One Bulldog remains.
Senior Matt Sandrik will be Riverside Brookfield’s sole representative at the IHSA Class AA State Meet this Friday. Sandrik is a first time qualifier in the high-jump, spending the previous three years on the RB baseball team. This year, however, Sandrik decided to switch gears and try track and the rest is an MVP year including All-conference honors in the triple jump, long jump and, of course, the high jump.
“I am very proud of his achievement,” said RB coach TK Ehlebracht. “But, looking at state, he will have to jump his best to place. I looked in the paper on Saturday and there were about five or six competitors from other sectionals that jumped between 6-5 and 6-7. Still, Sandrik has a good chance of making 6-5, which puts him right up there. We will do our best to prepare him this week and then give it our best on Friday.”
Overall, the Bulldogs took eighth at the sectional, a very respectable achievement, according to Ehlebracht. The eighth-place finish, however, was overshadowed by a strange series of events involving senior sprinters Mike Berry and sophomore Deon Walker.
The controversy stemmed innocently enough when the first heat of the 400 was scratched. Walker, however, was supposed to be in the fourth heat, but by chance the second lane was open in the third heat. The judge didn’t say anything and let Walker run, who was followed by Berry. Berry then won the heat with a time of 53.93 seconds. Despite running in Walker’s spot, Ehlebracht still thought Berry had won and therefore advanced to state. The official time, however, kept in the press box recorded Berry with a time of 53.02, saying that Berry’s foot touched off the clock at 51.93. The race is not over until the runner’s chest crosses the line, therefore meaning that Berry finished with a time of 52.02. The second-place competitor finished at 51.99?”meaning that Berry missed a trip to state by three-hundredths of a second.
“His third is really disappointing because in the other heat, he would have been head to head with the other top qualifiers for sectional. Really, it is a very strange set of circumstances that occurred. Had Deon gone and somebody was in lane two, he would have known he was in the wrong heat. Berry knew he followed Deon, so he went as well.”
Some other top finishers for the Bulldogs included junior Greg Pawlik, who finished 13th in the 300 hurdles, and sophomore Jason Brondos, who took seventh in the 800 (2:08). The 400-meter relay team of juniors Daryl Abner and Brian Dance, freshman John Mossman and senior Oscar Reyes took 10th. Junior pole vaulter Mike Razniewski took third, while senior Ken Mantel took fourth. As for next year, Ehlebracht is optimistic about the Bulldog’s chances.
“We have a lot of talented young kids with Walker, Mossman and Abner all returning to the team,” Ehlebracht said.