The IHSA Track & Field Sectionals are always full of uncertainty, with the biggest question on almost everybody’s mind is who will qualify for the State Championships. The 2017 Lake Forest Scouts came into Sectionals without a clear answer to that question, having nobody on the team who had yet to reach a State-auto standard in any event during the regular season. But given the recent success in dropping times the Scout teams of the past had achieved, this year’s crop of athletes went into Sectionals uncertain but hopeful.
For three of the past four years, Lake Forest has qualified for State in the 4x100m Relay. This year’s foursome of Liam Pooler, Brian Sullivan, Tyler Trachsel and Landon Edwards knew they had a tall task ahead of them to carry on the tradition. Coming into the meet, their best time was 43.35, and they would need to improve to 42.66 or better to qualify. Pooler ran his usual stellar lead-off leg and had the Scouts in great position early. Sullivan caught a perfect pass and set out blazing down the backstretch, passing both teams outside him in lane 7 and 8. The hand-off to Trachsel was another great one, and the sophomore burned the corner to get Edwards the baton in second place coming into the final hand-off. Edwards ran a great leg, but was passed by All-State sprinter Brad Garron of Evanston before crossing the finish line in third place.
Because they did not finish in the top two, the Scouts had to wait and see if they ran below the State auto standard of 42.66. Ten agonizing minutes passed while the timing system operator sorted out the races. Finally the results were posted, with the Scouts running a time of 42.65 seconds, just 0.01 second below the standard. The seniors, Pooler and Sullivan, took off sprinting down the turf in celebration upon hearing the news. Edwards, who minutes earlier had narrowly missed making State in the High Jump for the second year in a row, now finally had his State berth. Trachsel became the first LFHS sophomore to qualify for State since Mark Myers and Gavin Hoch did so in 2014.
About an hour later, the same foursome gave it another shot in the 4x200m Relay. This time their task appeared even harder: lowering their best time of 1:31.03 down to the State auto standard of 1:29.30. Again running in lane six against stiff competition, Pooler got out well and ran his best race of the season. The hand-off to Sullivan was again perfect, and Sullivan also ran his best race of the season before handing off to Trachsel for the third leg. The two teams inside the Scouts (Wheeling and Deerfield) had made up the stagger on them, giving Trachsel the opportunity to key off their runners. He kept up well, and despite cramping up a bit with about 30 meters remaining in his race gave the baton to Edwards on anchor leg in a great position to qualify for State. The Scouts were in fourth place, which meant they were racing against the clock. Edwards used his long strides to power home and crossed the finish line in 1:29.17, just 0.13 below the standard. Now the foursome had two events to look forward to next weekend on Eastern Illinois’ big blue oval.
The only other event where the Scouts scored in the 16-team meet was the Long Jump, where Pooler set a personal best with a leap of 20’9.5″ for fourth place. His first two jumps were huge, but on both attempts his foot scraped the sand during his hitch phase, costing him about 5-7 feet.
Several other events came very close to scoring. Edwards cleared 6’1″ in the High Jump to finish seventh. The 4x800m Relay of juniors Eric Krieg, Jack Galvin, Kyle Levin and freshman Ben Rosa fought to an amazing seventh-place finish, nearly winning their heat in the process. Galvin (2:09), Levin (2:07) and Rosa (2:03) all ran personal best splits to help the team to a finish of 8:27.01, the best 4x800m Relay time at Lake Forest since 2012. Senior Etienne Najman set his personal best in the open 800m Run at 2:02.03 for a seventh-place finish.
Lots of underclassmen ran personal bests to finish in the top 11. Rosa ran a personal best of 4:37.18 to get 11th in the 1600m Run. Fellow freshman Nathan Schmitt ran a personal best of 9:53.30 to win his heat of the 3200m Run and place ninth overall. Continuing the freshman success was Lucas Redding, whose best of 43.86 earned him 11th place in the 300m Hurdles. In the High Jump, sophomore Ryan Ransom leaped 5’9″ to place tenth. The foursome of Trachsel, sophomore Jonathan Phalen, Redding and sophomore Grant Stickler attempted to lower their Frosh/Soph school record in the 4x400m Relay, but a sudden drop in temperatures and increase in wind made a record run almost impossible. Still, the foursome ran 3:40.10 to finish ninth. Sophomore Bennet Flynn, who came into the meet with a Pole Vault best of 10’7″, blasted over 12’1″ to finish 11th and set the Frosh/Soph school record.
Scout seniors closed out their careers in great fashion as well. Casey Mogilevsky destroyed his heat of the 100m Dash in a huge personal best of 11.67 seconds, good for 13th overall. He came back to run a near-PR of 44.27 for 14th place in the 300m Hurdles. Alan Zanarini was a half-foot below his best ever Long Jump with a leap of 19’1.75″ to finish 11th. Colin Knipe recorded an all-time best of 54.99 in the 400m Dash to place 18th, while Tyler Kimbrel ran 55.50 in 22nd. Will Jacob ran a near-PR of 19.14 in the 110m Hurdles to finish 25th. Najman finished a storied four-year career with a time of 4:38.31 in the 1600m Run to finish 13th. He was the only Scout senior to compete at Sectionals all four years. Eric Fu tried to give it a go in the Triple Jump, but a sprained ankle suffered two weeks prior preventing him from competing. Spencer Oakley, who had a career day at last year’s Sectional meet, unfortunately had an off day this year and was unable to clear his opening height. The coaching staff and athletic department would like to recognize the work those seniors put into their athletic careers at Lake Forest High School.
Leading the Scouts in the Shot Put was junior Clayton Wilbur with a toss of 34’3″. His fellow junior Adrian Dinter recorded the best Discus Throw with a mark of 97’10”.
Pooler, Sullivan, Trachsel and Edwards will compete next weekend at the IHSA AAA State Championships, hosted by Eastern Illinois University in Charleson, IL. Their prelims of the 4x100m Relay and 4x200m Relay will be on Friday, May 26th, with the finals scheduled for the following day.