CHICAGO HEIGHTS | It came down to the little things for Crete-Monee en route to capturing the Southland Conference boys track title on Wednesday night.
Sophomore LaVall McNulty won discus with a throw of 141 feet, 11 inches, his career best by 20 feet.
The Warriors grabbed first and third place in each hurdle race.
Senior Quinten Nash won the 200 meters barely a half-hour after being nipped at the wire by Bloom Township's James Harriel in the 400.
"Any team victory tonight was kind of unexpected," Warriors coach Brian O'Donnell said. "On paper, we were supposed to lose by 50 points. But some of our guys stepped upy. I wasn't expecting to win conference."
Crete-Monee beat Bloom 170-160, in a two-team runaway. Rich East (78) was a distant third. Last year, Bloom beat Crete-Monee by 67 points. O'Donnell didn't need to be reminded.
"We needed to make sure we got our strong races, which is usually the 110 (hurdles), the 400, 200, relays and the jumps," Nash said.
The Warriors were 3-4 behind Bloom's 1-2 finish in the 110 hurdles, but went 2-3 in the 400, 1-3 in the 200 and outpointed Bloom in the long jump, shot put and discus. That added up. Nash's second in the 400 and victory in the 200 was particularly impressive, given the little time for recovery between the two races.
"He is a very reliable runner," O'Donnell said. "He is going to be greatly missed next year."
"I had to really just go out there and give my all," Nash added. "If I want to do it at state, it's going to be this much (more) competitive."
And he would like to do so, but first, Nash and his cohorts have to qualify for the Class 3A meet. That opportunity presents itself next Thursday in the loaded sectional at Homewood-Flossmoor, where the Warriors and Blazing Trojans will be joined by H-F, Thornton, Thornwood and three of the four Lincoln-Ways.
"Mentally, I think this meet was good for that," Nash said. "I know it's going to be difficult, but I think I can do it."
Harriel edging Nash at the wire of the 400 after losing the 100 to Rich Central's Franklin Hunt by an eyelash and Jonah Wiley's seconds in both hurdle races were the highlights for Bloom.
"Every 400, he's always right there," Harriel said of Nash. "My kick finally came in, and I got him. It makes me feel good, because he pushes me. If I don't have a push, I probably won't run a PR. It's good to have the competition."