Carl Klamm turned in one of the fastest 400-meter times in Evanston’s track history and added a blistering final leg in the 1600 relay as the Wildkits scored a pair of top 6 finishes Saturday at the Illinois High School Association Class 3A state track finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Klamm sizzled with a personal best open 400 time of 48.31 seconds — good for 6th place — and then rallied the Wildkits to a fourth place time of 3:17.86 with an anchor leg split of 47.48. Also contributing to that relay finish were Josh Hopson (49.98 split), Aremon Alegheband (51.08) and Ramon Hayes (49.20).
Evanston racked up 10 points, good for a tie for 30th place in the team standings with Bloom, Benet Academy and Collinsville. York (40 points) emerged as the team champion in a 5-way battle with Edwardsville (36), Lake Park (36), Nequa Valley (34) and Thornton (32).
“It was a heckuva meet. I can’t remember a state meet that was this fast,” said veteran ETHS head coach Don Michelin. “This is a meet where superstars rise, and we had one who ran 2 quality days down here.
“Because he didn’t win his heat yesterday, Carl wasn’t in a preferred lane in the 400 (positioned in Lane 8). He’d have had a better shot with a preferred lane, and that’s why it’s so important to win a heat down there. But coming down the stretch he was in about 8th place, and he picked off a couple more guys. I can’t be disappointed with that.
“In the relay, he scooped other guys (anchor runners) up again, just like he did yesterday because we were about 7th when he got the baton. He just ran out of real estate.”
Michelin wasn’t about to second-guess his decision to have Klamm drop out of the 800 prior to Friday’s preliminaries, even though only two runners — Johnny Leverenz of Danville (1:52.00) and Matt Anyiwo of Homewood-Flossmoor (1:52.38) — broke 1:54 in 90-plus degree heat on Saturday.
In the 400, Klamm’s time was just 2-10ths off the third place finisher, Anyiwo.
Michelin is still considering using the junior standout in the 800-400-1600 relay next year. Or he hinted at possibly trying Klamm in the three shortest relays, plus the 400.
“I’m convinced now that he’s a true quarter-miler,” the coach declared. “He’s like a welterweight who can go up to heavyweight and still win. He’s such a talent, and next year we’re going to train him to run fast when he’s tired. I think his mindset says he can handle that. He has to dedicate himself in the cross country season so he can handle this next year and try to get down to the low 14s by the end of the cross country season.
“With a stronger Carl — and a healthy (sprinter) Reggie Murphy — we’re really going for it next year.”