Barrington’s coaches had a feeling that the 3,200-meter relay team needed to bring home a win at the IHSA state track meet at Eastern Illinois University.
“About 10 minutes before the final’s run, (Barrington track coach) Ty Gorman used one of the available signs to write 7:44.8, so that the (relay team) could see it as they warmed up,” said Todd Kuklinski, Barrington’s head track coach. “We felt that this was the time that they needed to win, and it was as if (Gorman) saw into the future.”
Seniors Eric Schneider, Karl Eiring, Pat Managan and junior Erik Peterson comprised the 4x800 relay team, and although they did not hit the number Gorman prophesied, the relay runners could not get much closer – they finished with a time of 7:44.87, which earned second place.
Unfortunately for the Bronco runners, Gorman was not able to predict the stellar run by Minooka’s relay team. Minooka would take the top spot in the 3,200-meter relay with a time of 7:43.42.
“All the credit goes to Minooka,” Kuklinski said. “They did a fantastic job.”
The Bronco relay team began Saturday’s finals in fourth place after finishing second (behind Minooka again) in their heat during the previous day’s preliminaries with a time of 7:49.19. Barrington managed to shave 4.32 seconds from Friday’s qualifying time; however, Minooka, found more than five seconds on the track, propelling them to the gold.
Barrington’s silver-medal run helped the Broncos to end the May 28 state meet tied with six other teams for 28th place, earning 8 team points. Roselle (Lake Park) took first place as a team with 74 points.
The Broncos finished behind MSL opponent Prospect (11th place with 23 points) but ahead of other local teams, including MSL rivals Fremd (tied for 35th with 7 points), Hersey (35th) and Palatine (60th with 2 team points).
“Overall, the performances were impressive,” Kuklinski said of the team’s finish at the Class 3A state meet. “I was happy with the number of guys (that went) downstate, but we were hoping to get more through (to the finals).”
Peterson also ran the 1,600-meter race but was unable to advance past Friday’s prelims as he missed qualifying by just more than a second. Finishing 14th on Friday, Peterson needed better than 4:19.54 to advance but came up one spot short with his 4:20.68.
“(Erik) was hoping to make the finals, but doing that double (event) is tough,” Kuklinski said. “But you can’t be too upset when you have a medal around your neck.”
Peterson wasn’t the only Bronco failing to qualify for Saturday’s finals by just one slot as triple jumper A.J. Scarbrough (43-09.25) finished Friday’s prelims in 13th, but only the best 12 would advance (cutoff was 43-10.50).
“Nervousness may have had something to do with it,” Kuklinski said of the invaluable experience for the junior. “There is no coach around when you are on that big blue track run-up, but he handled it well.”
Barrington’s other relay team, 4x400, also failed to advance past Friday’s preliminaries. Ending their track careers at O'Brien stadium in Charleston Illinois were seniors Terrence Taylor, Tim Jaderholm, Dale Jno-Baptiste and Schneider with a time of 3:20.47.
"We will miss this group of seniors," Kuklinski said of all the seniors that hung up the sneakers at season's end.