Two members of the Evanston boys track team captured a pair of championships Friday night at the Central Suburban League South division meet at Niles West.

One of them couldn’t be happier – and the other couldn’t resist seeing the glass as half empty.

First place finishers Oliver Hassard (high jump, triple jump) and Miles Granjean (100 meters, 200 meters) offered different perspectives after leading the Wildkits to a third-place finish overall in the team standings. Evanston totaled 119 points and trailed New Trier (136) and Glenbrook South (125) in the final accounting.

ETHS track and field head coach Don Michelin described it as an “uneven” performance for the Wildkits in their final tune-up before next Thursday’s Illinois High School Association sectional meet at Deerfield.

Tougher league

“This league has just gotten tougher. Right now, New Trier and GBS have shown better depth than we have,” Michelin said. “But I’m happy with our jumpers, our sprinters did well and so did our distance kids.

“Oliver Hassard did a heckuva job. I think he has the right focus to get downstate now. For Miles, it was an uneven performance [also second in the 110 hurdles and sixth in the open 400]. We’re all human and, with the type of competitor Miles is, I know he’ll bounce back next week. As a team we weren’t efficient enough today. I think we lost a little bit of our focus.”

Hassard, a junior with a bright future, topped the field in the high jump with a best leap of 1.91 meters, or 6 feet 3 inches, then came back to earn another gold medal with a best effort of 12.58 meters (41 feet, 3-plus inches). He also contributed a leadoff leg for the 1600-meter relay team that placed second in 3 minutes, 29.61 seconds.

Both winning performances were short of the personal records Hassard has turned in so far outdoors. But PRs are for next week – and maybe the week after that, at the IHSA state finals.

Going head to head

The lanky junior relished the head-to-head competition he had Friday with rivals Ryan Schaefer of Glenbrook South in the high jump and Karol Chmielewski of Niles West in the triple jump.

He beat out Schaefer on the basis of fewer misses in the high jump, and soared past Chmielewski on his final attempt in the triple jump, then watched as Chmielewski fell short on the last jump of the day.

“It feels pretty good to be a conference champion. Today it was all about the competition, not about PRs. I had to come out here and compete, and not worry about PRs, and I did my job,” Hassard said.

“It’s really fun for me when I go up against someone who has done better than my PR, and Ryan always puts up some good competition [in the high jump]. My consistency was good and I only had one miss at 6-3. I worked around that miss, brought some speed, and cleared it.

“My last jump won it for me again today. I did the same thing against that Niles West kid a couple of weeks ago at Glenbard West, beating him on the last jump, so I guess I did my job pretty well.”

Miles Granjean is headed to the University of Iowa. Credit: Zorina Granjean

Granjean was less than satisfied with his two wins, even though his remarkable progress in a sport he didn’t take up until last year ranks him as one of the top all-around sprinters in Illinois now.

He turned in four gold medal performances at the CSL South indoor championships and expected to produce another 40 points for the Wildkits on the biggest outdoor stage so far.

Granjean was upset in the short hurdle race by Niles West junior Chris Rodriguez, who left him in the starting blocks on his way to a winning time of 14.51 to 14.60 for the ETHS senior. Granjean caught his breath, won the open 100 in 11.02, but staggered home sixth in the 400 in 53.11, well off his season best.

He regrouped to rack up a PR in the 200 with a winning effort of 22.23.

“It wasn’t my best start in the hurdles,” Granjean said, adding that Rodriguez “ran a helluva race. The coach told me he got a PR by half a second.

Moving on

“When you have a bad day, you just have to move on from it. I tried to push through in the 400, but my legs were dead. And mentally I wasn’t there. I dug myself a hole and I didn’t pick myself up when I should have,” he said.

“When I got to the 200, I told myself I just had to do it [win]. I had to keep performing. If you have a bad race, that doesn’t mean the next one has to be bad. I just told myself to smile – believe you can do it – and run your race.”

Michelin entered the senior in the 400 instead of the 300-hurdle race in an effort to maximize the team’s point total. And the veteran coach admitted that he isn’t sure just where he’ll use the versatile senior at the sectional.

“He could possibly go in the short hurdles and the 200, and a couple of relays. Or he could go in the hurdles and three relays,” Michelin said. “I probably won’t put him in the 300 hurdles, but we’ll see.”

Another highlight for the Wildkits Friday was the third-place showing in the 800 by junior Jack Kleinschmit, who cut almost three full seconds off his previous best time with 1:59.09. He was under the IHSA state qualifying cut of 1:59.36, although he’ll have to do it again at next week’s sectional to earn a state bid.

Another junior, Glenbrook North’s John Ihrke, won the race in 1:56.98.

‘It feels great!’

“That’s my first time under two minutes and it feels great!” Kleinschmit said. “I’ve been trying for that state cut all of the outdoor season. I felt good today. Over that last 200, 250 meters I knew I had it in me [to go under 2 minutes]. I was ready to go!

“Everybody got out fast [58 second split over the first 400]. My plan was to be at 57 or 58, because I thought I could hold on after that. I’m excited. Now, the pressure is on me to do it again next week. But now, I know I can do it!”

Also scoring top-five individual finishes for ETHS were Myles Kye, second in the long jump at 6.21 meters and fourth in the 400 in 51.62; Lee Muir, third in the 300 hurdles in 41.57; Eddie Roman, fourth in the 300 hurdles in 41.58; Enijel Shelton, fourth in the shotput at 12.97 meters; Evan Siegel, fourth in the 110 hurdles in 15.99;  Arber Bombaci, fourth in the 3200 in 9:48.54; Sam Froum, fifth in the 3200 in 9:48.82; Jordan Crumpton, fifth in the triple jump at 12.19 meters; William Vilius, fifth in the high jump at 1.70 meters; and Torin Ravi, fifth in the 1600 in 4:32.54.

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *