CHARLESTON — MacArthur junior Jonathan Boey spent most of the season as the best sprinter in Class 2A.
Boey reminded everyone of that at Friday’s IHSA State Track Meet Class 2A preliminaries. He shook off his hamstring injury to win his heats in the 100 and 200, and returned to the Generals’ 4x100 relay team and led them to a heat win.
“I was worried coming in that hamstring was going to annoy me, but it didn’t,” Boey said. “I’m feeling way better — my adrenaline was pumping and I was ready to go.”
Since injuring his hamstring running the 4x100 at the Big 12 Conference Meet two weeks ago, Boey had been limited. He didn’t run the 4x100 at sectionals, and struggled to get through the 100 and 200. But despite not finishing in the top two in either event, Boey managed to run qualifying at sectionals and make state. His teammates did the same without him in the 4x100.
“I was hurting — I didn’t want to miss that race (the 4x100),” Boey said. “I did everything I could to get back. I stretched it, did the treadmill under water, electrical stimulation — anything I could to get it ready.”
Boey announced his return to health in the 4x100 on Saturday. The Generals’ time in the 4x100 (42.46) was the second-best in the field — behind only new Class 2A meet record-holder Jacksonville’s 41.91.
In the 100, Boey took an early lead and held it, edging Chicago Kelvyn Park’s Brian Carter by .02 seconds with a time of 10.97. But Boey wasn’t completely satisfied.
“It’s kind of frustrating because I’m running my slowest time right now,” Boey said. “I want to get back to the times I started with.”
Boey had some pain in his knee before the 200 and started slowly, but he passed the frontrunners midway through and held off Jacksonville’s James Jackson and Chatham Glenwood’s Joey Giovannelli at the finish line with a time of 22.08. Boey finished behind both runners at sectionals.
“That felt good,” Boey said. “My knee started bothering me before the race started and all these bad things started getting into my mind — ‘Why now?’ ” Boey said. “But when he said, ‘Set,’ all that stuff went out of my mind and I ran a good race. I just focused on winning.”
Boey is the youngest of 11, and eight of his siblings ran track — including Eastern Illinois University star Zye Boey. Unlike Jonathan, who also made state in the 100 last season, Zye never made state in an individual event. He did run on some MacArthur state relays, but didn’t blossom until he arrived at Eastern. Since, Zye has won the Ohio Valley Conference Track and Field Athlete of the Year three times. He owns the EIU and O’Brien Field records in the 100 (10.15) and the school record in the 200 (20.67).
“Whenever I can, I get with him and talk to him about what I need to do and what I need to change up,” Jonathan said. “He couldn’t be here this weekend because he’s at nationals, but I wish he was. He’s a big help to me.”
Boey will have to wait and see how his hamstring responds to three races on Saturday, and there’s the knee that started bothering him right before the 200. But Boey’s outlook remained positive.
“I’ve got more left in the tank,” he said. “I just want to get it stretched out as much as I can and try to win a state title this year.”
Joining Boey in today’s finals will be 4x100 teammates Palise Neal, Aquintis Williams and Iyonzi Johnson, along with Michael Clevenger in the 1,600 and 3,200, and Williams in the 400.