The outdoor track season kicked into high gear for Naperville North last weekend, with both the boys and girls track teams leaving a mark at major events.
The boys team traveled to the Red Grange Invitational at Wheaton Warrenville South High School on Friday night, finishing fourth in the 12-team field. On Saturday, the girls visited Glenbard West for the Sue Pariseau Invitational and finished third in the 15-team field.
Boys events were divided into A, B and C categories — with A being the top level of competition. In the A events, Naperville North finished second with 62 points, behind only Evanston High School, which topped the field with 68. The Huskies scored 19.25 points in B-level events and 43 in C-level events, giving them a total meet score of 124.25. Evanston won the meet with 196 points, followed by Wheaton Warrenville South (190) and Prospect (177).
The meet's top performance came from Wheaton Warrenville South's Nolan McKenna, who broke the meet record for the 3,200 meters with a 9:20.23. Naperville North's John Klaiber (9:51.03) spent much of the race by himself in second place, but ended up third behind Glenbard West's Jack Billings, who caught him in a late surge.
"I was kind of in no-man's land most of the race," Klaiber said. "Nolan is so far out there, it makes it a different kind of race … but I'm pretty happy with how it went."
North's top performance came from senior high jumper Tim Heinz, who cleared 6 feet, 5 inches to win the high jump. Twice, he barely scraped the bar on 6 feet, 7 inches, but both times it fell. South Elgin's Kyle Kumerow also cleared 6 feet, 5 inches, but had misses earlier that gave Heinz the tie-breaking victory.
North's 4x400 meter relay finished second, with seniors Diondre Lang and DeSean Brown joining juniors Colin Herbstritt and Davin Collier to finish in 43.65, less that two-tenths of a second behind first-place Evanston. They also took second in the 4x200 meter relay, with senior DaTrell Poindexter joining Brown, Herbstritt and Collier to run 1:31.60.
Junior Harrison Beard took third place in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.51 seconds and second in the 300-meter hurdles in 41.13 seconds. Huskies senior Adam Milsap finished fourth in the 400 meters in 51.47, just a hundredth of a second out of third place, while junior Kerry Gshwedntner finished second in the 1,600 meters with a 4:21.19.
In the field events, in addition to Heinz's first-place finish in the high jump, junior Mark Egan finished fifth in the pole vault at 11 feet, 9 inches, and junior Matt Frey finished sixth in the shot put with a throw of 44 feet, 0.5 inches.
The girls team was led by its strong distance runners. In the 3,200 meters, junior Elly DeTurris finished second (11:04.60) and senior Maria McDaniel finished third (11:11.20). Meanwhile, in the 1,600 meters, Claire Hamilton finished third (5:20.10) and Emory Griffin finished fourth (5:24.00).
In the 800 meters, Jenny Gibson finished fourth (2:24.95), while seniors Emily Painter (16.99) and Marissa Morrison (17.62) finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles.
"I really think our distance events and field events are really coming together nicely in addition to our hurdlers," said head coach Joanna Wilson. "Painter and Morrison, both seniors, have been working really hard this year and it shows. Morganne Freeman continues to do really well in shot put and discus. Elly DeTurris and Maria McDaniel had really strong performances in the 3,200 and the 4x400 relay. Jenny Gibson and Elise Moore had nice races in the 800 run as well as Emory Griffin, Claire Hamilton and Judy Pendergast in the 1,600.
"I think all around, we are getting stronger and smarter, and we will hopefully continue to get better as the season goes on," she said.
In field events, Freeman finished second in the shot put with a throw of 38 feet. She finished fourth in the discus by throwing 108 feet, 5.5 inches. Senior Stephanie Mueller finished tied for second in the pole vault by clearing 10 feet, 6 inches, while sophomore Hannah McDaniel finished fifth in the long jump at 15 feet, 10.75 inches.
"I think we are becoming a well-rounded team," Wilson said. "We are scoring in as many events as possible and showing that it truly is a team effort. ... I am proud of these girls each day for their attitudes and efforts."