2012 was a great year for field events as the creme rose to the top in every event. It also was the feeding ground for Roselle (Lake Park) winning another state team title. 2013 is a new year but the same frenzy may continue because the Lancers return a ton of talent in five of the six events. This of course will be trouble for many of the state’s top teams who are sprint heavy and one-dimensional. Remember this: team titles are won in the field. It doesn’t matter what level it is.
2012 State Champion: Zach Gordon (Sr., Wheaton North) 24-0.5 [+0.1]
Key returners: Gordon, Matt Harris (Sr., Lagrange Lyons Twp.), Marcus Jegede (Jr., Roselle Lake Park), Scott Filip (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Ethan Cane (Sr., Minooka), Alain Dixon (Sr., Oswego), Corey Jefferson (Sr., Rockford Auburn), Jamaal Payton (Sr., Hillside Proviso West).
Outlook: This resurgent event will enjoy eight returners who competed in last year’s state final. Among the group will be the defending champion Gordon. Gordon proved he was the top athlete throughout the season that culminated with a jump over 24-feet. It had been since 2004 since any winner has soared as far. Hopefully, Gordon will have his sights set a bit farther with a deep group of pursuers lurking. Harris will once again provide the motivation that Gordon will need to keep his edge. If not, the tide will obviously go in Harris’ favor. Harris definitely has the talent to be a champion as evidenced by his 23-8 personal best and two-sport star status. He recently signed on to play football at Northwestern University. Lake Park will begin their three-peat defense with Jegede and Filip. They placed fourth and fifth respectively last year. Expect the Lancer duo to improve significantly from their personal 23-5 efforts from a year ago.
2012 State Champion: Nick Sgarbossa (Elmhurst York) 16-3
Key returners: Luke Winder (Jr., Plainfield Central), Tim Ehrhardt (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Nate Richartz (Sr., McHenry), Derrick Smith (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Kody Cagwin (Sr., Rolling Meadows), Joel Swanberg (Sr., New Lenox Lincoln-Way Central).
Outlook: Another era of Winder brothers enters the fray as little brother Luke returns as the state’s best vaulter. He will look to add on to the family tradition set by the patriarch Tim Winder that was handed to Jake and Josh. Some say Luke will be the best of them all. That thought remains to be seen, but improving on a solid 15-9 personal best is definitely in the cards along with earning a state championship- something that all three Winders have done. Ehrhardt will return to give his team a golden opportunity to score serious meet points. He was fifth last year at state. His teammate Smith placed seventh for the Lancers.
2012 State Champion: Carl Heinz (Oak Park-River Forest) 7-1
Key returners: Jonathan Wells (Jr., Fox Lake Grant), Scott Filip (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Julian Harvey (Sr., Edwardsville), Kurtis Zumbalen (Sr., Minooka), Patrick Bolton (Sr., South Holland Thornwood), Jack Pollack (Sr., Batavia).
Outlook: This event will take a big hit production wise with the graduation of the national leader Carl Heinz and four other big hitters. But don’t tell Wells that his event is going to be weak. He was a very respectable jumper last year who leaped 6-9 as a sophomore. So, even if the overall field doesn’t fill up depth and strength-wise, Wells should be able to get in the 6-10 or 6-11 range. Lake Park will have another thrower peeping through the window with Filip. He will return as the second best leaper this year. Watch for Harvey to keep his Edwardsville squad eligible for state points this season. He will need to improve on 6-6 best to do so.
2012 State Champion: Josh Freeman (Cary-Grove) 66-0
Key returners: Matt Dziedzic (Sr., Libertyville), Riley Kittridge (Sr., Aurora Waubonsie Valley), Kyrin Tucker (Jr., Normal West), Marcus Cheatom (Sr., Chicago Brother Rice).
Outlook: Gone is the monstrous Freeman and his US#5 66-0 winning effort. But Dziedzic is back to take over the vacated sport and assume his will on the field. Dziedzic placed second in state last year but 59-1.5. This is not the stuff that fans are used to witnessing over the past several years. We all have gotten used to seeing all-time effort throws from our leading hurlers. Kittridge will be able to shoot for the 60-foot mark sometime during the season. He threw a personal best 55-1 last year.
2012 State Champion: A.J. Scarbrough (Barrington) 49-4.75 [+3.1]
Key returners: Shawn Koch (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Scott Filip (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Jamion Nash (Sr., Belleville West), Corey Jefferson (Sr., Rockford Auburn)
Outlook: Koch jumped a nice 48-2.5w last year to place second. He and teammate Filip will be at the top of the food chain this season. But let’s not be fooled though. This event is going to down because of the loss of talent over the past three years haven’t been restocked. It doesn’t appear that it will be either this season.
2012 State Champion: Josh Freeman (Cary-Grove) 181-3
Key returners: Brandon Lombardino (Sr., Fox Lake Grant), Pat Johnson (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Carlos Varela-Hernandez (Naperville Neuqua Valley), Marcus Cheatom (Sr., Chicago Brother Rice).
Outlook: Lombardino will look to become the first male state champion for his school after placing second last year. Grant has won one on the girls’ side. In fact, the girls have won numerous state medals over the years. Now the deal is to get this event back to the top of the shelf. It is not certain that Lombardino or any returning hurler will be able to get into the 190-foot range. For Lake Park, it will be all about placement and not distance at the end of the day. Johnson will have to improve on his #7 returning ranking in order to suffice head coach Jay Ivy and his staff.