VIEWS: NIU prospect focusing in on football

St. Charles graduate Eric Joss earned a track scholarship to Loyola with an impressive 4x400-meter relay split at the IHSA state meet nine years ago. A Ramblers coach found him shortly after the event, and that was that.

Geneva junior Frank Boenzi remains a year away from any such flattery, although by the sounds of it he might not bite at a similar offer anyway. He hopes to be snatched up for another sport by then.

"My goal is to get a scholarship for football," Boenzi said. "We'll see what happens with track."

Standing in Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Stadium on Saturday might have eased the process, but Boenzi already had shifted into pigskin mode moments after his track season concluded. A second-straight sixth-place showing in the shot put frustrated Boenzi, who believed he "just totally bombed."

Thoughts of football on the horizon only comforted him more. Weeks before workouts for the defending IHSA Class 7A runner-up Vikings begin, Boenzi plans to attend a one-day camp for incoming seniors at Northern Illinois University on Friday. He's also weighing similar opportunities at Indiana and Colorado later this summer.

Driving distance and overexposure have factored into the defensive lineman's thinking. Geneva coach Rob Wicinski has told Boenzi not to underestimate the power of the highlight tapes he mailed recently to various schools nationwide.

NIU has shown continuing interest in Boenzi for football, but the school does not offer men's track. Boenzi already is preparing to pare down his schedule, as he plans not to wrestle his senior year.

"I'm looking to put on about 15 pounds of muscle over the summer," said the 295-pound Boenzi, "and I wouldn't want to have to take that off."

Don't quit your day job: Logan Markuson scored only a few marks when the Kaneland track contingent went bowling Friday night after the state meet preliminaries.

The junior rolled a 115 in his second – and best – of two games.

"It's like bowling and triple jump are just some of the thing my body cannot do," Markuson said.

Pole vaulting and hurdles are not part of that list, which stands to reason. On Saturday, Markuson took seventh in Class 2A in the vault before securing a state title in the 300 hurdles.

He credited the atmosphere and the field for both finishes.

"It's just the feel of the competition," Markuson said. "You run only as good as the people you're running against, and that was a huge boost."

Staying on track: Classmate Bai Kabba's comebacks stole the spotlight – and received Internet play – but Batavia senior Erich Zeddies capped a turnaround of his own in Charleston.

Some six months removed from surgery on his left knee, Zeddies ran the third leg of the Bulldogs' second-place 4x400-meter relay. He admitted that was the last thing on his mind upon tearing his ACL on Oct. 31 during the football team's playoff loss at Huntley.

"You think you'll never be able to compete again in the things you love," Zeddies said. "Something like this makes it extra special."

Zeddies began physical therapy after Thanksgiving and started a running program in late February. He plans to focus on engineering more than athletics at his next destination, Colorado State, but pledged to stay active in intramurals.

• Kevin Druley is a sports reporter for the Chronicle. Call him at 630-845-5347 or e-mail kdruley@kcchronicle.com.

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