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Lake Park's Kline eats up the competition at Fremd
By Marty Maciaszek | Daily Herald Staff

Lake Park's Jeremy Kline lets the discus fly as he competes in the Fremd boys track shot and discus invite at Fremd High School in Palatine on Thursday.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Mark Welsh/mwelsh@dailyherald.com Rolling Meadows' Jared Diaz lets the discus fly over 165 feet on this throw at the Fremd boys track shot and discus invite at Fremd High School on Thursday.

 

Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/15/2010 11:01 PM

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Before he went to chow down, Jermaine Kline stopped in the discus ring at Fremd for a brief refresher on getting his form down Thursday.

It didn't look as if the Lake Park junior had any reason for concern at Fremd's annual spotlight event on some of the state's best in the shot put and discus.

And there was a lot for Kline to enjoy - including the post-meet hamburger feast and the king-size Snickers bars to the top five - in what Fremd coach Jim Aikens calls "a celebration of throwing."

Kline launched a personal-best in the discus of 195 feet, 7 inches and followed it with a 62-6 in the shot to win both events.

"I thought today was sort of a bigger day (than most meets)," said Kline, who had thrown 185 in the discus this season and 63-6 in the shot. "All the throwers were trying their best to see what happened and it turned out very good."

Kline topped two-time state discus champion Alex Thompson (188-2) of Winnebago, who won the 1A title last year and is headed to Wisconsin on a partial scholarship.

Kline hit 185-7 and 186-10 on the first two of his five throws, popped his best on his fourth and finished with a 193-7.

"When I walked out there I thought, 'Whoa, I didn't think I was going to get it that far,'" Kline said. "I worked the first two at 80 percent and I was going to build up from there.

"I worked on keeping the disc up. Coach (Bob Nihells) said keep it up and I kept it up."

Kline also threw 62-5 and 61-101/2 in the shot. His twin brother Jeremy took second in the shot put at 59-21/2 and third in the discus at 177-3.

Geneva senior Frank Boenzi didn't do as well as he wanted in the discus (158-6) but more than made up for it in the shot put by taking third with a personal best of 59-2.

All four of Boenzi's marks (57-11, 57-7, 56-4) exceeded his previous best of 55-5. He also surpassed the 58 feet thrown by his dad Frank, who finished sixth in the state in 1985 at St. Joseph and competed at Western Illinois and Illinois State.

"When I didn't do so hot in the discus it got me mad," the younger Boenzi said of his first trip to the Fremd meet. "It's great competition and it brings out the best in everyone. I was pretty excited about it.

"My dad has been bugging me about his record so I had to beat that."

Waubonsie Valley's Andrew Szott took fourth in the shot at 58-71/2 and had three other throws between 56-81/2 and 57-11.

This was also a chance for Rolling Meadows senior Jared Diaz, who hasn't been to state and competed in gymnastics as a freshman, to get a taste of top-level competition.

Diaz got into the meet after throwing 156 feet in the discus last week and finished fifth Thursday with a personal-best 165-5.

"It was a good atmosphere and good practice going against the best people in the state," Diaz said. "It was pretty nerve-wracking. You don't want to mess up and you want to show people you're actually good and deserve to be here."

Former Meadows coach and girls athletic director Jim Voyles was helping Diaz on Thursday and thinks bigger and better things are ahead.

Diaz is going to Eastern Illinois and said if he throws 170 in the discus and 53 in the shot then he'll have a chance at scholarship money. He's also looking to break the 30-year-old school record of 170-10 by Carl Hannenburg.

"I told him, 'You can throw 180 feet. It's not even remotely out of the question,'" Voyles said. "Every one of his throws was about 87 percent of a complete throw. I think he's on the brink of a huge breakthrough."

Huntley senior Marcus Popenfoose, who was second in the state in 3A last year in the shot and discus, was unable to compete this year because his team had to make up a postponed meet.

But Aikens continues to have more and more individuals and teams wanting to get into the meet. Justin Barber of Homestead (Wis.), located in the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon, was fourth in the discus (173-1) and fifth in the shot (57-2).

Thompson is glad he made the 75-mile trek from Winnebago to Palatine the last two years.

"It gives a Class A thrower like me a chance to compete against some really good guys," Thompson said. "You get to hang out with them and joke around and have fun.

"I was surprised (last year) at the music and burgers. It was a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be and that's what makes it such good competition."