CHARLESTON, Ill. — The Central Suburban League South can call itself the champion sprinters league after its showing Saturday at the Class 3A boys track and field championships.
Niles West won the 400- and 800-meter relays, Glenbrook South's Colin Hepburn took the 100 title and Evanston's Tremaine Gordon won the 200.
"That Niles West 4-by-1 was pretty sweet — repping our conference," Hepburn said. "It really helps. A lot of guys don't see a lot of fast guys in their conference. It gives you confidence, and everyone pushes each other. "
Hepburn defended his 100 title in 10.74 seconds and placed third in the 200.
"It's easy to become complacent once you're on top, but you've got to dig deep and find things to stay motivated," Hepburn said. "It's been kind of a long year, but it's a good ending."
Gordon false-started in the 100 Friday, but returned to win the 200 in 21.72 seconds.
"It hurt me mentally. My former teammate was telling me, 'You can't go back in the past. You just have to do your thing in the 200,'" Gordon said. "It made up for everything. If I can't take two, take one."
Niles West's relays were the school's first state track titles. They won the 400 relay in 41.82 seconds and the 800 relay in 1 minute, 27.26 seconds.
"(Running against the conference) has been the greatest experience," Gordon said. "When I was younger, I was always one of the fastest guys. To come in here and see Hepburn since sophomore year has been fun."
Battle scar: Lane's Jonathan Jackson motioned to his bloody knee with pride — proof that state championships come with a price.
Jackson won the 3A 300 hurdles title in 37.571 seconds, .007 seconds faster than Lincoln-Way Central's Ryan Newtoff. He did it with unique style, tumbling to the finish after leaning toward the line a little too much.
"My coach was like, 'It will be the best 37 seconds of your life, so run it,'" Jackson said. "That's what I did. I won and got a battle scar I won't forget."
Repeat: Marian Catholic's Erick Gavin repeated as 3A 110 hurdles champion Saturday after a groin injury Friday made him feel off. He said his coaches helped him stretch before the final, and he improved his time to 13.9 seconds.
"I didn't so well yesterday, but I got it together today," Gavin said. "Yesterday, I had a little tightness in my leg, so I couldn't pull it as much. Today, I came out and did what I had to do."
Quotable: "What I set out for my freshman year was a state championship, and I got that, so I'm pretty happy. The disappointment will always be there. I felt like I could have gone farther in both this year, but it was little mistakes I made and things I could have done differently. You always learn." – Huntley's Marcus Popenfoose, who won the 3A discus title with his preliminary throw of 189-3.
Popenfoose had topped 200 feet this year and was eyeing the state-meet record of 205-8 but couldn't improve Saturday. He placed second in the shot put to Lake Park's Jermaine Kline.
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