As one of the youngest members of the No. 1 track family in Evanston, there’s a lot of weight on Sacrad Michelin’s shoulders.
Not to mention the weight on his foot. But Michelin survived a freak accident at home and came off the disabled list to lead the Wildkits to their fourth straight Central Suburban League South division championship Friday in chilly conditions for competing at Maine South’s track.
Michelin, a sophomore, won the 200-meter dash in an eye-opening 22.38 seconds, tied for second place in the 100 dash and ran on two championship relay teams in the first big postseason test for a sprinter who is starting to make a name for himself after being known mostly as Enyaeva Michelin’s younger brother.
Evanston claimed 8 wins overall and ran away with the team title, racking up 174.5 points to runnerup New Trier’s 123. Maine South (86), Niles West (70), Glenbrook South (67.5) and Niles North (31) followed in order. Evanston’s title marked its 10th in the past 11 years as head coach Don Michelin — Sacrad’s grandfather — welcomed him back into the lineup.
Sacrad Michelin missed last week with a foot injury that threatened to sideline him with the three biggest meets on the spring schedule — CSL South, sectional and State — left on the slate.
“What happened was that my closet actually landed on me,” said the sheepish sophomore. “There was a weight on top of where I hang up my clothes — it’s not actually a closet, it’s a bar — and when my Mom told me to hang up my sweater, I dropped the hangar onto the bar and it completely collapsed. I have no idea why that weight was up there.
“I had to miss the Thornton Classic last week, but after I found out that my foot wasn’t broken, I was pretty confident I could come back and run well today.”
Michelin’s win in the open 200 was significant because it came in windy and chilly conditions, and his time was just 2-10ths of a second off the state qualifying time. He was also clocked in 11.39 in the 100, where New Trier’s Jonathan Taylor earned the win in 11.38.
Michelin teamed up with Isaac Hunter, Jonathan Wilburn and Denzel Thomas to take top honors in the 400 relay in 43.94, and combined with Hunter, Julion Michelin and Thomas for a winning time of 1:31.82 in the 800 relay.
Evanston also counted first place finishes from Davis Patterson in the pole vault (13 feet even), Will McMichael in the 400 (50.52), Gabe Cheeks in the long jump (20 feet, 11.5 inches), Logan Singer in the 800 (1:57.68) and the 1600 relay team of Ayoub El-Ashmawi, Singer, Julion Michelin and McMichael with a time of 3:29.83.
Contributing seconds were Max Peterson in the 800 (1:59.78), Quadre Nicholson in the 300 hurdles (41.43), Wilburn in the long jump (19-11.5) and Matt Caines in the triple jump (42-10). Wilburn, a senior who was seeking to become only the third male track athlete ever to win four consecutive conference titles in an individual event for ETHS, instead settled for third in the triple jump at 42-6, just 4 inches out of first place.
“This was a great team effort,” said Don Michelin. “Everyone digging down and feeling good about doing their part is what the Orange and Blue is all about. They bought into the idea that every man’s point counts (toward repeating as team champ).
“Sacrad led us in scoring tonight, and he’s really just following in the shoes of his sister. That 22.38 in this cold weather is pretty impressive for a sophomore on the varsity. And his body is still behind where it should be maturity wise. Next year he’ll be a lot stronger.”
Singer, who achieved a breakthrough when he won the half-mile at last year’s CSL South meet, defended his crown with a faster-than-expected time in windy conditions and finished with a season-best clocking. He actually played the gusting winds to his advantage around the final turn, after the breezes had died down at the start of the race.
“I went into the 800 a bit more relaxed this year,” said the senior standout, “but you can’t ease up because of what you did last year. I was thinking that I just wanted to run my hardest and I’m really happy with what happened as far as the time.
“The way I remember it is that the wind wasn’t really that bad for my race, and I was able to finish with a good last 200 partly because it was windy at that point. Everyone on the team stepped up and did what they had to do tonight.”
McMichael earned his first conference championship in the 400, just off his season best time of 49.88.
“I was sick with a cold last year and didn’t run at this meet,” he recalled, “so I’m really excited to win this. I came into this year with higher goals, to continue on in the sectional and at State, so now I’m one step closer to my goals. I’m still trying to get into that 48 (second) range, and hopefully I can do that on a warmer day. I’m looking to get to the low 49s at least at the sectional.”
Dennis Mahoney is sports information director for ETHS.