Boys track and field: St. Charles North's Duncan flies to Peterson record
Josh Duncan is the new 100-meter dash King of Illinois.
Duncan, a St. Charles North senior, can actually claim a few accolades upon leaving the 50th annual Peterson Invite hosted at Kaneland on Saturday.
With his blazing 10.59-second finish, Duncan bested Quincy's Jettason Rose's previous state-leading time of 10.74 seconds, per Athletic.net. It also narrowly broke the Peterson Invite record of 10.6 seconds set by Cary Chandler from Luther South back in 1983.
"Last year, I suffered a [minor right hamstring strain]," said Duncan, a returning state qualifier. "I was in a dark place for a while and I didn't really see myself back here last year, so just being able to come here today and run to my fullest capacity, make my teammates proud, make all the people that support me proud, it means a lot."
Duncan also earned a victory in the 200 (21.87 seconds).
Duncan, an Army-West Point recruit, suffered the hamstring strain at last year's Kane County meet. While a challenge to manage, he was able to push himself to reach the state finals and run the 4x100 to win fourth.
Duncan has learned to not dwell on the past, but instead, look toward his future.
"I'm grateful that it happened," Duncan said. "At the time, I didn't see it [that way but I'm now moving forward]."
St. Charles North won the invite as a team with 106 points with Kaneland (96) and Sycamore (89) rounding out the top three.
The North Stars also earned individual victories from Bryce Thomas, who won the 300 hurdles in 42.16 seconds. Paolo Gennarelli won discus with a 49.64-meter effort and was second in shot put (18.05 meters).
North Stars senior Joey Santoro emerged as the 3,200-meter champion with a 10:03.85 finish.
Santoro, shortly after finishing, pointed toward the stands to acknowledge family in attendance. It's a long time coming for Santoro, who has battled shin splints his first two seasons and knee injuries as a junior.
"Last year, I was an 18:50 at the start of cross season and earlier this season, I put out a 9:58," Santoro said. "It's just special to me because I've had a lot of things going on with me."
Former teammate Noah Eng was a source of motivation to get him on track.
"He basically told me: 'Dude, I know what you're able to do and I want you to start doing good mileage and putting in the work,'" Santoro said. "He took me under his wing to keep going. Couldn't have done it without him. That's what really pushed me to keep going."
Santoro's grandfather also passed away when he was younger, and "it fuels [him] every single race."
The combination of all the life challenges is a motivator to what he's accomplishing now.
"It's just what makes every single time I run now special because I'm finally running healthy," said Santoro, who runs approximately 60 miles per week.
Kaneland was paced by second-place finishes from Christian Phillips in the 3,200 (10:05.66) and Sam Gagne in the 400 (52.27 seconds), which was a personal-record.
Lucas Bass placed second in long jump (6.31 meters) and fourth in triple jump (12.83 meters), while the Knights' best relay finish was third in the 4x400 (3:32.12).
Gagne, now in his second track season, knew he needed to be a leader and a role model.
"I just kicked things into gear and I've got the best coaches in the [Interstate Eight] conference pushing me every day and making me the best I can be," Gagne said. "I got to give all the credit to them because they're turning me into a decent sprinter."
Batavia, while placing fourth, won the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. The Bulldogs bested their own Invite 4x200 record with a 1:29.04 finish. Jalen Buckley, the top triple jumper in the state, cruised to a 14.21-meter first-place finish. Nicholas Fortino prevailed in pole vault with a 4.41-meter display.
Geneva's Brady Ahren won the 1,600 meter dash (4:33.61).
DeKalb senior Toriano Tate won long jump (6.7 meters). Tate is the second-ranked long jumper in Illinois, and manages to keep expectations that come along with that in check.
"My family preaches 'hard work wins' so stay focused and work hard," Tate said. "My brother [Tony] installed the mentality early for me to just work for what you want and don't give up on your dreams.
Tony Tate, the Western Illinois standout wide receiver, declared for the NFL Draft.
Toriano Tate, in specific with long jump, wants to be "better than [his] brother]."
"He's got the school record for long jump. He jumped 24 and 1/2."
DeKalb placed seventh as a team.
Sycamore won the 4x800 relay (8:25.69), was second in the 4x400 (3:31.56) and third in the 4x200 and 4x10, respectively.
Sycamore's Matthew Lojko won 110 hurdles (15.98 seconds) and was second in 300 hurdles (43.46).
"It's my last year, you know? I want to make sure I leave the biggest mark I can," Lojko said. "We've got a lot of young hurdlers and I want to be able to be a leader for them and prove myself for this whole season."