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Thode's 3,200 thriller sets the pace at Conant
By Jeff Newton | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 5/9/2009 12:01 AM

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During the 3,200-meter run in the Class A division at the 35th annual Ron Gummerson Cougar Track Classic at Conant Friday night, Conant coach John Powers couldn't help but to be a bit in awe while watching senior Jeff Thode run.

"I was at the line taking splits and his first 5 laps were all in 66," Powers said. "To watch him do that was pretty remarkable."

Thode finished off that remarkable run nicely. His time of 8:51.3 was not only good enough for school meet and stadium records, but the time is also the fastest time ever run in the Mid-Suburban League.

"I was trying to get as close to 8:40 as I could," said the Iowa-bound Thode. "I knew this would be tough on my body, but I wanted to go out and get our school record and I got that tonight so I am pretty happy."

The victory was one of four on the track for the Cougars as the hosts piled up 154.5 points to finish fourth overall. Conant did score the most points in the Class A division with 73. Maine South won three events in the "A" division and won the team title with 187 points.

Thode completed his long night with a short run as a member of the Cougars 1,600-mter relay team. Kevin Reddington, Dan Akinola and Kyle Reid teamed with Thode to run a season-best 3:27.0.

Reid was a multiple winner for the Cougars. He was the best of the best in both hurdles races taking the 110 high hurdles in 14.5 and the 300 intermediate hurdles in 39.0.

"Tonight was a good night for me in the 100 high hurdles," said Reid, who just signed to run track at Iowa next spring. "I feel like I can go faster in the 300 intermediate hurdles."

One runner that benefitted from the fast pace in the 300 intermediate hurdles was Prospect senior Marcin Kwieck. He had the lead for most of the race before Reid got him at the turn and took control down the stretch. Kwieck finished second in a personal best 39.8.

Conant started the night well by capturing the 3,200-meter relay. Sean Chaudhari, Ryan Moeller, Tyler Schneider and Reddington ran 8:18.3 to hold off a hard charge from Naperville Central (8:19.3).

"Our distance guys really stepped up and ran well for us tonight," Powers said. "We have some good depth there and the kids stepped up and did a nice job."

Other Conant winners in Class B were Ben Anderson in the 3,200-meter run and Pablo Ramirez in the 800-meter run. The Cougars' Class C winner was Alex Miller in the 3,200.

Prospect used Friday night to start getting ready for the championship season that starts next week. Senior Matt Babicz was solid in the throws, capturing the shot put (55-1) and the discus (162-1). The Knights' only other event winner came in the Class C mile where Pat Ford took home first-place honors in 4:32.4.

Illinois-bound senior Chris Hayek ran a season-best time in the 800-meter run. Hayek finished second with a mark of 1:55.7. The Knights placed fifth in the team standings with 125 points.

Naperville Central's Aaron Petty provided the Redhawks with their only winner as he captured the high jump with a best mark of 6-6. The Redhawks placed seventh overall.