Boys Track finishes 16th @ IHSA State FinalsSaturday, May 27 2017
It was a record breaking weekend for the Boys Track & Field program. The Eagles made a lot of noise this weekend in Charleston, despite having only three state qualifiers. Nick Garcia started the weekend for the Eagles in the Pole Vault. Although he was competing in his first ever State Finals, the Senior looked comfortable and relaxed. Looking great in warm ups, he easily cleared his opening height of 13'0". Garcia appeared to clear 13'6" on his second attempt, but he brushed the bar on the way down. Unfortunately 13'6" proved to be an insurmountable barrier as the Eagle bowed out after 3 awesome attempts. Nick capped off an awesome senior campaign and an incredible Track & Field career. Nick is a team first guy who ran countless relays, scored points in the low hurdles, and even filled in for high and long jump. All of these performances were for the good of the team. Garcia waited in the wings behind All Stater Cooper Jazo and State Finalist Hayden Falls for two years. Finally getting his opportunity in 2017, Nick scored in every meet, including NLCC Indoor & Outdoor Pole Vault titles. Garcia will leave Lakes as the third best vaulter in school history.
Jeffrey Milostan continued the tradition of Lakes Track & Field athletes qualifying in the quarter mile. The first time trackster raced like a seasoned veteran on the blue oval. The junior was quick out of the blocks and clung to the field as the sped through the first 150m. While the field pulled away in the next 100m, Jeffrey mustered a fearsome kick down the home stretch. While he did not advance to finals, Milostan took home a personal best of 51.32 in the 1 lap affair. The experience showed Milostan that he certainly belonged. The junior is eager to get back next Spring with plans on improving his own records.
Cameron Ruiz entered the 2017 season as the defending Long and Triple Jump champion. Despite not having indoor jump facilities, Ruiz looked dominant from the get-go. The senior leapt 48ft on his second jump of the year. A 23ft mark in March proved that Cameron was ready for a title defense. Ever the team player, Cameron stayed under the radar running relays and open events on the track to help maximize team points. A dominant performance at Minooka saw Ruiz put up 38 points in his four individual events. However, a nagging hamstring injury prevented him from seeing the track until conference. Needing just one jump in each event, Cameron quietly qualified for the State Meet.
The 123rd State Track & Field meet in Illinois set the stage for a legendary performance. Cameron was up to the task, putting together easily the best jump sequences of his storied career. The Friday prelims saw Ruiz position himself in 2nd with a 23'7" Long Jump and a 48'7" Triple Jump. Never satisfied, Cameron knew there were improvements to be made. As Saturday finals approached, Ruiz looked deep within himself to unleash his competitive side. The defending champion was up to the task. With renewed vigor, he attacked each long jump as if it were his last. The end result saw Cameron take 2nd by 4 inches. While he was disappointed at the moment, it was clear the best was yet to come.
Before Cameron had taken a jump in the prelims, Lakes Athletic Director Kurt Rowells turned to the coaching staff with one request. Rowells asked that Cameron's jumps be video taped as he was going to break the state record. As the previous head coach, it was Rowells who had insisted the year before that Ruiz add the Triple Jump to his repertoire. The decision turned out to be golden. Although he had a commanding lead, it was clear that Cameron needed to put in more work during the final 3 jumps. Multiple competitors bettered their performance from the day before, including DaVion Cross who tied Ruiz with his first jump of the round. Motivated by finishing 2nd in the Long Jump, Cameron increased his lead by crossing the 49 foot threshold by half an inch. Cross was not done as he challenged Ruiz yet again, by also clearing 49. The West Aurora senior had jumped within a quarter of an inch of the Lakes jumper. With pressure mounting, Ruiz sprinted down the runway and into history. Taking his 2nd jump of the final round, Ruiz gathered as much speed as possible on the runway and took off from halfway up the toe board. Soaring through the air on each successive step, Ruiz hopped, skipped and jumped far into the sand pit. Normally stoic during competition, the mild mannered Ruiz let out a primal scream as he knew it was a big jump. As the crowd gasped, scanning the distance, it was clear, something big had just happened. The runway was shut down and IHSA officials were called over to confirm the distance . . . 51'1" a new State Meet Record! The jump is currently the 4th best performance ever for an Illinois athlete and ranks #2 in the US. Facing his toughest challenge yet, Cameron Ruiz had come up clutch.
Cameron leave Lakes as an 8 time All State athlete with 3 state titles and one state record. In his career, he has scored 51.5 points at the state meet. He holds 3 school records (LJ, TJ, & 4x4) and has scored over 300 points during the regular season. Besides his accolades, Cameron is a great person. Case in point: he offered his greatest competitor (West Aurora's DaVion Cross) assistance as the fellow jumper struggled with injuries throughout the State Finals weekend. Not many individuals would offer aid at all, let alone in the heat of competition. Cameron is truly a gifted athlete and a special person. As he leaps on to an even bigger stage, he leaves behind gigantic footsteps at Lakes and across the state of Illinois.