BLOOMINGTON | A long and storied rivalry returned with a flash Saturday.
Bloom vs. Homewood-Flossmoor in track.
Girls track, to be specific.
Antionette Broughton of the Vikings brought the point home by winning a speed showdown with Bloom’s Brittany Thomas in the final of the 60- meter dash in the Illinois Top Times meet at Illinois Wesleyan.
This theoretical state indoor championship suddenly became a neighborhood rivalry, and the rivalry was renewed.
Broughton hit the finish line in 7.68 seconds. Thomas, right beside her, was barely behind her, in 7.77 seconds.
If that wasn’t enough, the girls of H-F and Bloom finished 1-2 in the 800 relay, Bloom took second to H-F’s 11th in the 1,600 relay.
Broughton appeared to have doubled her pleasure by running 24.94 for a narrow victory in to 200, only to be disqualified for a lane infraction. That moved Thomas, who ran 25.61, up to second.
And Bloom also took second in the 1,600relay, well ahead of Thornwood (seventh) and H-F (11th).
If the Vikings and Blazing Trojans don’t see each other beforehand, they’ll meet in the girls Class 3A sectional at H-F on May 15, where Thornton and Thornwood will also say hello.
“I already know who my competition is,” Broughton said after winning the 60. “This gives me a good start. I just have to keep working hard so I can keep winning. I have to push myself for it.”
“It’s competition, and competition is good,” Ivory Cassell, who anchored Bloom’s 800-meter relay squad, said of meeting H-F. “We’ll see them in sectionals.”
Cassell’s too young to remember how H-F and Bloom, often complemented by Thornton and Thornwood, would go at each other incessantly in the SICA East all season, and then again in the AA sectional. But she and the other Trojans and Vikings had a taste of it.
In boys 3A, Ti’Fonte Hunt led Thornton to a victory in the 60 hurdles, then led off the Wildcats’ 800 relay win. That would have some coaches doing cartwheels, but Vince McAuliffe was circumspect.
“We’re good where we’re good,” he said.
“We’ve still got it,” said Jauan Wesley, who ran third in the 60 dash and was a part of the relay title. “We want to repeat (the state 3A victory in the 400 relay) and go for a record. And we want to compete for a state championship.”
Illiana Christian emerged with a sixth-place finish in the boys 3,200 relay in Class 2A in unusual fashion. Officials miscounted the laps during the third leg of the race and ordered the exchange with the anchor-leg runners for Cahokia and Illiana, which were running 1-2, a lap early. Each squad was given the option to rerun the race.
Cahokia declined and was disqualified, but Illiana accepted, their quartet running alone at the end of the 2A section.
Nick Wondaal, Austin Gibson, Nick Fiene and Kevin Vroegh ran, but without others on the track, it was difficult to muster a pressing pace. But sixth was better than nothing, given the circumstances.
“The guys wanted to see if they could get some hardware; otherwise you make the trip for nothing,” Vikings boys coach Jeff White said.
“I’m surprised some of the other teams than finished ninth, 10th, 11th, and didn’t have a medal, didn’t run again.”
Tony Wondaal, who ran the original first leg, was stunned at the confusion.
“Our anchor leg had an official yelling at him, get up on the line, get ready to go,” he said. “Our No. 3 guy (Fiene) had a feeling it was wrong, but he handed off because Cahokia handed off. If they don’t have officials counting laps ...”
Vroegh ran the anchor about 90 minutes after taking third in the 800 after dueling with Burlington Central’s Matt O’Connor most of the way.
Fiene took fifth in the 1,600, while Illiana’s Alvy Butleer ran to eighth in the 60 (7.21 seconds), the first Vikings sprinter in years that fast.
Thornridge’s Nick Fizer fell in the 2A 60 hurdle semifinals, and finished ninth in the 200.