Winnetka, Sports

LA jumper, NT trotter, NSCD runner are state runnerups; HP gets an All-Stater too

His work at state done, Loyola Academy senior Enoch Appiah-Kubi is ready for an epic summer vacation.

Appiah-Kubi was one of two local athletes, joining New Trier’s Ben Crane, who earned a pair of medals on Saturday in the IHSA Class 3A track and field finals at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Field.

Appiah-Kubi will be spending plenty of time in Charleston after committing to the Panthers. On this weekend, he was runnerup in the triple jump at 47 feet 5 inches and sixth in the long jump at 22-6 1/2.

Up next, a three-week trip to Ghana to visit extended family.

Given the 12-month commitment expected of a college athlete, “it’s either now or four years later,” Appiah-Kubi said. “I’m so excited, it’s about time.”

He was also pumped up about his showing at state. His long-jump mark, a personal best, came in Friday’s preliminaries and stood up well enough to put him on the medals stand.

Appiah-Kubi’s runnerup mark in the triple jump came on his final attempt on Saturday.

“A lot of delays (Friday). In terms of the triple jump I felt sluggish, I didn’t even have lunch,” he said. “So I was glad I was able to recover well and come out here and still produce on that last jump.”

Recovery also was key for Crane, a junior who took second in the 3,200 meters at 9 minutes 0.40 seconds and eighth in the 1,600 at 4:16.80.

“Coming into the season, I was feeling super confident,” Crane said. “I was coming off top-30 at the Foot Locker Nationals and then after my first two-mile of the season I tested positive for mono the next day.”

He missed almost the entire indoor track season and had to work hard to return to elite status. He still ran 30 minutes a day: “really slow miles.”

“It’s been such a grind,” Crane said. “But to have to take a bunch of weeks off and now to be All-State in two events — it’s such a blessing.”

Highland Park’s Russell Czerwinski clears the bar on his way to fifth place at the state finals.

Three more local individuals and one relay also earned medals.

In Class 3A, New Trier’s Tucker Anglemyer was fourth in the 400 with a PR of 48.92 seconds, Highland Park’s Russell Czerwinski took fifth in the high jump at 6-6, and Loyola’s 4-by-200 relay team of Emmanuel Ofosu, JT Kurtzweil, Mike Lyons and Nicholas Arogundade finished fifth in 1:27.81.

In Class 1A, North Shore Country Day’s Brian Smith was runnerup in the 400 at 50.19.

Anglemyer, who is committed to run at Providence, was pleasantly surprised to reach the awards stand.

“I came in probably seeded around 11 or 12,” he said. “So making the finals was great, and winning my (preliminary) heat. That gave me a lot of confidence to just go out after it in this race and I think that’s what I did.”

It was a case of all’s well that ends well for Czerwinski, who holds the HPHS record in the event.

“I was a bit tired,” he said. “I didn’t sleep much, a lot of nerves. But I was happy with my performance. Almost got my PR, it’s all good.

“My goal was to win state. I fell short, but coming from seventh in sectionals last year at 5-11 and having jumped 6-6, I’m very happy.”

Arogundade and his teammates were happy to cap an injury-plagued season with a medal.

“Our 4-by-2, this was the third time we ran together,” he said. “It’s nice to finish how we finished running this little (together). So I’m really proud of us.”

North Shore Country Day’s Brian Smith (left) in the Class 1A 400 finals on Saturday.

Smith believed he had a chance to excel at state and was glad to have his opinion justified.

“I really feel completed right now,” he said. “I just came in really locked in … so I was really hoping to be on the podium. … It is really just the opportunity that I had and the coaching that really got me to this position.”

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Mike Clark

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