Before he graduates in a couple of weeks, Carl Klamm is doing his best to leave his stamp as one of the most versatile performers in Evanston’s fabled track history.
Ask the ETHS senior to compete in the shot put, discus, high jump and pole vault at next week’s Central Suburban League South division meet and he’d probably pile up the points in those events, too.
Klamm continued his impressive transition from distance runner to sprinter as his senior season winds down, scoring two individual wins and running on two victorious relay teams Saturday as Evanston ruled the 29th annual Thornton Classic invitational meet.
Evanston outscored host Thornton 166-123 in a duel between two of the top sprint, hurdle and relay teams in the state of Illinois. Coach Don Michelin’s team scored 9 first place finishes against a seven-team field also included Homewood-Flossmoor (97), Rich Central (62), Brother Rice (40), Crete-Monee (26) and Oak Forest (10).
Followers of high school track on a regular basis are aware that sometimes 2 milers drop down to concentrate on the mile, milers turn into half-milers, and half-milers wind up focusing on the quarter-mile by the time postseason competition begins. But on the menu for Klamm Saturday was the 400-meter relay, open 400, open 200 and 1600 relay, and the shorter the distance, the more the ex-distance ace seems to thrive.
Klamm opened the meet by teaming with Reggie Murphy, Brad Garron and Malachi Adams for a winning time of 42.04 seconds in the 400 relay. He came from behind to win the open 400 in 48.34, catching H-F’s Emmanuel Spearman with 40 meters remaining and kicking into high gear, then topped the field in the 200 with an effort of 22.58, beating out teammate Adams’ time of 22.73.
He still had enough energy — less than 10 minutes after the 200 concluded — to chalk up a split of 51.06 as the 1600 relay unit of Trinton Jones, Ryan Christie and Garron blew Thornton away with a winning time of 3:23.61 to 3:27.58.
Evanston’s experiment with the senior will continue at the conference meet, where he’ll likely compete in four different events. If nothing else, Klamm has learned there are different degrees of “tired” depending on what he attempts on a weekly basis.
“It was a rough day for me today, just because the meet went so fast,” Klamm said. “My main focus today was to do well in the 400, and I did. But I was dead after the 400 and the 200 was really hard. It’s all really surprising for me, because I’m doing things I never even thought about doing.
“Today was rough just because of the high intensity of the meet. It’s so different because after running the mile, your legs are tired and you’re really drained. It’s always hard psychologically and today was hard mentally, too. You don’t even want to think about running. Today I was tired, and it was a different kind of tired. But I was able to come back from it.”
“I’ve been around since 1980 and I’ve see other kids do some fantastic stuff. But nothing like Carl’s doing for us now,” Michelin praised. “I’ve seen kids from East St. Louis do things like the 4 x 100, 400, 200 and mile relay in the same meet. But those were exceptional type athletes, which Carl definitely is, too.”
Klamm’s impact on his teammates has helped ETHS prosper, too. The Wildkits came from behind in several races Saturday and closed them out, influenced by Klamm’s notorious kick as well as closers like Malachi Adams and Reggie Murphy.
“We have some guys who are tremendous finishers, and it’s become a culture for all of the guys this year,” Michelin pointed out. “It’s just grown for all of them.”
Junior Roland Amarteifio joined Klamm as a double winner by capturing both hurdles races. He won the 110 high hurdles in 14.89 in a photo finish with Thornton’s Paris Elbert (14.92) after hitting several barriers en route to the victory, then triumphed in the 300 hurdles in 39.27, the only competitor to break 40 seconds on a cool and cloudy day.
Brent Lowry overcame a huge deficit, trailing by almost 30 meters with one lap to go, and claimed top honors in the 1600 in 4:41.92, just off his season best. And Jones scored a victory of his own in the open 800 with a time of 2:00.60, closing out the race with a surge in the last 10 meters against eventual runnerup Christian Hoover of H-F.
In the 800 relay, anchorman Adams surged from 3rd to 1st as part of a winning foursome that also featured Murphy, Marcus Starks and Colin Watson. Their time of 1:29.27 was under the existing Illinois High School Association state qualifying standard, even though Garron, a regular member of that unit, didn’t compete.
Contributing 2nd place finishes for ETHS were Joey Eovaldi, 10:37.50 in the 3200; Jonathan Connerly-Bey, with a best effort of 43 feet, 5 inches in the shot put; and the 3200 relay team of Christie, Bergman, Logan Singer and Lowry, in 8:31.96.
Morgan Brown, 132-0 in the discus; Sam Bergman, 4:54.82 in the 1600; Christie, 41.41 in the 300 hurdles; Garron, 49.95 in the 400; and Adams, 11.18 in the 100, added 3rd place performances for ETHS.