Winners reflect on competition during IHSA Boys Track and Field finals

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

High school athletes from across Illinois gave it their all on Saturday for a chance at gold during the Illinois High School Association Boys Track and Field State Finals.

Over 600 schools competed in the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Competition on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at O’Brien Field.

Though many competed with their own intent to win and for different reasons, those who did win had one thing in common: the crazy, unexplainable feeling of victory.

Dylan Jacobs, a senior from Sandburg High School, competed in the 4×800-meter relay with his team and placed first.

Dylan Jacobs, a senior from Sandburg High School, crosses the finish line and celebrates after realizing he placed first during the Class 3A 4x800-meter relay Saturday at O’Brien Field. Jacobs was competing at the Illinois High School Association Boys Track and Field State Finals.

Analicia Haynes
Dylan Jacobs, a senior from Sandburg High School, crosses the finish line and celebrates after realizing he placed first during the Class 3A 4×800-meter relay Saturday at O’Brien Field. 

“I’ve been waiting for this since last year when we took second, I’m so proud of myself,” Jacobs said, bent over, his hands on his waist and almost losing his breath after the competition.

Jacobs said even though his team did not “give it their all” during the Class 3A preliminary round on Friday, he said they used last year’s second place rank to motivate themselves to take first place.

He called winning “amazing” and it was a “crazy” feeling that hit him as soon as he passed the finish line.

Marcellus Moore, a sophomore from Plainfield North High School, described a similar feeling after he placed first in the 100-meter dash.

“I was so excited, it’s unexplainable, words can’t explain it, it was crazy,” Moore said smiling and grabbing his gear to prepare for his next race.

When the starter shot rang, and when the athletes took off from their blocks, Moore said he felt really good and had an idea that he was in first.

“But I didn’t want to underestimate myself I just wanted to hold and stay strong and finish the race,” he said.

Marcellus Moore, a sophomore from Plainfield North High School, smiles and gives a thumbs up after crossing the finish line in first place Saturday during the 100-meter dash at the Illinois High School Association Boys Track and Field state finals at O’Brien Field.

Marcellus Moore, a sophomore from Plainfield North High School, smiles and gives a thumbs up after crossing the finish line in first place Saturday during the 100-meter dash at the Illinois High School Association Boys Track and Field state finals at O’Brien Field.

Sam Conger, a senior from Batavia High School, said his first place victory in the 110-meter high hurdles was one of the greatest experiences he has had in his entire life and it was “crazy” that it happened.

“Right as I crossed that line just adrenaline rushed out, you cant describe that feeling,” Conger said laughing.

Conger has been involved in track for seven years and has been doing hurdles since the sixth grade.

He said he uses his family as his motivation to be the best he can be so he can make his parents proud.

However, he said although he has been practicing for years, he knew he was never “100 percent.”

“There was always someone riding on my tail and that also motivates me too having some competition,” he said.

Victor Cameron, a junior from Crete-Monee High School, placed third in the 110-meter high hurdles and said he never imagined himself joining track.

“At first I wasn’t planning on joining track, I wanted to do basketball,” Cameron said.

But when basketball did not work out, he said he still wanted to use his active physicality to play any sport. That was when he discovered track & field.

“I was playfully jumping over hurdles and the coach was like ‘you have good form’ and so I tried it,” he said.

Though he said he did not expect to make it as far as he has with track, he said he now plans on staying on the journey.

“I’ll stay on this journey for as far as it will take me,” he said.

Zachary Wolford (right), a junior from Normal University High School, hugs his teammate Harris Porter, a senior from Normal University High School, after they won the Class 2A 4x800-meter relay Saturday during the Illinois High School Association Boys Track and Field state finals at O’Brien Field.

Analicia Haynes
Zachary Wolford (right), a junior from Normal University High School, hugs his teammate Harris Porter, a senior from Normal University High School, after they won the Class 2A 4×800-meter relay Saturday during the Illinois High School Association Boys Track and Field state finals at O’Brien Field.

Conger and Moore said when it comes to track, well it means the world the world to them.

Moore, who uses the idea of getting his college education paid for with track scholarships as his motivation, said he loves track for what it has taught him.

“You learn how to handle pressure and persevere through different situations,” Moore said.

Conger said track is the greatest and oldest sport and even though it may not be considered a team sport, he said it is.

“You’re always running with your friends, hanging out at practice and you’re not just running for yourself you’re running for your team,” Conger said.

Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].