of Tennessee, where he will succeed tremendously.

High Jump: The co-state leaders Kewon Marshall (Jr., West Aurora) and Voldy Makabu (Jr., Champaign Centennial) had 6'10.75" PBs. Marshall would defeat the defending champion on less misses at 6'8.25."

Long Jump: The state's most consistent long jumper, Dedrick Richardson Jr (Sr., Lincoln-Way East), could not remove Kwabena Osei-Yeboah (Jr., OPRF) from the scene. Richardson's best jump was his first (23'4.50"). KOY got his 23'7.25" on his third attempt and added an insurance leap on his fifth attempt that would have been golden.

Shot Put: Kaden Garland (Sr., OPRF) wanted to be known as the best thrower in the state. On his first attempt, he did that with a US#13 65'9.50". It was good enough Garland had three fouls in six attempts.

Triple Jump: He got his 50-foot clearance, and it was legal. Malik Allen (Sr., Edwardsville) hit 50'6" (+1.6) on his sixth and final attempt.

Discus Throw: Reece Ihenacho (Sr., Cary-Grove) had been hovering around the 188-190 foot mark for most of the season. His last four throws were over 190 feet, including the #2 all-time 205'5", the country's third-best mark.