Bowers 3 wins at MSL West overshadowed by DQ in 1600

Ben Bowers of Conant won three events at the MSL West Division Championships Mike Newman/ESPNHS

Schaumburg, Ill --- Ben Bowers (Conant HS, Hoffman Estates Ill) could do no wrong at the MSL West Boys Divisonal Meet at Schaumburg on Tuesday evening. He started off the day in fine form by clearing a seasonal best of 6-7 in winning the High Jump. After his jump, he told his coach that it was the best that he felt all season.

He moved to the track and dominated both hurdle events. He won the 110 Meter High Hurdles in a hand timed 14.5. He came back an hour later and won the 300 Meter Intermediates in a convincing 39.5. Both times are seasonal best for Bowers.

However, the fans that walked out of the stadium were not talking about the 3 event win by Bowers but rather what they had seen in the 1600 Meter Run.

Marcus Garcia (Palatine, Ill) took the pace out hard going past the 800 in 2:10.4. He had a dominant 4 second lead as he entered the final lap. Behind him were two runners that have great finishing speed in Erik Peterson (Barrington, Ill) and Evan Prizy (Schaumburg, Ill).

The action began with 200 meters to go as Garcia started to falter and the duo behind him started to make ground. Out of the final curve, Peterson started to move out into lane 2 to get into position to pass Garcia. Prizy was on Peterson’s shoulder in lane 2 and did not give ground. Some contact was made and Prizy moved into lane 3. Peterson did pass Garcia 5 meters from the finish to win in 4:24.0.

The starter / referee, standing at the finish line, saw the action at the other end of the track. He went over to the track clerk, then went over to Peterson and told him that he was disqualified for the contact that was made with Prizy. The Schaumburg junior, who also passed Garcia, was awarded the win.

“I kind of hung back for the first 3 laps. My stomach was a little upset before the race,” said Peterson. “I did not think I was going to catch him.” Peterson then described what happened in regards to the disqualification.

“It didn’t really start here what the ref said was saying. It was more over on the curve. He was hitting my elbow but it was just incidental. He was trying to go into lane 2 and my arm was there. Nothing wrong there. He (the referee) said I threw an elbow but nothing there. I wasn’t trying to elbow him. I was just cutting into lane 2 to pass Garcia.”

The win for Prizy sets up a decision for him on Friday at Prospect on whether he should run the 3200 or now the 1600.

“For the race, I just wanted to hang back in the back of the pack and get a comfortable split. We kind of just grooved through it then. The last quarter was dash for the cash then,” Prizy said. “I definitely thought I had a chance. I have raced him (Garcia) before with the same outcome.” He then described the incident with Peterson.

“I was trying to make a move around him and he just kept dancing out to the right, scooting and scooting. Finally, I just kind of crashed into him when I could not go over any farther. I wasn’t going to take it to lane 8 just because he didn’t want to race.”

The disqualification in the 1600 tainted a great 800 win that Peterson had 45 minutes earlier. The Barrington senior made up a 5 meter deficit in the last 200 meters to catch the Conant duo of James Weaver and Tyler Schneider to win in a open personal best of 1:55.9. Peterson had run a 1:54 split last year at the state meet.

“It felt pretty good going through the 400 and the two from Conant made a surge on a back stretch,” said Peterson. “I don’t think he was expecting me.”

Weaver did come back at the end of the meet and anchored the Conant team to a come from behind win in the 4 x 400 Meter Relay.

Fremd won the team title showing great depth and strength with only 2 event wins (4x1, 4x2). The Vikings scored 143 to win by 24 points over host Schaumburg, who was paced by wins by Prizy, a double win by Jauwan Richard in the 100 and the 200 (10.8, 22.3), Andy Selep’s win in the Pole Vault (14-6), and Shelley Smith’s victory in the Long Jump (21-2.25).

Palatine placed third with 111 points. They were paced by wins by Kendric Cornelius in the 400 Meter Dash (49.6) and Peter Tomkiewicz in the 3200 Meter Run (9:24.6).