Julian Aske in his 2021 visit to the state finals.

Beacon Academy sophomore Julian Aske earned All State honors with his fifth place finish on the Eastern Illinois University outdoor track, host of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state championship. Aske competed in the 400-meter dash. 

Aske waited until around 4:45 p.m. before he was able to take the track, entering the field near the finish line. He was assigned lane six. When the third heat was called, he was finishing his pre-race preparations. After the official called, “Runners take your mark, set…”, the gun fired and the runners took off. Aske does not use starting blocks but takes a staggered stance instead.

After 200 meters the race was close with each runner in a strong position to take the lead. Aske started to make his move, passing his opponents following the third turn. In the final 50 meters he took the lead, which he maintained through the finish line. He had no idea how fast he had run. The scoreboard eventually showed 50.61, a personal best.

Aske qualified last week at the IHSA Sectional at Chicago Hope Academy after he blazed to a 51.63 time. It was good enough for third place in the event. Although he did not finish in the top two, his time was fast enough to advance to the State finals. 

After the race, Beacon Track Coach Rick Wemple said, “Julian earned this performance with consistent hard work and a run-through-the-finish-line mentality.”

Aske became the second Beacon Athlete in the past week to earn All State honors. The other was junior Peter Adams-Agresti, who finished second in the tennis competition. The two underclassmen are the first All State athletes in Beacon Academy history.