By Bob Balgemann

March has arrived and with that comes the hope of the warmer weather that accompanies the spring track and field season.

Harlem’s boys track team is winding down the return of the indoor track schedule that included competition against both the more familiar NIC-10 opponents, and those from outside the conference, including the Chicago suburbs.

Some of the invitational meets featured a large number of teams, such as the Jerry Lowe Invitational with 20 entries from northern Illinois and the suburbs. The Rockford Auburn Invitational had 18 varsity squads and 14 junior varsity teams. And the 13-team Huntley Invitational reached into the Joliet area, where Minooka made the trip north and went home with the championship trophy.

Events at some of the invitationals attracted many competitors, such as the Hononegah Indoor event where there were 68 participants in the shot put, 59 of whom were awarded a place and nine who scratched. Twelve of the place winners were from Harlem, led by junior Keshawn Harrington-McKinney, who tossed the 12-pound ball 47 feet, 6 inches, and took sixth place.

The list of Huskies in the shot numbered six juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. Those finishing in the Top 20 were junior Logan Lawson, 14th place, 36 feet, 6 inches; junior Tony Garza, tie for 16th place, 35 feet, 6 1/2 inches; and freshman Connar Penney, 20th place, 34 feet, 7 inches.

Other place winners were sophomore Santo Salinas, 32nd place; junior Darius Charles, 36th; sophomore Julian Medina, 38th; freshman Preston Smith, 46th; junior Gabe McNames, 47th; junior Dylan Wallin, 49th; freshman Brylien Gilbert, 56th; and sophomore Elijah Mack, 57th.

And as presumably was the case with other teams, Harlem athletes in both track and field events saw their times, heights and distances improve as the season progressed.

JVs are 3rd

In the Auburn Varsity/Junior Varsity Invitational on Feb. 19, the Huskies picked up their initial first-place event finishes of the season, both on the JV level.

Sophomore Dylan Malmgren had a hand in both of them, including the 4-by-800-meter relay. There, he teamed with freshmen Owen Recoy, Dominic Carlson and Nick Trycha to win with a time of 9:45.74, six seconds ahead of the runner-up. He also won the 800-meter run, clocked at 2:18.82. Dominic Cantarini of Galesburg was a close second, coming in at 2:19.36. Carlson was sixth in that event, in 2:24.37.

Team-wise the JV Huskies came in third, with 59 points. They trailed first-place Schaumburg (108) and runner-up Geneva (71), followed by Galesburg (40) in fourth; and West Chicago (33) in fifth.

For the JVs, freshman Leo Ramos was second in the 3,200-meter run, in a time of 11:34.31. The 4-by-400-meter relay team also claimed a second, with a time of 4:12.40. That team consisted of Malmgren, Trycha, Recoy and sophomore C.J. Chappell.

Trycha finished third in the 400-meter dash, clocked at 1:00.87. That was a close finish as well, with the winner timed at 1:00.19 and the runner-up at 1:00.37. Also finishing in the Top 20 for Harlem in the 400 were sophomore Tyler Halverson (1:09.33) in 15th; and sophomore Sammy Hodge (1:11.44) in 18th. Another third-place effort was recorded by sophomore Naihem Benson in the long jump, going 18 feet, 2 inches. Antonio Aguilera was 14th, clearing 14 feet even; Halverson was 15th with his effort of 13 feet, 6 inches.

In another field event, freshman Connar Penney was fifth in the shot put, with a throw of 35 feet, 3 inches. Junior Darius Charles claimed eighth, at 30 feet, 4 inches.

Also finishing in the Top 20 for Harlem was Benson, who took 14th in both the 200-meter dash, timed at 27.33 seconds, and in the 60-meter dash, in 8.19 seconds.

Team-wise, Schaumburg also won the varsity side of the Auburn Invitational, with 100 points. Geneva (72 1/2) was second; Rockford Christian (64), third; Aurora Marmion Academy (45), fourth; and Galesburg (43 1/2), fifth. Harlem finished 14th with 14 points.

Huskies finishing in the Top 20 were senior Devan Ortiz, fourth in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 3 inches; senior Tyrone Tyus, sixth in the long jump, reaching 18 feet, 9 inches; junior Eli Hernandez, seventh in the 3,200-meter run, with a time of 12:35.14; junior Tyler Wehde, eighth in the 400-meter dash, clocked at 59.16 seconds; and Tyus, 15th in the 60-meter dash, in 7.60 seconds.

Junior Kaden Davies was ninth in both the 39-inch, 60-meter high hurdles, at 12.62 seconds, and high jump, with a height of 4 feet, 9 inches; junior Logan Lawson was 11th in the shot, with a toss of 36 feet, 9 inches; and Halverson took 19th, his distance being 34 feet, 4 inches.

Harlem’s 4-by-400-meter relay team, made up of Aktanay Kwazdran, Wehde, senior Austin Durnil and senior Ethan Taylor, was sixth, with a time of 4:09.90. And the 4-by-200-meter relay, consisting of Taylor, Durnil, Tyus and Davis, came in ninth, at 1:42.65.

Earlier meets

The varsity Huskies opened the indoor season at Auburn, for the Jerry Lowe Invitational.

Senior Ethan Taylor led his team in this highly competitive meet by finishing sixth in the triple jump, totaling 36 feet, 5 inches. Ortiz tied for ninth in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 2 inches.

Those finishing in the Top 20 were Tyus, 12th in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.60; and senior Aktanay Kwazdran, 12th in the 1,600-meter run, in 4:58.92. Harlem’s 4-by-800-meter relay team of Kwazdran, Malmgren, Trycha and Carlson was 12th, timed at 9:45.52, while the 4-by-200 and 4-by-400 relay teams each finished 13th, with respective times of 1:54.83 and 4:32.02. The 4-by-200 was made up of Tyus, Benson, Ortiz and Taylor; the 4-by-400 consisted of Halverson, Coyne, Nick Eccles and sophomore Gabe Law.

At the equally competitive, eight-team Hononegah Boys Indoor No. 1 meet, there were some events with up to 100 entries such as the 60-meter dash and 200-meter dash.

Leading the way individually for the Huskies were Kwazdran, third in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:09.39; Ortiz, fifth in the high jump, reaching a height of 5 feet, 4 inches; Taylor, tied for sixth in the triple jump, totaling 33 feet, 9 1/2 inches; Benson, eighth in the long jump, clearing 16 feet, 10 1/4 inches; senior Austin Durnil, sixth in the JV 60-meter high hurdles, with a time of 11:06 seconds; Halverson, eighth in the triple jump at 29 feeet, 8 3/4 inches; and Davies, ninth in the high jump, at 5 feet even.

As previously stated, Harrington-McKinney was sixth in the shot put with Lawson in 14th, Garza tied for 16th and Penney in 20th.

Other finishes in the Top 20 were recorded by Malmgren, 10th in the 800 in 2:16.94; Davies, 11th in the 33-inch, 60-meter high hurdles, clocked at 12.80 seconds; and Taylor, 13th in the 60, with a time of 7.65 seconds.

There were three relay races with Harlem entering two of them. Its 4-by-400-meter team, of Durnil, Ortiz, Benson and Kwazdran, took sixth with a time of 4:08.24. The 4-by-200-meter team, consisting of Taylor, Davies, Benton and Tyus, was ninth in 1:45.79.

No team results were available.

The Huskies’ head coach is Jared Richardson.

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