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Sycamore's Wright jumping for joy after qualifying for state track

STERLING – Logan Wright didn’t take too much comfort in the fact that he had made the qualifying height for high jump earlier in the season.

The Sycamore junior had cleared 6 feet, 3 inches at the indoor Northern Illinois Big 12 meet in March. However, Wright hadn’t gotten back to that height since the outdoor season started.

“There were certain meets where my steps weren’t right, certain meets where i wasn’t feeling it and didn’t get anything out of my jump,” Wright said.

But Wright came through when it mattered, clearing the bar at 6-3 on his third and final attempt and qualifying for state Friday in the Class 2A Sterling Sectional.

“I just felt good. I warmed up right. I did what I knew I was supposed to, took it seriously,” Wright said. “I missed the first two, but then that third one, I was definitely ready for it, and it worked out.”

Wright finished in a three-way tie for second. He had three attempts to set a personal best at 6-4, but said he had other things on his mind at that point.

“I was kind of more excited than anything,” Wright said. “It was hard to focus.”

Wright will be joined by three teammates and the Spartans’ 4x800-meter relay team.

Kaneland won the team championship with 151 points. Sycamore finished fourth (64 points) and Genoa-Kingston was 10th (17 points).

Sycamore’s 4x800 relay team came in with a strategy balancing the Spartans’ desire to qualify for state in the relay with senior Dave Emmert’s chances in the individual 800. Nick Aase, Alex Handel and Tanner Yohe had to get the baton to the anchor Emmert in less than 6:10 or Emmert would coast in his two laps, saving himself for the individual 800.

The first three did their part and Emmert tried to time it right and finish faster than the state qualifying mark of 8:15.24. His pace was perfect, finishing in third place, but matching the exact qualifying time to the hundredth of a second.

“I had no idea (it was close),” Emmert said. “I looked up at the scoreboard coming around the final curve and I thought I’ve got enough time and then my coach started yelling at me there. It’s crazy.”

Sycamore sophomore Dion Hooker won his first sectional championship, taking first in the 100 (10.85) and 200 (21.77).

Junior Mark Stice took second in the 3,200, finishing in 9:45.38. Emmert came back to finish second in the 800 at 1:56.6.

Genoa-Kingston’s Gabe Williams was second in the 200 (22.02) behind Hooker and was the Cogs’ only state qualifier.

Kaneland’s Dylan Nauert was a double-winner, taking first in the 110 high hurdles in 15.33 and winning the 300 hurdles in 39.0. Nauert qualified in the 300 hurdles as a freshman and sophomore.

“To do a double is amazing,” Nauert said. “It’s really exciting going downstate.”

Kaneland’s 4x800 team of Conor Johnson, Kyle Carter, Luis Acosta and Nate Kucera took first in 7:55.09, more than six seconds better than their seed time. The Knights’ 4x400 relay team also was first.

Nate Dyer took first in the shot put with a mark of 51-4. The Knights’ Dylan Kuipers and Kory Harner placed first and second, respectively, in the pole vault. Kaneland’s Tanner Andrews jumped 44-9 to win the triple jump.

Nate Kucera took second place in the 400 in 49.22. The Knights’ 4x100 team was second in 43.3. Kaneland’s Marshall Farthing tied Wright for second in the high jump at the same height and qualified for state.

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