CHAMPAIGN — Jonathon Boey walked dejectedly from the finish line clear across the field and behind the west bleachers at Champaign Centennial High School following the finals of the 200-meter dash at Friday’s Class 2A track sectional.
The MacArthur senior was certain he’d finished third in the race, out of an automatic qualifying spot and too slow to make it to next week’s state track meet on his time alone.
Turns out Boey didn’t have anything to be upset about. The photo finish showed he crossed the line just ahead of Mount Zion’s Austin Ray to finish behind Bloomington’s Christian Neal and qualify for state in his third event of the night.
Boey also ran the opening leg of MacArthur’s 4x100-meter relay and won the 100-meter dash ahead of teammate Aquintis Williams in his first meet since early April while recovering from a quadriceps strain. Boey ran 10.88 seconds in the 100, while Williams finished in 10.93 seconds.
“I’m very surprised,” Boey said about qualifying in the 200, mere minutes after he expressed his disappointment while thinking he just missed. “I thought (Ray) edged me, but I guess not. I’m happy I made it.”
Boey said he was feeling fine after running in the preliminaries of the 100 and 200, leading off the 4x100 and finishing the finals of the 100. The time in between the 100 and 200, though, stretched too long to stay comfortable.
“I think I just rested too long, and it just became very painful,” Boey said. “I hit a nine (on a pain scale of 1-10) fast. Then my hamstring problem started coming back, and I had to try and stretch that out real quick.”
Boey’s strong return was just part of a successful sectional for the Generals. Williams added an easy
victory in the 400-meter dash at 49.42 seconds to his runner-up finish in the 100 and anchor leg of the 4x100.
Williams running the anchor leg with Boey leading off was a switch MacArthur coach Micah Sheppard made earlier this week to give Boey a chance to build up his speed at the start of the race instead of having to run full speed for the final 100 meters. The Generals were in the slow heat since their top team hadn’t run together before Friday night, but they managed the second-best time at 42.84 seconds — just three-hundredths of a second behind Bloomington.
“I’m pleased with what we did,” Williams said. “I feel like I’m carrying my team if I run the last leg. It gives me a bigger boost to know I’ve got to finish it off for my team.”
“I thought that was a great idea because I don’t know if I could have finished as strong as (Williams) did,” Boey added about Williams running the anchor leg.
MacArthur will also send Brian Jennings to state in the triple jump after he qualified with a jump of 43-10 3/4 and Nathan Allyn after his 1:57.58 victory in the 800. Allyn grabbed an early lead in the 800 and held on for the win despite starting to run out of steam down the final stretch.
“It’s not my best, but it’s good enough to win and go to state,” Allyn said. “I knew I wanted to go out at least 57 (seconds) for the first (400 meters). I felt good coming around the last 100 of the first lap, so I decided to take the lead there and run a faster second lap, but I kind of died.”
Track trumps graduation
While the rest of Charleston’s senior class — including a few members of the Trojans’ track team — was going through its graduation, Riley McInerney was getting ready for the 1,600-meter run and a chance to sweep the distance races at Centennial.
“Graduation started about 8 o’clock tonight,” McInerney said around 8:40 p.m. Friday. “Track’s my life, so I knew I had to come to this.”
It turned out to be a good choice on his part.
The Trojans’ Eastern Illinois-bound senior said he didn’t get a great start to the 1,600, but once he took control of the race nobody could catch him. His win in 4:18.54 gave him the distance sweep after he ran a 9:06.41 to win the 3,200-meter run ahead of Mount Zion’s Jake Brown.
“I love the mile — it’s probably my favorite race in track,” McInerney said about running near his seeded time in the 1,600 after dropping 13 seconds off his 3,200 seed time earlier in the evening. “Any time I run, no matter what I do beforehand, I find some energy to make it count.”
McInerney needed to run a quicker 3,200 with Brown utilizing his quick-start approach. The Apollo Conference rivals were stride-for-stride with three laps remaining, but McInerney got the late push to beat Brown by just less than nine seconds.
“The biggest thing I would have to do was stick with him for at least two laps,” McInerney said about his plan to race Brown. “If I didn’t, he’d get away from me, and I
didn’t want to dig myself a hole. He just has the endurance skills and the strength to take it out as hard as he wants.”
Lonely high jumper
Olney’s Blaine Storer has gotten used to being the last athlete competing in the high jump this spring. His season-best mark of 6-7 has him among the best in the state, and he said there’s been several meets this spring he’s won with a single jump.
He didn’t win his high jump sectional title that quickly Friday, but he was still the last jumper standing after clearing both the state-qualifying mark of 6-3 and then 6-5.
“I didn’t know how many jumps I had left, so my teammates wanted me to try for our school record,” Storer said. “So I went to 6-9, and each time on the way down I got it with my foot.”
Storer is shooting for a state title in his return trip to state, but still has that Olney school record in mind.
“I want first,” he said. “If 6-9 doesn’t get me that, it doesn’t get me that, but I’m shooting for 6-9.”