High school track | 3A finals: Field day leads to track title for Lake Park

Tribune reporter

CHARLESTON, Ill. — Lake Park's field trumped the track Saturday at the boys track and field Class 3A state finals.

Without scoring a point in a running event, the Lancers won their second team championship and only state trophy next to the 1997 AA title.

Junior twins Jermaine and Jeremy Kline scored 32 points in the throwing events, including Jermaine Kline's shot put championship with a winning distance of 61 feet, 10 ½ inches and his second place in the discus.

Junior Zach Ziemek's surprising run at a pole vault championship (15-0) and his second place in the triple jump (47-3 ¼) pushed the Lancers past defending champion York, 50-40. The state final was Ziemek's third outdoor meet this season after a hip flexor injury kept him out for six weeks.

"We talked all about (a team title) last night. Usually we think about individuals, but I just wanted to win for the team," Ziemek said. "The injury slowed me down a little. I was saying, 'I feel better,' every day, but I didn't really. I was just saying that so the coaches would put me in."

York's sixth runner-up trophy was fueled by the exciting 1-2 finish of Andrew Smith and Jack Driggs in the 3,200-meter run. Fenwick's Martin Grady led by several seconds for the first seven laps before Smith and Driggs overtook him in the final 400 meters. In the 1,600, Driggs finished third and Smith was eighth.

"Everyone was going to go out fast, me and Driggs knew that," said Smith, who won the 3,200 in 9 minutes, 12.39 seconds. "Me and Driggs have found that the key to winning all these races is control — control over yourself and as much control over the race as you can. … Yeah, I knew I was going to catch him."

Neuqua Valley secured third place (36 points) by winning the 1,600 relay title. Senior Aryan Avant anchored the win in 3:17.05 to bounce back from a disqualification in the 400 because he ran too many steps on the line.

"After I got disqualified in the 400 I had to bounce back somehow, and this was the way to do it," Avant said. "We really wanted to go for (the team title). We didn't have the best day, but we came together as a team at the end to take the 4-by-4. It feels amazing."

Three 3A seniors defended their 2009 titles – Young's Jonathan Gardner (triple jump), Glenbrook South's Colin Hepburn (100) and Marian Catholic's Erick Gavin (110 hurdles).

Lane senior Jonathan Jackson gave Chicago a second championship, in the 300 hurdles. Niles West was the only 3A double winner, taking the 400 and 800 relay titles.


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