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Boys track & field: Dukes finish eighth in 2A

CHARLESTON – Simon Thorpe was hoping to finish his storied high school career with a state championship, but it didn't quite happen.

The Dixon senior settled for second place in the 3,200, but led the Dukes to an eighth-place finish at the Class 2A state track & field meet that wrapped up Saturday at O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

Dixon scored points in four of five events it qualified for the finals in, and amassed 23 points. Cahokia won its fourth straight title with 90 points.

Thorpe, who finished seventh in the 3,200 as a junior, was one of the favorites coming into the race this year, and was in good position through two laps. He was in second place, in hot pursuit of the eventual winner, Glenbard South's Joe Singleton, but couldn't keep pace as the race wore on.

Singleton won in 9:19.48, and Thorpe (9:27.5) had to fight off Mascoutah's Noah Affolder (9:29.18) for second place.

"I was content with my race, but I envisioned winning it," said Thorpe, who was also a cross country standout at Dixon. "When [Singleton] made a move, I just didn't have any answers. I feel like I put it all out there."

Thorpe also ran the 1,600, and placed sixth with a time of 4:24.53.

Kylian Lally made the most of his one and only season on the Dixon track team. He placed third in the 800 with a time of 1:55.74, a personal best by .03 seconds.

"It feels good to make some noise down at state," Lally said. "It's my first year, and I'm pretty proud of it."

Lally was back in the pack after the first lap, but a surge around the first corner got him into second place, behind eventual winner J.D. LaFayette, who went on to set a 2A record with a time of 1:51.48.

"Going into that first curve, I knew I had to do something, because I didn't want to be back there with all those people," Lally said. "I was counting all the people in front of me, and I didn't want to get fifth or sixth."

Lally also teamed with Alex LaMendola, Matt Coffey and JD Gieson to place sixth in the 1,600 with a season-best time of 3:24.34.

"We actually just wanted to get on the podium," LaMendola said. "We didn't want to be on the grass. The grass is too hot for us. We wanted to be up on the wood. The wood is a lot cooler."

Gieson entered the long jump finals in ninth position after a preliminary-round leap of 20 feet, 8 3/4 inches. He didn't improve on that in the finals, and got passed by two jumpers to wind up 11th.

Gieson fouled on his first two jumps in the finals, then managed just a 20-5 on his final attempt.

"I had to move back to at least make sure I'd get a jump in," Gieson said. "I moved back a foot, and took off at least a foot behind the board. It was disappointing. You always just want to do it. You don't want to say, 'Oh, I've got next year,' because you never know."

Freshman distance runners Brayden Hamblen of Rock Falls and Jon Landis of Sterling competed in the 3,200. Hamblen finished 17th with a time of 9:53.89, while Landis was 21st in 10:00.59.

"I'm just happy that I made it to state," Landis said. "Not everybody gets to run here, so even if I didn't get a PR, I still feel like I accomplished something. I still feel like I did my part."

Top Dukes

• Simon Thorpe (2nd in 3,200; 6th in 1,600)

• Kylian Lally (3rd in 800)

• 1,600 relay team (6th place)

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