DIXON – All JD Gieson needs to do is fly a little closer to the fire, and he'll keep breaking Dixon hurdles records.
The Dukes' specialist broke the sophomore marks in both the 110 and 300 hurdles during the Northern Illinois Big 12 track and field meet Friday at A.C. Bowers Field.
His 15.68 in the high hurdles and 41.08 in the intermediates were both good for second place and helped the Dukes tie for fourth place with 58 points. Kaneland ran away with the title, scoring 149 points, 54 greater than runner-up DeKalb's 95. Sterling was eighth with 25, a point behind Yorkville.
If Gieson wasn't such a talented leaper, too…
"I didn't touch any of the hurdles [during the 300], and that's almost the problem," he said. "I need to get a little lower. Flying over them takes a little bit of time off."
But he turned bronze into silver in both races with his lean in the final few meters.
"At the end, when you get over that last hurdle, your last chance of getting anything extra is giving as much as you can on your lean in the end," Gieson said.
From Lane 2, he fell behind the 8-ball until he rounded the curve just past the midpoint.
"When I came through that curve," Gieson said, "I kept popping 'em, caught up and just kept reeling."
Unfortunately for Geneseo's Justin Seeley, he clipped the last hurdle, and Gieson took advantage. After setting both of the freshman hurdles records last year, he first broke the 300 sophomore record Friday night. The 110 was already his after he set it Monday.
"I still got some work to do," Gieson said. "I need to get lower and a little quicker between them."
But one Duke perhaps had an even more remarkable finish. Senior Roy Hummel, in his last individual race on his home track, moved up from sixth to second in the final 200 meters, even overtaking teammate Simon Thorpe in the final 20 meters for a time of 4:27.67, 16-hundredths faster than Thorpe's.
"Oh, shoot ... I don't know where that came from, either," Hummel said. "I think everyone's more excited than I am. I haven't even woken up yet. This is a dream."
He had no problem identifying where he went to tap what little reserves he had left.
"It's just heart, and all the sweat and tears I've put down on this track during practices," said Hummel, who earlier took third in the 800 (2:02.51). "This is my last race here. It's kind of emotional for me. You've just gotta dig deep. Remembering all the past memories I've had on this track and of this team…"
Thorpe took second in the 3,200 in 9:29.81, almost 20 seconds faster than the 2A state-qualifying cut. DeKalb's Marc Dubrick, who also took the 1,600 (4:23.72), posted a breathtaking 9:19.82 in the 3,200.
"It's hard to get mad about running fast," Dixon distance coach Kel Bond said shortly after the 2-mile race. "Nobody's run fast at state yet. [Dubrick] had an incredible night, though."
Junior Reid Deets took third in both the 100 (11.24) and the 200 (23.02), behind state regulars Dion Hooker of Sycamore and Brandon Cottier of Kaneland in both.
"Those are two of the fastest guys in the state," Bond said. "If we're close to them, we're doing all right."
Gieson might have added another silver, if not for nearly falling backward and instead stepping out of bounds during one of his long jumps. He settled for fifth (20-1 1/2).
Sterling senior Cornell Hartz, the top seed in the long jump, had a similarly frustrating night, placing third in both the long (20-4 1/2) and triple (41-4) jumps.
"If I had my mark down, I'm pretty sure I would've taken first in the long jump and higher in triple jump," Hartz said. "I'm still guaranteed one more meet. I'm just glad that this wasn't sectionals. It was not my night for jumps."
Hartz anchored the 800 relay team that added another bronze with a time of 1:33.67. Andrew Garcia, Bruce Terrance and Draque Penaflor joined him.
Seeing as how the seeding meeting projected Sterling 10th, Sterling coach Dennis Hartz was more than pleased.
"I've got a whole list of PRs, and going out there and doing your best is all we can ask for," he said.
Another two bite the dust
Sophomore hurdles records Gieson broke this week
110 – Tim Weidman, 1994, 15.64 (hand time)
300 – Brad Monk, 1999, 41.22 (hand time)
• 24-hundredths of a second is added to FAT times to calculate hand times