Fenwick senior Salvatore Flight appears on the verge of making boys track and field history this outdoor season.
He and the Friars already have indoors.
After record-setting performances and the team’s first indoor Chicago Catholic League sophomore-level title ever, head coach Marcus McKinley is optimistic about a relatively young lineup.
“Our goal for the season and moving forward is to increase the number of athletes on our roster,” McKinley said. “Currently, we’re at 50 athletes, most of whom are on the frosh-soph level. But to compete in our outdoor championships, where four athletes from each team can compete in every (individual) event, we’ll need greater depth.”
At the 2014 Class 2A state meet, Flight finished fourth in the 1,600-meter run in 4:22.88 fully automatic time, earning all-state honors with a top-nine finish.
Flight equaled the program’s highest state finish by senior Martin Grady in the 3A 3,200 in 2010. This May, Flight can join track distance coach Dave Rill as the lone Fenwick athletes to earn multiple state medals. Rill was seventh in the AA 3,200 in 1986 and 1987.
At state, Flight finished behind three seniors. At the indoor CCL Meet March 21, Flight posted the fastest indoor 2A time this season when he won in a meet-record and lifetime-best 4:20.26. The school record is 4:14.30 from 2011.
On Saturday, Flight won the 3,200 (9:32.84) by .01 and was third in the 1,600 (4:28.52) at the Illinois Top Times Championships at Illinois Wesleyan University.
“Since that (4:20.26) bests his state meet time by over two seconds, we’re very excited by the possibilities of what might happen in the 2A finals this year,” McKinley said.
“(The 3,200 and 1,600 is) a tough double and some decisions will have to be made about whether to try to qualify in both — or focus on one race.”
Seniors Joseph Bleyer, Joseph Cozzi and Jeremy Carlisle and junior Luke Wolff also competed Saturday.
The 1,600 relay of Wolff, Cozzi, Carlisle and Flight was 11th (3:39.49) after winning the indoor CCL Meet (3:36.83). Bleyer was 10th in the 60 hurdles (8.75) after third at indoor conference (8.78).
At the 2014 sectional, Bleyer barely missed a top-two sectional finish in the 110 high hurdles to automatically advance to state. He was third (15.94) and just .10 from second. Junior Shawn Davis, the event’s sectional champion and state qualifier for the Friars, transferred to Hinsdale South.
“Joseph returns as one of the top hurdles in the CCL and 2A. (The 1,600 relay also) has a great chance to qualify for the state meet,” McKinley said.
Other varsity returnees are seniors Alex DeRouin, Austin Gharib, Robert Schaeffer and Jon Thomas. Wolff and juniors Greg Dimailig, John Gartland, Sean Goldman, Guy Hirsch, Matt Lyons, Patrick Mackie, Riley Mullen and Dane Reese are varsity newcomers.
While the varsity Friars were seventh at the indoor CCL Meet (45 points), 14 points from third, they won the frosh-soph title 108-104 over Providence – Fenwick’s first indoor conference title on either level.
Frosh-soph champions were sophomore Anthony Pasquesi in long jump (19-3 1/2) and triple jump (39-10 1/4) and the 3,200 relay of sophomores Patrick Barnett, Brendan Copp, James Brosnan and Alex Marks (9:08.15).
Other top-three finishers were sophomores Jack Darrow, William Flaherty and Sean McGee and freshmen Lorente Blakeney, Lorenzano Blakeney and Nick Tolimieri. Pasquesi (pole vault), Marks (1,600), Darrow (3,200), Tolimieri (200) and the 1,600 relay (McGee, Lorente Blakeney, Barnett and Marks) were second.
As a freshman, Pasquesi set a sophomore-level school record in long jump (20-3) and was seventh at sectionals (19-3).
“We had many champions on the lower level (at indoor conference) and I’m sure they’ll advance to be high scorers on the varsity level for years to come,” McKinley said.