STERLING – The Dixon boys track team received some reinforcements,, and they came in handy Saturday in the Northern Illinois Big 12 Indoor conference meet.
The Dukes finished in second with 68 points, behind a dominant Kaneland team that racked up 130 points at Westwood Sports Complex. Sterling finished in eighth place with 24 points.
"We have the talent, and had a good chance to take first," Dixon coach Bruce Luther said. "We saw a lot of advancements, and we will be able to drop time and we will improve. I'm happy that we got second. Kaneland is a solid team, they always have been. They set the standard, and we are trying to beat the standard."
A key runner and jumper for Dixon was JD Gieson, who finished second in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 10 1/2 inches. He followed that by winning the 60-meter hurdles over rival Kaneland's Dylan Nauret. Gieson's time of 8.64 seconds bested Nauret by a slim .04.
"It's a really good thing, and it's giving us a good look of what is to come," Gieson said. "We didn't have everything go our way, but overall to finish second is still a real good positive outlook.
On top of earning 18 points for the Dukes, Gieson has also been at the center of recruiting both basketball players and wrestlers to come out for track. While those recruits have only been at practice a week, they do have a potentially bright future.
"We got some new guys in here that are going to do some good things now," Gieson said. "We can fill the events and really give Kaneland some competition. I kind of helped to get the basketball guys out. I told them how much they could increase their speed, strength, and conditioning as well."
While the Dukes competed for the championship, the Warriors took this meet as a chance to see where they stand.
"Traditionally we don't put a huge emphasis on scoring as many points as we can at the indoor meet," said Sterling coach Dennis Hartz. "I am hoping to move quite a ways up when we go out doors."
Sterlings' highest finish was a second place, which was taken by their 800 relay team.
They handily won their heat, and then watched as their time gradually moved up. With a time of 1:38.84, they were 3 seconds, and three places behind the winners, Kaneland. Sycamore, Dixon and Dekalb were all disqualified for various reasons, which boosted the Warriors into their second place finish.
"Again, this Northern Illinois Big 12 conference is one of the toughest 2A track conferences in the state," Hartz said. "We saw a lot of individuals here today that will place very high at state, so it's a very high-quality meet. You have to realize that getting a second, third, or even a fourth-place finish is almost as good as winning an event."