Boys Track: Lake Park claims third straight championship; Dunbar wins three titlesDunbar's Darvell Harris takes the baton from teammate Dion Williams in the 4x100 meter. Dunbar placed first in the event. Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 26, 2012 8:22PM
CHARLESTON, Ill. — The talk heading into Saturday’s boys track state finals centered on whether the weather would be historic.
It was plenty hot, with temperatures in mid-90s at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium. But what had people reaching for the record books were the performances turned in by Lake Park and the Public League.
Lake Park became the first big school to win three consecutive titles since Thornwood’s four-peat from 2001-04, beating Edwardsville 48-42. Oak Park-River Forest (41) also won a trophy. The Lancers prevailed without the three stars who scored almost all their points the past two seasons.
Public League runners won four titles in Class 3A (and another on Class 2A). Star sprinter Darvell Harris anchored Dunbar to victories in the 400- and 800-meter relays and then put an exclamation point on his day by taking first in the 200. Those were the first three titles since 1968 for the Mighty Men, who came into the meet with just one medal since 1985.
The other title came in the day’s first running event in Class 3A as Lane became the first CPS school to win the 3,200 relay. It was the Indians’ first relay title since 1974.
Harris actually had regrets about his day, which he ended by running 21.44 seconds in the 200. Earlier, he teamed with Claudis Dawson, his brother Travon and Dion Williams to run 41.92 in the 400 relay and 1:26.01 in the 800 relay.
“I’ve been trying to get 20.8 and [20.9] all year and I just fell short,:” Harris said. “My shins hurt. It kind of slowed me down but I can’t use that as an excuse.”
While Dunbar’s sprint relays have been putting up fast times all season, Lane almost pulled the plug three weeks ago on its attempt to get to the 3A final in the 3,200 relay — let alone win it.
“So much went on,” said anchor David Timlin, who teamed with Marcelo Burbano, Kevin Perez and Lucas Beltran to run 7:42.42 and avenge three earlier losses to runner-up Niles North. Timlin himself came back from a fractured foot that cost him most of the indoor season. “We ran a relay and no one ran a time that would have won state necessarily. That’s why we do it. It showcases we’re strong together,” he said.
Lake Park followed the same strategy after relying on multi-talented Zach Ziemek and throwers Jermaine and Jeremy Kline the past two seasons. The Lancers didn’t win a title, but they got points from all 11 of their entries in the finals.
Scott Filip led the way, placing in all three jumps and as a member of the 400 relay team.
“When we lost Zach and the Klines, that just fueled the fire,” Filip said. “Everyone was doubting us, saying, ‘They lost the Big 3.’ But we knew we had the tools and resources to get it done again.”
Oak Park had wins from its two senior stars. Carl Heinz defended his high jump title by clearing 7 feet, 1 inch, tying his own national season best. Malachy Schrobilgen won the 3,200 (9:03.42) and came back to take third in the 1,600.
Cary-Grove’s Josh Freeman swept the throws, going 66-0 in the shot put and 181-3 in the discus.
Defending 300 hurdles champ Rashad Hulbert of Crete-Monee won another title (36.901) after taking second by one one-hundredth of a second (14.013) in the 110 hurdles.