Logan Singer’s original race plan went out the window midway through the Class A 800-meter showdown at the Red Grange Invitational hosted by Wheaton Warrenville South Friday night.
So the Evanston senior switched to another gear and pulled away to win the race in 1 minute, 59.01 seconds, one of 10 victories scored by the Wildkits on a chilly night in the flighted meet.
Evanston earned second as a team in all three flights — A, B and C — in a meet that rewards team depth. It marked the second year in a row that Coach Don Michelin’s team placed second to the host team in the overall standings, as Wheaton outscored the Kits 84-82 in the A flight, 79-63 in the B flight, and 99-73.5 in the C flight. No other school in the 17-team field came within 20 points of the Kits.
In a format where each school was allowed one entry per flight — three per event — the Wildkits thrived. But Singer had to find a Plan B when his race didn’t develop according to the original plan.
“The coaches told me just to stay on the shoulder of the guy in first place, but knowing it wasn’t a killer pace (over the first 400), I took the lead,” Singer said. “I started picking it up a little more with 300 left and I tried to pull away and was able to do it with 200 left.
“It was a decent time. I’ve definitely been more consistent this year, but I still have to work on getting out faster and tonight didn’t help. I need to get used to running at a quicker pace. You’ll always run better when you’re running stride for stride and have someone pushing you.”
Most of Evanston’s individual wins came in the field events. The Wildkits swept all three flights in the triple jump behind Jonathan Wilburn (43 feet, 3 inches in the A flight), Matt Caines (42-3 B flight) and Jamal Perrin (42-0.75 in C). Caines also triumphed in the C long jump with a best of 19-4, and Gabe Cheeks took the top spot in the B long jump at 20-8.
In the C shot put, sophomore Quentin Ivory muscled up with a season best toss of 43-9.75, exactly two feet farther than the runnerup in the flight.
Sophomore Sacrad Michelin contributed a victory in the C 200 (23.19, faster than anyone except the 1-2 finishers in the A flight) and a 2nd place finish in the B 100 (11.51). He also combined with Marques Rivera, Isaac Hunter and Denzel Thomas for a first-place clocking of 1:32.24 in the 800 relay, just three seconds off the Illinois High School Association state qualifying standard.
“Sacrad did a great job today,” said his proud grandfather and head coach. “He’s always been one of our leaders in practice, even as a sophomore, and he’s earned it through his practice reps because he’s always at the front in our drills. He might turn out to be the next man up for us now (as a sprinter) after Brad Garron. Denzel is coming off an injury, and he might be our best sprinter, but right now it’s Sacrad.
“What’s different about Sacrad this year is his strength, and the maturity piece, too. You could see the speed is there when he anchored our relay (800) in 22.5 at the Prep Top Times (indoor) meet. But last year he didn’t have that varsity body, that varsity strength. I do think running cross country this year really helped him get stronger, and I think he sees the leg up that gave him, too.”
Evanston’s other win on the track came in the B 400, where junior Ayoub El-Ashmawi held on for a win in 52.01.
Earning runnerup finishes for ETHS were Caines in the B high jump; Marquis Rivera in the B 200; Will McMichael in the A 400; Matt Bates in the C 400; Alex Tokmakoff in the C 800; and freshman Kalil Johnson in the C 110 hurdles.
Johnson may have earned a spot in the varsity lineup even though he came out late this spring and has only been training for two weeks. His time of 17.02 wasn’t especially eye-catching, but the Wildkit lineup has a spot that needs to be filled in that area since Quadre Nicholson suffered an injured shoulder last week in a 7-on-7 football competition.
Johnson could fill the bill.
“What he showed tonight was the ability to run to win, and I like that,” Michelin said. “That doesn’t come with every athlete. He ran an 11.7 100 and a 24.14 200 last week against Glenbard West, so you know he’s got the speed. He just came over to us late from wrestling.”
Scoring third place finishes Friday were McMichael on the A 200; Wilburn in the A long jump; Joe Eovaldi in the A 1600; Trey Dawkins in the A discus; Collin Olla-Chatman in the B shot put; and Davis Patterson in the A pole vault. The 1600 relay team of El-Ashmawi, Bates, Wilburn and Tokmakoff also ran third in 3:30.74.