Logan Singer has always admired the finishing kick that former Evanston track star Carl Klamm displayed during his record-setting career in a Wildkit uniform.
Now Singer could be next in line for the Kits as his successor in the 800-meter race where Klamm holds both the indoor and outdoor school records. But a mishap late in the race prevented the ETHS sophomore from shifting into a higher gear Saturday at the Lockport Invitational.
A collision with Minooka’s Jacob Swank with about 40 meters left in the race prevented a win by either runner and Singer still managed a personal best time of 2 minutes, 5.57 seconds while settling for third place.
That performance, and a victory in the 1600-meter relay, helped Evanston earn a fourth place finish in the team standings in the first serious test for the squad indoors at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. State powers Minooka (126 points), Plainfield East (92) and Edwardsville (85) beat out Evanston (72) in the 13-team field.
Singer still isn’t certain whether his future lies in the 800, 1600, 3200 or a combination of both. But veteran head coach Don Michelin recognized his toughness during the cross country season, when he was usually one of Evanston’s top finishers over three miles.
His leg speed might not match the legendary Klamm’s — at least, not yet — but that will have to be determined on another day.
“I thought I might win that race, because I expected some of those other guys to pass me halfway through the race. But they didn’t,” Singer explained. “Then that kid from Minooka tried to pass me (illegally) inside and he bumped me with his chest. I tripped up a little because of that, and it threw me off a little. I wasn’t able to really accelerate at the end of the race. It was rough.
“It was frustrating, but it was a learning experience for me. I still ran a personal best and I thought I competed well.”
With Swank (fourth in 2:05.60) and Singer knocked off stride, Plainfield East’s Josh George and Metamora’s Nick Bradshaw both surged past them and into the lead. Both runners were clocked in 2:05.24, with George declared the winner of the photo finish.
“I’m not sure Logan would have won, because those other guys were just lurking behind him,” said Michelin. “When you’re a sophomore on the varsity you need to deal with that varsity strength over the last 30 meters. But I’m pleased with his race, and with the way he went out strong. He ran tough.
“The 800 is definitely a spot we need to fill and right now the team needs him there. We had him doubling in the 1600 today just for strength to help him in the upcoming weeks. He’ll just get better and better wherever we put him, because the best thing about Logan is that he wants to be good, and he doesn’t mind working hard.”
“The coaches are testing me in different combinations of events so far, to see what works best,” Singer added. “Right now the 800 is definitely my best race and that’s what I ran mostly last year at the frosh-soph level. I ran 2:09 as a freshman and the coaches want be down around 2:01 by the end of the indoor season. It’s tough, but I’m trying as hard as I can.”
Evanston’s only win Saturday came in the final race of the day, as anchor man Michael Henry — a last minute addition to the lineup — held on after Roland Amarteifio, Babajide Bamgbose and Brian Daniels had provided an edge over the first three legs of the 1600 relay.
Evanston was clocked in 3:34.07 to 3:34.69 for runnerup Plainfield East. Amarteifio accounted for the best split at 51.54.
The Wildkits also raced to second place in the 800 meter relay behind Brad Garron, Amarteifio, Daniels and Jonathan Wilburn, in a quick 1:32.34. Thornton prevailed in that close encounter in 1:32.30.
Garron and Amarteifio, both returning state qualifiers for the Kits and expected to be the team leaders both indoors and outdoors, suffered close losses in the finals of the 200-meter dash and the 60 hurdles. Minooka speedster Brandon Adams nosed out Garron by a 22.79 to 22.92 margin in the 600, while Travis Anderson of Edwardsville edged Amarteifio 8.12 to 8.13 in the finals of the 60 hurdles.
“When both Brad and Roland finish second in their specialties, that shows you just how tough this meet is,” Michelin said. “This was a good meet for us, kind of a mini dress rehearsal for what’s ahead of us. The competition is really tough here.”
Also scoring top six individual finishes for ETHS were Wilburn, fourth in the triple jump at 42 feet, one-half inch; Bamgbose, fourth in the 60 hurdles in 8.59; Jared Jones, fifth in the high jump at 5 feet, 8 inches; Jonathan Connerly-Bey, fifth in the shot put at 47-4.75; Christian Neilsen, sixth in the shot at 46-5.75; and Henry, sixth in the open 400 in 54.29.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.