JOLIET — Minooka won its second straight Class 3A boys track and field sectional Thursday night, totaling 117 points for a 49-point win over second-place Plainfield East.
The Indians won six events and qualified for the state final meet in 10, which are both believed to be all-time program highs. The sectional win is only the second in their history after last year’s title at Naperville North.
“It’s awesome. There were a bunch of positives,” Minooka coach Nick Lundin said. “This was an awesome night for us.”
Ethan Cane “got us going,” said Lundin, by being the first Minooka qualifier at the event, in the long jump. Peter Andreano and Kurt Zumbahlen soon followed by repeating as qualifiers in the high jump, and the Indians kept adding from there. Zumbahlen, who was one of four to clear the bar at 6 feet, 5 inches, was the first event winner from Minooka.
“My P.R. is 6-4, so 6-5 was calling me,” Zumbahlen said. “When I cleared it, I was so happy I could have cried. The adrenaline was just pumping through me. I wasn’t able to sit still for a while afterward.”
The next Minooka win came from its 4x800-meter relay team, which finished in 7:52.05. Other Minooka first-place finishers were Jake Smith with a time of 10.93 in the 100-meter dash, Pierce with a time of 1:54.25 in the 800-meter run, the 4x200-meter relay team with a time of 1:28.22 and the 4x400-meter relay team with a time of 3:20.42.
Smith erased memories of the 2012 sectional at Naperville North, where he false started and was disqualified in the preliminaries of the 200-meter dash.
In addition to his win in the 100, he contributed to victories in the 4x200 and the 4x400 and to a second-place and state-qualifying time of 42.31 in the 4x100-meter relay.
“In all of my races, I drive myself to expect to win. So while I would say I was expecting to win, it feels great to actually do it,” Smith said of his performance in the 100.
In addition to his individual win in the 800, Pierce contributed to a pair of relay victories, in the 4x400 and the 4x800.
“I knew I was the No. 1 seed in the 800, so I sat on the pack until I decided it was my time to make a move. The last lap I really made up ground,” Pierce said. “It’s great to be a part of a group of four guys (in his relays) who work hard and work great together.”
Additional qualifers from Minooka were Zach Zamora, who was second with a time of 14.63 in the 110-meter hurdles, and Chris Wilson, who placed third with a time of 49.17 in the 400-meter dash.
“(Zamora) and the kid from Plainfield East, Jalil Manson, flip-flopped. The kid from Plainfield East beat him last year and then now they flip-flopped,” Lundin said. “That’s a hard qualifying standard to hit. (Zamora) would say he’s disappointed because he didn’t qualify in the (300-meter hurdles), but that’s just him having high expectations for himself. I wouldn’t really call that a surprise, but it’s one effort that sticks out.”
Cane ended up third with a mark of 22-03.50 in the long jump. He also made the finals in the triple jump, as did Andreano, but neither advanced.
“For the most part. I’m going to state. That’s the most important thing,” Cane said when asked if he was pleased with his performance in the long jump. “It is good to (qualify) right away. That way, I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day.”
Plainfield East finished with 68 points and Neuqua Valley with 67. No other team at the sectional had more than 45 points, and no team other than Minooka won more than three events.