Boys Track: New Trier heads 8-team list of 4x800 qualifiers
New Trier's Leland Later beats Niles North's Aron Sebhat to the finish in the 4x800 meter relay at the IHSA 3A Boys Track Championships at Loyola on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Wilmette. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 25, 2012 5:42PM
Word about the 4x800-meter relay at the Loyola sectional spread almost as fast as the field ran Thursday.
In the first event of the day, all eight entries in the final heat qualified for the state meet, led by New Trier’s 7:44.30, which established both a track and a program record.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said New Trier distance coach Dave Wisner, whose foursome shaved nearly six seconds off the team’s old mark. “It was magical.”
Eric Underwood’s career-best split of 1:56.6 started the Trevians on the track to victory. The senior was followed by Peter Cotsirilos, Patrick O’Reilly and standout Leland Later, who ran the final two laps in 1:51.8.
“The pace was so quick, I had to rethink my plan,” Underwood said. “It got real tight after the first lap. I then made my move with about 300 meters to go. Coach Wisner always has a great plan, and I trust him so much. I trust my training to be there when the time is right.”
Niles North pushed the Trevians all the way, including Aron Sebhat on the anchor leg, to take second in 7:44.54.
Niles West (7:47.90), Prospect (7:49.50), Maine West (7:51.68), Maine South (7:54.96), Evanston (7:57.27) and Loyola (7:57.65) all made the state cut of 8:00.04.
“That says a lot about the CSL,” Maine South distance coach Greg Nordahl said. “Sometimes, this conference goes unnoticed because it doesn’t have the same tradition and history as others, but I think people will notice now.”
Xavier Levy was part of four firsts as Evanston won the team title with 79 points. The senior captured the 100 (11.03) and the 200 (22.29) and anchored both the 4x100 (42.65) and the 4x200 (1:28.52) relays.
Glenbrook South’s Ose Ilenikhena shined in the field events. The junior won both won the long jump (22-feet-8) and the high jump (6-1). The Titans, who tied the Wildkits with four wins, took second with 61 points.
Prospect finished third with 62.5 points behind wins from Quentin Shaffer in the 3,200 (9:17.78) and Dave Kendziera in the 110 high hurdles (14.58).
In a mild upset, Loyola’s Todd Ford outran Later to win the 1,600 in 4:14.89. Wisner said Later, still a favorite to the win the state title, was gassed from running his speedy anchor leg in the 4x800 relay.
“It was a little slower than I expected,” said Ford, who will run at Williams. “When I decided to take the lead, I pushed as fast as I could. I just went with my gut.
“This gives me a bunch of confidence going into next week. I know now I can run with the top guys, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Von Steuben’s Michael Gulan earned a win in the 400 (50.16).