Coaches often look for a key win leading into the postseason, and it certainly helps when they can get that win in the same meet each year.
The Genoa-Kingston boys won the Rocket Relays at Richmond-Burton for the fourth straight time last week with victories in the discus, long jump and the 800-meter run. It was a win that coach Brent Bacon thinks really helped his team mentally.
“It was a solid team win all the way from the frosh-soph level to the varsity,” he said. “When you get a win like this, it kind of bumps up the team morale.”
That was the most important part of the win. G-K has one more major meet (its home invite) before conference championships, and a confidence-builder like this was vital.
“Judging by what I gathered on the bus ride back, this kind of put our heads back on track,” Bacon said. “We look forward to this meet because it’s kind of our stepping stone to prep us for conference, sectionals and our G-K Invite.”
H-BR’s Clark toughs it out: In her senior season, her last shot, Kristen Clark isn’t letting injuries get the best of her.
Despite not being as healthy as she could’ve, the Hinckley-Big Rock senior won the 400 at Seneca last week in 64.84 second and bested it by about two seconds Wednesday night at Plano. She’s not slowing down as the postseason approaches.
“It seems like nagging injuries have kind of gotten her a little more than they have in the past,” H-BR coach Greg Burks said. “We’ve been running her and trying to get her healthy for [the postseason].”
Clark qualified for the Class 1A state meet in the 800 a year ago, but proved to be very competitive in the 400 as well. Burks isn’t sure whether he’ll have her run the 400, the 800 or both in the coming weeks. He said the challenge is that the two events are placed close together, but he’s confident she’ll have success in whatever route they go.
“She can challenge the qualifying times in both of those events,” Burks said. “She’s running well and has a lot of desire and has been a really enjoyable person to work with for the last four years.”
VIEWS: Sycamore preps for the postseason
Winning a home meet is always fun. Taking down an arch rival makes it even sweeter.
That’s just what Sycamore’s boys team did at the Gib Seegers Invitational last Friday. The Spartans beat out DeKalb, a team which has had their number so far this year. In a sport so predicated on individual scores and times, it was a priceless team victory.
“We hosted, and it’s our big meet, so it’s always nice to get a win at home,” Sycamore coach Pete Piccony said. “If nothing else, it’s a good springboard for the remainder of the season. We’re a week away from conference. We are looking again to put the best teams and the best times that we have out there.”
To do that, the Spartans have been switching things up pretty regularly, and it’s starting to pay dividends. This was particularly noticeable in the 4x800-meter relay, in which a sophomore, Eric Aurand, was “running with the big boys,” as Piccony put it.
The result of that race was a Sycamore win, which showed the benefits of Piccony being flexible with his lineups.
“He ran the best time, so he belongs with those guys,” Piccony said of Aurand. “Just the fact that he’s a sophomore doesn’t make it that surprising, because his time was good enough.”
Going forward, there’s a good chance those adjustments are going to continue as the Spartans approach the conference and sectional meets. Things will have to change if they want to have a chance of taking down Kaneland, which has dominated both DeKalb and Sycamore this year.
But Piccony likes his chances. He has several relay teams that he thinks are capable of making it downstate, a sprinter in Dion Hooker who has been winning races all year, and youngsters like Aurand who are ready to step up when needed.
“This is the time of the year that we’re starting to piece everything together,” Piccony said. “We’re going to play with the lineup. That’s just what we do. We’re going to play with it and see if we can’t get the best combination.”
• Luke Srodulski is a contributor to the Daily Chronicle. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spotlight on ...
Chantel Kyler, junior, Indian Creek
Kyler was the lone first-place finisher for the Timberwolves on Friday at Forreston when she won the high jump.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
DeKalb Invite, 4 p.m. Friday
The Barbs host a tuneup for the Northern Illinois Big 12 Meet, which takes place Friday, May 16.
DeKalb, Kaneland, Sycamore at Northern Illinois Big 12 Meet in Dixon, 3 p.m., Friday
It's already that time of year again. The teams will compete for the conference title before the postseason begins next week.
Girls: Genoa-Kingston at Big Northern Conference Meet at Rock Falls
Boys: DeKalb Invite, 4 p.m.; Sycamore at Hononegah, 4 p.m.; Kaneland at Kane County Meet at Streamwood, 4 p.m.
Girls: DeKalb, Kaneland, Sycamore at Northern Illinois Big 12 Meet in Dixon, 3 p.m.
Boys-Girls: G-K Invite, 11 a.m.
Boys: Kaneland at Rochelle, 4:15 p.m.
Girls: Genoa-Kingston, Kaneland at Oregon, 4 p.m.