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Boys track and field: Wideman into finals in discus; Sycamore 4x800 Kaneland's Hannula, Wilk also through

Kaneland’s Hannula makes cut in Class 3A shot put, discus; Wilk continues Knights’ pole vault success by making finals

CHARLESTON – Sycamore senior Trey Wideman already has viewed one state championship performance in the discus.

Last season, Wideman sat in the stands viewing then-teammate Connor Weckerly win the Class 2A discus with a top toss of 176 feet, 10 inches.

On Friday, Wideman had the misfortune of competing in the only 2A discus flight in which all six competitors qualified for Saturday’s finals. 

In particular, Mt. Zion senior Harley Russell put on a stunning performance. Russell, a senior, threw all three of his tosses right before Wideman entered the ring. Russell managed to impress the large crowd with tosses of 182 and 184-10 before ending with a preliminary best 186-11.

But even after that showing, Wideman still ended up with a toss of 165-10 to qualify for Saturday's final. Kaneland's Clayton Hannula and Grant Wilk and the 4x800 relay team of Sycamore also made the finals.

“(Harley) kept tossing PR after PR,” Wideman said. “It’s kind of hard to chase that. I’ve never seen that in a meet before. The first one, I thought, ‘That’s around his PR.’ Then he added two more feet on second one. Then the next one, he added more feet. It was crazy. He kept getting better.”

After missing the cut to finals in the discus last season, Wideman, a Western Illinois recruit, said he worked on his mechanics and even consulted with Weckerly a few times throughout the season. Wideman said his personal best toss is a 173-0 at the Gib Seegers’ Track and Field Classic.

“Connor said to just come to state with a clear mind and anything can happen,” he said. “My goal is to progress on my throws and hit in the 170s and possibly PR. I kind of choked at state (last year). I know I have a lot more left in the tank. I had footing issues today, but that got me through to finals.”

The Spartans’ 4x800 relay team of Riley Melton, Jake Carani, Lucas McKayand Jacob Jovanovich punched a ticket into the finals with a time of 8:10.82.

Sycamore senior Sam Hancock won’t forget his first state appearance running on the blue track at Eastern Illinois University’s blue track. Earlier on Friday, Hancock failed to advance to the finals after running a time of 15.15 seconds in the 110-meter high hurdles. Just over an hour later, Hancock tumbled to the track on the turn, but managed to get up to run a time of 46.97 in the 300 hurdles.

His left shoulder sporting a big cut mixed with blue paint and small pieces of the blue track on his lips, said he wasn't sure what happened.

“I don’t know what it was, but I hit it with my lead leg,” he said. “That (the turn) is where I usually start to speed up, but it just got into my head. I didn’t go all out at the end because I was mad. I didn’t want to walk off the track on my last race.”

Hannula, a three-time state qualifier, is aiming to top last season’s third-place finishes in the Class 2A shot put and discus. Hannula, a North Dakota State recruit, advanced to the finals in the Class 3A shot put (57-8.5) and the discus (161-1).

“I wanted to do better in the discus, but my main goal was to get in the finals,” Hannula said. “I’m ready to compete hard. I’m happy to advance in two (events). I just have to do little better on Saturday. I have to go hit it and put it all out.”

Wilk continued Kaneland’s tradition of success at the state meet in the pole vault, clearing the qualifying height of 13-feet.

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