SULLIVAN — When football season ended, Pana senior Cody Klein wasn't quite ready to let go of his competitive nature.
His mother had been telling him that she wanted him to run track as a senior; she still wanted to see him compete. Klein missed the informational track meeting, but met with coaches and they allowed him to join the team.
On Thursday at the Class 1A Sullivan Sectional, he advanced to the state track meet next week in four events.
Klein won the 100-meter (11.10 seconds) and 200-meter, and was on the winning 4x100- and 4x200-meter relay teams that finished in 43.11 seconds and 1:32, respectively. Not bad for his first season running track since eighth grade.
"The competitiveness," Klein said of why he went out for the team. "I love football and when my football season ended I was like, 'What do I do now? Run track, I guess. It's my senior year. I might as well.'"
He's signed up to go to electrical lineman school, a three-month program that would allow him to get a job anywhere in the country, he said. But he's seeing what happens with track, and if a college football opportunity comes up, all the better.
There's plenty of drive in Klein, who has a personal best in the 100-meter dash this season of 10.84, which ranks him second in Class 1A, and a PR of 22.35 in the 200 that has him ranked third in 1A. Last week he broke a school record that was set in 1935 by Charlie Younger. Track crossed his mind before this season, but he was focused on football.
"I thought about it, but I was going to be one of those kids that focuses on one sport," Klein said. "I messed up doing that. I should have ran my freshman, sophomore, junior year. It would have helped me a lot."
St. Teresa's Stewart off to state
Before this season, St. Teresa senior Boston Stewart had been away from track since his freshman year after sitting out per IHSA transfer rules and because of an injury as a junior.
On Thursday, he staggered through the finish line in the 400 with a time of 49.72 to qualify for state next week. In total, he qualified in three events, also making it in the 4x800 and 800.
"I'm really excited to finally come out and show that I was good enough," said Stewart who kicked it into high gear on the straightaway of the 800 to win that event, too.
The win in the 400 was most exciting for Stewart. Some coaches see him as a 1,600-meter runner, so he was happy to prove otherwise with a strong time. Now he's got one more meet in high school to show his progression.
"My heart's going to be pounding harder than it ever has ever," he said of his feelings at state. "It's going to be because of excitement."
Picazo gets another crack
Tuscola senior CJ Picazo narrowly missed qualifying for state in the shot put last season and instead went in the discus for the preliminary round.
He solidified a spot in both shot and discus on Thursday by winning both events. He threw the shot 49 feet, 1 inch and launched the discus 159-03. He's a long line of Tuscola throwers to reach state.
"It means a lot, working this hard and changing my form," Picazo said. "It's a big deal for my family and me."