TINLEY PARK | Crete-Monee is built around its sprinters and from top to bottom it didn’t disappoint Friday as the Warriors ran away from the competition to claim the title at the Tinley Park Titan Relays.
The Warriors had 94 points. The closest competitor was Tinley Park with 61 points.
With no individual track events, Warriors coach Brian O’Donnell used the opportunity to get all his runners on the track and it paid off, as the Warriors dominated from the early going.
“We have a really good group of sprinters that don’t always get on the track in a traditional style meet,” O’Donnell said. “The relay format allowed us to give some of the guys that aren’t in that 'A' group of sprinters an opportunity and they looked good.”
While the format may have allowed O’Donnell to take a look at his team’s depth the story was the 1,600-meter relay team that lead from wire to wire and crossed the finish line 20 meters ahead of second-place Tinley Park.
“That 4-by-400 team just missed qualifying for state last year and we have them all back this season,” O’Donnell said. “They’ve already run the qualifying time for state this season and expect to qualify and compete for a title this year; the key now is to keep them healthy.”
As in all the other sprints the Warriors weren’t really challenged on Friday but they know that they can’t let the result go to their heads.
“We know that we can never be satisfied with what we have,” senior Christian Stewart said. “We always have to be working to get to the next level and improve our times even if it’s just by a millisecond if we want to go down state this year.”
If Friday was any indicator Crete-Monee looks poised to send more than just the 1,600 relay team to the state meet in Charleston.
The 20-meter cushion in the 1,600 was the closest anyone came to the Warriors in a sprint event as Crete-Monee was running against the clock more than the field.
“The times were good but they weren’t at the state qualifying mark,” O’Donnell said. “I think if there was someone to push us today we would have had much better times.”
With a number of runners getting close to hitting qualifying times for the state meet as the season winds down, the key will be finding a balance the rest of the way to make sure they are ready when the sectional rolls around.
“I don’t expect we’ll peak until sectionals,” O’Donnell said. “We train hard until the conference meet rolls around then we’ll shift the focus on the post season and get the guys ready for sectionals.”
Although the Warriors are happy to take another trophy back to Crete they know that the real prize will be taking a large contingent to the state finals in Charleston and the senior-laden sprint group knows that the key is staying focused.
“Basically we have to stay focused as a team and try to lift each other up,” senior Taris Simmons said. “Track is often seen as an individual sport but we want to have success as a team so we know that we have to constantly support each other to get there.”