Freeman & Peterson shine at the Patriot Relays

The Patriot Relays at Stevenson saw some fast times. Ken Matuszak/ESPNHS


Cary Grove’s Josh Freeman had just finished anchoring the Trojans’ 4 x 100m weightman relay. Looking around for his sweats, he yelled out sarcastically, “What was my split on that relay?”

His business office is usually not the track. He spends the majority of his time in the Shot and Discus rings. When he stepped in to the rings at Stevenson High School on Thursday for the Patriot Relays, he meant business.

Both events were contested in relay format meaning that the top distances from 3 competitors on each school are added up. No individual titles were given but Freeman was the class of the Shot field. He opened up with a 59 foot put, following up with a distance of over 62 feet. On his final effort, he cranked out a put of 63-6. It helped his team win the relay event and made Freeman #1 in the state and ranked seventh in the nation.

“I’m excited. But we still have room to go,” he said afterwards. “After the competition was over, I was going 65-66 feet. But it only matters what you hit in the meet. But I was very proud.”

Freeman then ventured over to the Discus ring. Brandon Lombardino of Grant pushed Freeman to the limit. On Monday, Lombardino had thrown 175-9 in a dual meet at Antioch. On this day, he threw 164-3 but that effort put the pressure on Freeman. He responded with a heave of 178-6 which is currently fourth in the state.

“I was hitting throws in warm-ups. But the winds were all over the place today. It was good having Brandon pushing me today. I still have a lot of work to still do.”

~~ Peterson’s “quick” double ~~

Erik Peterson of Barrington attempted a tough double at this meet. He took the baton from teammate Ryan Skelly in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay over one second behind Warren’s Roberto Lara. After a brisk 56 second first 400, Peterson moved past Lara with 300 meters to go and did not look back. His 1:58.5 anchor gave the Broncos a 3 second win over Warren.

Thirty minutes later, Peterson was back on the track for the 1600 Meter Run. There was a quality field led by Pat Juras of Lake Zurich, Martin Martinez of Warren, and K. J. Matuszak of Carmel. Juras was also trying to attempt the same double. He led off Lake Zurich’s 4x8 relay with a 2:01.9 split.

Jon Smith of Lake Zurich led the pack through a brisk 62 second first 400. The pace slowed down to a 69 second lap with Juras, Peterson, and Martinez biding their time. Another 69 second lap brought Matuszak and Barrington’s Ryan Burgoon with the front three.

Juras made the first move on the back stretch, one Peterson was waiting for. Both runners entered the final straightaway dead even. Peterson made a final surge, one that Juras reacted to, but Peterson just a had a little more zip in his legs. Peterson crossed the line in 4:20.8, two tenths ahead of Juras. Great doubles considering the short rest that both runners had. Martinez, Matuszak, and Burgoon finished 3-5, all establishing new PR’s.

“I was kind of hoping to run that time,” Peterson said afterwards. “It all depended on the 4x8. If we were out of it and I ran a 2:05, then I would have expected to run a faster mile. But the 800 was fast, so I am happy with it.”

~~ It even surprised the coach ~~

Last week at the Al Bohrer Invitational on their home track, Cary Grove opened their outdoor campaign by running 3:26 in the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. So what kind of expectations did Head Coach Layne Holter have in this meet?

“We were hoping to run 3:25 tonight,” he said.

The first leg was led by a 49.4 opener by Antonio Farley of Round Lake. Max Anderson of Cary was 2 seconds back. Cary-Grove and Lake Zurich were even at the second exchange. At that point, John Pearl of Cary-Grove took the baton and stretched out the lead for the Trojans to nearly four seconds over Lake Zurich. Tommy Rohn anchored with a fine split of 48.9 to give his team a seven second win running a time of 3:22.6, one that had Holter surprised.

“At the beginning of the year, we knew we were going to have a good relay,” Holter said. “We really surprised ourselves tonight.”

With this performance, you definitely have to consider Cary-Grove in the mix with Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley, Minooka, and Belleville West for this relay title in May at state.

Cary Grove splits:

Max Anderson 51.1

Alex Bussen 51.1

John Pearl 51.5

Tommy Rohn 48.9 = 3:22.6