PALOS HILLS | For a team with state final aspirations, Thornton knows what matters the most is what happens in May.
The Wildcats are battling the injury bug, but still ran their way to a third-place team finish at the Stagg Invitational. Oswego East (147 points) captured first place in the team standings with Thornton scoring 118 points.
The runners were forced to deal with a strong wind all day, but the wind did favor the short races where it blew with the front stretch of the track. Thornton Township's Tifonte Hunt captured first in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 200. Thornton also took first in the 400 and 1,600 relays.
"I just have to work on that 200 and getting out of the blocks a little faster," Hunt said. "I kind of just got faster towards the end, and that's what really helped me."
Hunt's time of 14.19 in the 110 hurdles beat out teammate Demitruis Mitchell, who finished second (14.20). Mitchell won the 300 hurdles (40.02). The Wildcats will be looking to compete at the state level in both the 400 and 1,600 relays, and Hunt will be looking for a state berth in the 110 hurdles.
"We're looking to win state," Hunt said. "This is a strong team, and we've got good people. I definitely believe we can win state."
Thornton's Adam Johnson had a strong day for the Wildcats finishing in third place in the 800 meters with a time of 2:09. Devante Smith placed second in the 100 meter dash for the Wildcats with a time of 10.54.
"It was tough with the wind pushing like that," Johnson said. "I can see many of the relays from our team making it down state, and I can see some individuals making it too."
Mount Carmel's Dan O'Keefe finished second in the 3,200 with a time of 10:41. The Caravan's Luke Grabowski took first in the high jump with a jump of 6-1. Marian Catholic's Cameron Howard placed second in the 1,600 (4:47).
"With the wind out there, you really couldn't think about times," O'Keefe said. "The school record in 9:48 in the (3,200). That's what I'm going for. Today without the wind, it would have been a whole different race."