Woodstock Blue Streaks runners look to beat bests
The Woodstock High School boys track and field team is on target to send a healthy contingent to the state finals after successful results in early season meets. The Blue Streaks defeated Sycamore 76-75 April 4 and finished second in the Gary Johnson Bulldog Relays April 7.
“We train for conference and sectionals,” said head coach Matt McCulley. “We like to use [the McHenry County Championships April 19 and 20] as our halfway point and see where we need to improve.”
According to McCulley, a strength for the team will be returning senior sprinters Nate Hams, Donte Arnold, Mike Walton and Jake Baier and junior Keeondae Benjamin.
Arnold finished seventh at state last season. He qualified for the Illinois Prep Top Times meet in the triple jump and recently won the event (43 feet, 3 ½ inches) at the Bulldog Relays.
Junior Tyler Parsons also scored big points April 7 by winning the 110-meter high hurdles (15.41 seconds). He also out-paced Arnold (42.2) to place second (41.6) in the 300 hurdles.
The Streaks will go after school records in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-200 relays. Hams has called on former Woodstock standout Zach Digney for technical advice on cleaning up handoffs in the relays.
“We realize that the fastest way to cut down our time is to make the handoffs precise and perfect,” said Hams. “Every day after practice, we’ve spent an hour practicing handoffs. I can tell everyone on this team is hardworking, dedicated and determined to get the best out of the season.”
Additional backup in the jumps will be provided by Walton (long jump), and 2011 state qualifier and senior, Eddie Grogg (high jump). Throws will be led by returnees in senior Brad Lorr, junior Kyle Olesen and junior Phil Krueger and newcomer senior Kenny Robson.
Leading the distance pack will be two senior state-qualifying hopefuls, Tim Semmen (3,200 meter) and Alec Martys (800 meter).
The rise in Woodstock track and field has motivated Semmen to stay on course with his goal.
“Track used to be something people would kind of do, but now it’s turned into a successful program, and we’re constantly sending people down to state,” said Semmen. “It was a great thing to be able to see it happen through my four years here.”