By Al ZIpsie

The Stateline had state champions in A.J Christensen of Forreston/Polo Coop in both hurdle events and Riley Wells of Rockford Christian in the 800 meters. Wells was also the anchor on the second place 1600 meter relay. The Stateline's only state champs came in 1A. Here is a recap of the  1A, 2A, and 3A boys state meet in Saturday's finals in Charleston.

Christensen, ended his prep career in style as a double champion, winning his first state title in the 110 high hurdles (14.37) and then taking the 300 Intermediate Hurdles also (37.97). He had come close and now he was the king of the hill in his signature events. Only the 300 hurdles 3A champion had a better time.

Riley Wells a junior won the 800 meters in a blazing 1:53.72 for Rockford Christian the state 1A runner-up. Christian had 44 points only six behind the state champion Colfax (Ridgeview). The battle came down to the last two events. Ridgeview had come up big with a second and a third in the 200 meters for 15 points. Rockford Christian then answered with a strong second in the last event the 1600 meter relay (3:23.67), with Jacob Kennay, Josiah Vogel, Skyler Blanton, and Wells. That would have been enough to win State, except for Ridgeview answered with four points of their own with a sixth place with Barr who had just finished second in the 200 running the last leg. Barr also had finished second behind Christensen in the high hurdles.

Rockford Christian had a strong base as they fought for the state title. They showed team strength by placing in all four relays. The 800 relay (1:29.64) was second and the 400 (43.10)  third, both with Kody Page, Kennay, Vogel, and Blanton. The 3200-meter relay was fifth.

1A. RC, did not score any points in the field events. The relays produced 28 of the 44 points. The other points came from Brent Brunner, sixth in the 1600 meters (4:29.23), and the 3200 relay anchor. Noah Fulcomer was ninth in the 100 high hurdles.

Foreston/Polo who had finished third place last year, led by Christensen ended up in seventh place with 27 points. Also from the NUIC, tradition-rich in the sprint relays Lena-Winslow was 12th (22 points) with 15 coming in relays. Christensen, won both hurdle events and joined Evan Kelsey, Brady Webb and Cailean Davids for a ninth-place medal in the last event the 1600 meter relay (3:29.45). Christensen, missed a fourth state medal when the 400 relay team had a false start DQ in the Thursday prelims. The Coop, also got a place in the state for the second straight year from junior Brady Webb, sixth in the long jump. Jace Coffey a sophomore eighth (150'7) in the discus.

For Lena-Winslow a stellar prep career ended for Rahveon Valentine. His senior year included a state championship in football, the second place in state wrestling at 170. In track, he capped it off a sixth in the 100-meter dash. Valentine was part of a second place finish in the 400-meter relay in 43 seconds flat. He was joined by Isaiah Bruce, Gaige Schwartz, and Ty Chrisman. The same four joined forces for a solid third place in the 800-meter relay in 1:29.99. The sophomore Bruce showed speed and strength. Besides the sprint relays, he placed seventh in the shot put 50'9.75.

Other Stateline State 1A medals came from Ian Hussung of Oregon fifth in the 1600 meters (4:26.33) and sixth in the 800 meters (1:56.57). Ninth places came from Max Sager of Pecatonica Coop in the 400 and Chandler Ellis of Winnebago in the 300 hurdles.

2A. The story of the State meet was Freeport's Deion McShane's injury Friday in the preliminary's. McShane, who had won all four of his events at Sectionals to give the Pretzels the team title. Was hoping his senior encore would come with four state championships. McShane, placed in all four events last year leading Freeport to a share of the 2A title. But, the chance of a state title was wiped out when McShane suffered a hamstring injury in the 110 meter high hurdles. His time of 15.08 did not qualify for the finals. He had qualified for the finals in the long jump before the injury and ended up with his ninth career state medal with a sixth-place leap of 21'11. He was looking for three more medals and state titles in the 110 high hurdles and 300 Intermediate hurdles and 200-meter dash. Freeport coach Alan Greene said it was McShane's decision to not risk further injury and could not run in the prelims in those events which took him out of Saturday's finals.

Junior teammate Jaden Johnson who has been chasing McShane all year did come up strong with a pair of fifth places in the 110 high hurdles and 300 hurdles. His times of in the prelims of 14.46 in the high hurdles and 39.73 were faster than those in the finals. He still had two strong finishes. Johnson won his Prelim heat over McShane in the prelims when he came up lame going into the fourth hurdle. He won his heat when McShane came up lame on the fourth hurdle but he still gutted it out to finish but not making the finals. The Pretzels senior Collin Heidenreich cleared 13'6 a school record in the pole vault but came up one place short of a medal.

McShane said had set the Illinois state meet record last year in the 300 in a 36.53. He was looking to top the National record this year. That time remains a school record as does his 110 high hurdle best of 14.11 earlier this season. McShane, will go down as one of the NIC-10 best all-time track athletes. His long jump could not break the lofty school record of Eric Bowers of 23'8.5 from 1992. And his 200, 21.9, was just short of Rufus Pearson's record of 21.5 which still stands from 1962. McShane last year at state had a first, two seconds and a fifth in the long jump. McShane won state three times, in both hurdle events as a sophomore and last year in the low hurdles. His three first go with his three runner-ups. It's sad he didn't get the chance to add to it this past weekend. McShane will be running track and playing football at Division 1 Northern Iowa.

3A. Only one athlete from the NIC-10 who made the state finals was Sebastian Gutierrez of Belvidere North in the high jump (6'3), who did not place.


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