Jonathan Wilburn is just inches away from making history for the Evanston boys track program.
The ETHS senior chalked up the second best triple jump qualifying effort Friday at the Class 3A Illinois High School Association state track and field meet at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston and could be closing in on the first state title in that event in school history.
Wilburn, who placed 8th in the state in his specialty last year, ranks 2nd among the contenders for the state crown with a best leap of 46 feet, 5.75 inches during Friday’s prelims. Josh Boulanger of Brother Rice turned in the best jump at 46-7.25.
Preliminary jumps are counted toward determining state places during Saturday’s finals, although competitors can still improve with the final 3 jumps on Saturday.
Wilburn was the lone Wildkit entrant to advance to the finals. Hamstring injuries to senior Denzel Thomas and freshman Julion Michelin kept those two runners on the sidelines and the Wildkits were forced to adjust their relay lineups for the preliminary races.
Evanston failed to advance in the 3200-meter relay, where the team of Max Peterson, Joe Eovaldi, Jay Moran and Logan Singer was timed in 7 minutes, 58.72 seconds, a second and a half slower than the winning time for ETHS at last week’s sectional with Michelin in the lineup.
The Wildkits actually lowered their 400 relay time from the sectional to 43.43 on Friday, but the unit of Sacrad Michelin, Isaac Hunter, Wilburn and Will McMichael still fell short. In the 1600 relay, the foursome of Wilburn, Singer, Peterson and McMichael was eliminated with a 3:24.52 clocking.
Individuals who were sidelined included McMichael, 49.79 in the open 400; Sacrad Michelin, 22.63 in the 200 and 11.19 in the 100; Quentin Ivory, 40-0 in the shotput;, and Gabe Cheeks with a best long jump of 21-3.25.
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.