When no bus showed up at the school for a scheduled trip to the Capital City Classic invitational track meet in Springfield early Saturday morning, the members of the Evanston boys track team didn’t know what would happen next.
But the ETHS athletic department scrambled and found transportation for the Wildkits. And then Roland Amarteifio made the trip to central Illinois worth it for the Kits.
Amarteifio turned in the 5th fastest time in the state to date in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, defeating William Session of Belleville East in a matchup of two of the state’s top hurdlers.
Amarteifio’s win came after a dissatisfying second place finish to Session in the 110-meter hurdles and, combined with a sweep of all three relay events ETHS entered, powered the Wildkits to a close second place finish in the team standings.
Bloomington edged Evanston by the slimmest of margins, 96 to 94.5, and captured the team crown in the 17-team field by placing second to the Kits in the final race of the day, the 1600-meter relay.
“Sure, it was disappointing to lose a close one like that. We were also entered in a meet at Glenbard West and because of the bus problem, we could have all just gone there,” said Evanston coach Don Michelin. “But not going to Springfield would have been devastating for a young man like Roland. He knew what the competition would be down there — with the technology out there these days guys like Roland and Carl Klamm and Malachi Adams are always keeping up with the top competition and they know what they have to do.
“Roland’s a real competitor and he wasn’t happy about losing that short hurdle race to Session. He led the race up to the 7th hurdle, they were tied by the 8th hurdle, and then Session, who’s a big, strong kid won the race.
“So Roland comes back and runs a 39.12 (seconds) in the intermediates. He ran a great race and his real gift is his competitiveness. (The late ETHS coach) Willie May would have loved to coach this kid because of that competitiveness. He’s probably the fastest kid we’ve had in the lows or intermediates since Robert McGee.”
Amarteifio also ran himself back into the mix to claim a spot at season’s end in the 1600 relay with that competitiveness perhaps giving the junior an edge. He teamed with Colin Watson (51.89 split), Trinton Jones (50.2) and anchor man Klamm (48.62) with a split of 50.82 to help the Wildkits post a winning time of 3:21.68 in the 1600 relay. That’s the third fastest time so far in the state of Illinois.
The foursome of Marcus Starks, Adams, Reggie Murphy and Brad Garron teamed up for victories in the 400 relay (42.95) and 800 relay (1:30.48), and both efforts are just off the standards established by the Illinois High School Association for state qualifying.
Klamm and Watson placed 1-2 in the open 400, with Klamm establishing a new stadium record despite the fact that he ran into a stiff headwind in the final portion of the race. His winning time was 49.01 to Watson’s 51.64.
Also scoring top six finishes for the Wildkits as individuals were Adams, 2nd in the 200 in 22.62 and fourth in the 100 in 11.25; Garron, 3rd in the 200 in 22.89; Murphy, 5th in the 100 in 11.27; Jones, 4th in the 800 in 1:59.87; Ryan Christie, 5th in the 300 hurdles in 40.43; and Elliott Grant, 5th in the high jump at 5 feet, 10 inches and 6th in the 110 hurdles in 16.74.