Boys track: Thornton dominates at West AuroraOswego sprinter, Devon Bice earned points for the Panthers in the 100 meter dash at the John Bell Invitational on Saturday, Apr. 14, 2012. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 14, 2012 6:39PM
Not this time.
A talented Thornton team won four individual events and both sprint relays on the way to claiming the team title at the 12th annual John Bell Invitational Saturday with 118 points. Downers Grove North (79), Lyons (62), Naperville Central (54) and host West Aurora (49) rounded out the top five in the 14-team meet.
West Aurora had won it four straight times but was hamstrung by a series of minor injuries that helped deplete the Blackhawks’ effort in the sprints and jumps.
“We lost Mike Graham (who pulled up and finished 6th) in the 200 finals (hamstring), Parrish McGhee (hamstring) warmed up but couldn’t go and Johnny Gosong (hamstring) was out, too,” West coach Cortney Lamb said.
Also missing was triple jumper Aaron Kennebrew, who likely would have placed in the triple jump but was taking the ACT.
A couple other jumpers missing practice and being held out didn’t help, either.
“We’re gonna work on it and try to get our legs back under us this week,” Lamb said. “We’ve gotta find out what our goals are as a team.”
Thornton’s Jonathon Anderson won the 110 high hurdles in 15.10 and the 300 hurdles in 40.04, Jonvan Prom won the triple jump (42-5½) and Jeff Myles took the shot (49-2). The Falcons’ 400 relay of Jalen Banks, Maurice Buchanan, Ti’fonte Hunt and Demitri Smith won in 42.76. The same group switched the order with Hunt anchoring in the 800 and posted a winning time of 1:29.50.
The Blackhawks were paced by senior thrower Lijah Spears, who won the discus (148-10) and took fourth in the shot put (47-9), and their middle distance and distance runners. Vontrel Hawkins and Calvin Robinson went 2-5 in the 800, Josh Robinson and Robert Herrera went 4-5 in the 1,600 and Omar Gomez took fifth in the 3,200.
“Lijah and the distance guys were awesome,” Lamb said. “They showed up, which was encouraging. Now the rest of us have to decide what we want to do.”
Hawkins was seeded sixth in the 800 but stepped up.
“We haven’t really got the chance to run many open 800s,” said Hawkins, who has run the distance in several 3,200 relays. “It was a fast heat. I was confident Cal and I could be in the top group.”
Oswego, the only other school from The Beacon-News coverage area, tied Plainfield South for sixth in the meet with 32 points. Coach Jeff Edwards’ Panthers were paced by their distance crew and got three runner-up finishes.
Alain Dixon took second in the long jump (21-2.75), junior Caleb Beck was second in the 1600 (4:26.89) and senior Zack Kingsbury was second in the 3200 (9:29.11). Oswego also got a third from Jared Konrardy in the 3,200.
Oswego, too, was dealing with injuries with two of its better sprinters in Julian Mendez (knee) and Nick Thompson (quad) held out.