Boys Track: Hillcrest making room for more state trophiesHillcrest's Irvin Pierce came in 2nd place and Bremen's (R) Dion Starnes came in 1st after running the last leg of the 4X100 final run at the IHSA Boys Track Sectional held at Lincon-Way West on Thursday, May 17, 2012. | Larry Kane~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 22, 2012 7:19PM
Proving it’s never too late for a lineup adjustment, Hillcrest coach Ron Towner’s late-season relay modifications have the Hawks circling fresh hardware in anticipation for the Boys State Track and Field Championships.
One week before the Class 2A Lincoln-Way West Sectional, Towner and his staff moved Irvin Pierce and Moshood Adeyemo to the 400- and 800-meter relay teams.
“Pierce and Adeyemo probably would have qualified for state in their individual events, but after going over their times with them and seeing where they stood, the writing was on the wall,” Towner said. “We could do more damage as a team.”
The results, like the relays, were eye-catching.
The switch led to all four Hillcrest relay teams qualifying for state, with none finishing worse than second at the sectional. The 800 relay team of Pierce, Adeyemo, Andrew James and Dequan Doyle is seeded first in state with a time of 1 minute, 28.08 seconds. The 400 relay — barely nipped at the sectionals by conference rival Bremen (42.37) — fields the same four and finds itself seeded third (42.44).
Hillcrest’s 1,600 relay (3:23.32) is seeded fourth. Its 3,200 relay (8:40.85) is its only quartet not seeded in the top 10.
“We should be in the hunt to get a trophy,” Towner said. “We won the (South Suburban Blue) conference meet, but we didn’t win any invites this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun counting points and paying attention to all the results.”
The most decorated Southland individual heading into the state meet is Crete-Monee’s Rashad Hulbert. The reigning 300-meter hurdle champion is a 10-time state qualifier and enters O’Brien Stadium having already collected four state medals.
“(Hulbert) has worked tirelessly with the coaching staff to improve his mechanics in preparation for the state meet,” Crete-Monee coach Brian O’Donnell said. “It has been an absolute pleasure to coach him for the past four seasons.”
Hulbert, the top seed in the 110-meter hurdles (13.99) and second seed in the 300 intermediate hurdles (38.17), will continue his track career next season at LSU.
Thornton won its second straight sectional crown as four Southland teams earned titles. Thornton (105.5 points), won the Class 3A Homewood-Flosmoor Sectional. Lockport, also in 3A, won its own sectional (83 points). In 2A, Providence won the Lincoln-Way West Sectional (119 points) and St. Rita took the Robeson Sectional (148 points).