Boys Track: Lake Park dominates Upstate Eight field
Updated: March 16, 2012 10:50PM
Neuqua Valley assistant boys track coach Jamie Janota knows that over the course of a meet, his squad is primarily suited for the second half of the meet.
With Lake Park dominating the field events as usual at Friday’s Upstate Eight Conference meet at Batavia, the Wildcats were waiting in the weeds for the last few running events.
Neuqua pounced down the stretch, coming back to take the lead and then run away with the team title with 110 points, easily surpassing Lake Park’s 76. Metea Valley was third with 57 and Waubonsie Valley took fourth with 51 at the 14-team event.
“I am ecstatic right now,” Janota said. “Lake Park is still a very dominant force in the field events, but we stepped up. Our running crew showed up big time.”
It started in the 400 meters for Neuqua, the seventh event of the meet. Senior Jake Bender won the race in 50.26, breaking former Neuqua standout Zach Splan’s 2006 conference record time. Sophomore Nick Rafacz came in second. Neuqua then took second and fourth in both the 800 and 1,600 races and Bender came back to win the 200 meters in 22.97 with teammate Eric Metoyer in third.
“It was great to beat one of the guys that I’m constantly hearing about in practice,” Bender said of his 400-meter record. “To be honest, I was going for our school record of 49.5. I unfortunately didn’t get that, but a meet record in a great conference, that’s a great record.”
Neuqua’s other win came in the 3,200 relay.
Lake Park was led by a stellar effort from junior Scott Filip. He was the meet’s lone three-time winner, taking the long jump (22-9.25), the triple jump (44-9) and the 55 high hurdles (7.90). Tim Ehrhardt added a win in the pole jump (14-6) for the Lancers.
Metea’s strong effort was led by junior Joe Stewart. He teamed up with his twin brother Matt to finish first and second in the 3,200 meters, with Joe winning by a comfortable 10 seconds over his brother in 9:37.03. Joe Stewart then turned around without his brother and took third in the mile.
“Me and my brother went out and felt pretty good,” Joe Stewart said of the 3,200. “It’s nice knowing that there is somebody else running out there with you instead of just running alone, because that really takes a lot out of you. Having Matt on my shoulder makes things better.”
Waubonsie’s lone individual champion was senior Jamaal Bearden in the shot put, and he won by over a foot (54-5). But the Warriors made up points on the track in the relays. They won the 800 and 1,600 relays. Kyle Schafer, Kyle Neese, Dan Walden and Dee Gray teamed up to win the 800 relay and Schafer, Austin Ameri, Kyle Cluver and John Burke won the meet’s final event.