CHARLESTON – The program for the boys state track and field meet features a picture of 2013 Newman graduate Nick Rude, flexing his muscles after winning a relay a year ago.
Rude, a top sprinter, led those Comets to a 1A team state title. His younger brother, Brady, is doing his best to make sure Newman is in the thick of things again when team hardware is passed out Saturday afternoon.
Brady Rude qualified for the finals in three individual events, and anchored a relay team in another, to lead the Comets to a strong first-day performance at the 1A state track and field meet.
Newman is in the finals in seven events (five individual, two relays), tying it with Teutopolis and Tuscola for second-most in the field. Aurora Christian, with eight, has the most.
Leading the way for the Comets was Brady Rude, who qualified in the 100 (11.34 seconds), 200 (22.38) and long jump (21 feet, 5 1/2 inches). Those performances would win most meets in the Sauk Valley. At state, he's in the pack, but he likes his position.
"It's a challenge," Rude said, "but kind of cool being the underdog. I'm just trying to establish myself with those guys who are running the top times in the state. I'm just trying to get better, and be where they are by the time I'm a junior and a senior."
Nolan McGinn went 42-6 3/4 in the triple jump, and currently stands eighth among 12 finalists.
In the 110 high hurdles, Regan Todhunter ran a personal-best time of 15.33 to earn a spot in the finals. He sliced .17 of a second off his previous best.
"I just think I like competing at bigger meets," Todhunter said. "Big meets always drive me a little bit harder than usual, and having a good start always helps too."
The 800 relay team of Micah Trancoso, McGinn, Ethan Nash and Rude won their heat with a time of 1:30.92. It was a season-best by .27 of a second.
The 3,200 team of Bryson Reyes, Quincy Coomes, Drew Rosengren and Trancoso earned the 12th – and final – qualifying spot with a time of 8:16.77.
• Brady Rude (100, 200, LJ)
• Nolan McGinn (TJ)
• Regan Todhunter (110 HH)
• 800, 3,200 relays