COUNTRY CLUB HILLS | At a sectional that saw 14 meet records broken, mostly in the sprints, Illiana Christian athletes didn't break any.
But that didn't mean the Vikings failed to be influential figures at Friday's Class 2A Hillcrest Sectional. Illiana did its damage in the distance events.
Senior Matt Hall ran away from the 3,200-meter field and freshman Tony Wondaal captured the 1,600 to lead the Vikings, who captured four state berths in all. Hall finished the 3,200 in 9:57, while Wondaal completed the 1,600 in 4:34.
Hall was runner-up to Wondaal in the 1,600 and will also represent the Vikings in that race in Charleston next weekend. The Vikings' 3,200 relay team will make the downstate trip as well after winning in a time of 8:17 and Joel Ooms will represent Illiana in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
"I'm happy with today," Hall said. "I couldn't have asked for a better night.
"With myself and with the team, having the 4-by-8 (team) qualify and having Tony Wondaal go down in the mile, me qualifying in the two mile -- we're just really pumped about it. It's going to be a great week this upcoming week."
Wondaal showed a senior's sense of perspective when it came to his performance.
"I"m really looking forward to state," he said. "I'm looking to improve on my time. It's fun to win, but I really think it's times that count. I'm happy, but I'm always looking for more."
T.F. North's Aaron Baker set a meet record in the high jump, going 6 feet, 5 inches while being the lone Meteor to capture a first place.
"I was actually doing this for the younger kids on the track team," Baker said. "I wanted to let them know that just because it's my senior year, I wanted to go out with a bang, but I told them that you all can do your best also.
"(I said), 'Even though this is my last track meet besides state, this could be your last track meet ever, so you should go your best.'"
T.F. North sprinter Denzel Washington had a sub-par day by his own standards, but still managed to qualify for state in both the 400 and 100. T.F. North's 400 relay team also qualified.
"I think I can perform better in my 400," Washington said. "I'm going to go hard in practice all week and work on my block starts. This is my first year running the 100, so it's a big accomplishment to make it to state out of this sectional.
"The 200, I could have made it to state, but I just had bad blocks. I was still tired from the other events, but I'm going to take the blame for it 'cause it was all me."
Brandon Carroll (110 high hurdles), Jahlil Rider (long jump), Marcus Devers (400) and the 800 relay team will also compete at state. None of them placed higher than third, but all reached qualifying standards.