Elmhurst, Ill --- Before the start of the meet at York High School on Saturday afternoon, Palatine runners were flocked around former Palatine runner and coach Fred Miller.
“Your record is going down today,” they kept telling Miller. He replied to them coyly, “What record?”
At the beginning of the week, the distance coaches of Palatine and York, Chris Quick and Jim Hedman, discussed what each other’s individuals were going to run to make this dual meet as competitive as possible between these two distance powers. One of the suggestions was instead of running a 4 x 800 meter relay, to run a distance medley (1200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m). This race is usually run in big invitationals. With both squads loaded with talent, a fast time could be produced from this race. Palatine was itching to erase a 43 year old record in this event, one that Miller was involved with.
While other schools and individuals were rushing to big invitationals to try to get great times, these two schools had enough talent and desire to produce some great races, which is what happened.
The Distance Medley race failed to disappoint and was a showstopper.At the gun, Palatine’s Tim Johnson took the lead which would not be given up at tall during the race. By the time Tim Meincke got the baton for the 800 m leg, Palatine had a 3.4 second over the host Dukes. York’s Billy Clink closed the gap to almost one second by the end of the leg. Palatine’s Peter Tomkiewicz took the pace out hard in the first lap of the 1600 over York’s Nathan Mroz. It was a gap the the York sophomore could not make up. Tomkiewicz split a final 4:20.1 to get the Palatine school record of 10:21.8. York finished at 10:26.1.
At that moment, that time put Palatine at #8 in the nation. After the swarm of times from the Arcadia Invitational DMR, Palatine dropped to #19. Still nothing to laugh at.
The race that was overshadowed was the 3200 Meter Run. York’s all state runner Scott Milling took the pace out at 4:47 for the first mile. With 2 laps to go, York sophomore Kyle Mattes took over the lead with Palatine distance prodigy Graham Brown right on his shoulder. Brown charged to the lead with one lap to go. He held off Mattes in the final 100 to win in 9:31.9, the third fastest time by a freshman so far this year.
“My goal at the beginning of the year was to run 9:50,” the tired freshman said still recovering from the race after he refunded his breakfast. “I had to wait and make my move with about 150 meters to go so that I would know I would have enough to finish.”
In the other two distance races, Peter Tomkiewicz came back 35 minutes after his relay leg to win the 800 Meter Run in 2:03.0 moving with about 300 Meters to go.
In the 1600 Meter Run, Billy Clink let Palatine’s Marcus Garcia and Tim Johnson take the pace for the 3 laps. He took over with about 250 meters to go to win by almost 2 seconds over Johnson.
This little dual meet produced some big performances. There were 10 runners that were under 10:20 in the 3200 meter race. Some much respect by the school. So much competitive fire.
“I love that meet,” said Palatine assistant Matt Sheehan. “I asked Hedman if we could do it every weekend. The York and Palatine kids have so much respect for each other and have so much fire that it would be incredible every time!”
Distance Medley Splits
Johnson - 3:09.7 May – 3:11.9
Cornelius – 50.1 DiCicero – 51.3
Meincke – 2:01.9 Clink – 1:59.7
Tomkiewicz – 4:20.1 Mroz – 4:23.2
Brown’s 3200 Meter Splits
70.6, 2:23.6, 3:35.5, 4:48.3, 6:02.6, 7:17.6, 8:27.3, 9:31.9
Watch the full DMR here: