Naperville area athletes bringing their best to state finals

The sport of track and field has its completely disparate elements.

Stephen Hubona and Jon Harris will not be competing against either Ty Moss, Zac Espinosa or Sam Bransby this weekend at the boys Class 3A state finals at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

Hubona, the lone qualifier for Benet, and Harris, the Waubonsie Valley senior, have both been the regular-season leaders in the discus this spring.

The Loyola-bound Hubona uncorked the two longest throws of the season at a shade under 187 and 190 feet, respectively.

Harris’ career-best effort (180-3) at Wheaton Warrenville South early in the season was the state leader for all of one day.

But Hubona and Harris are the second and third seeds in the event this week after sectional-winning throws of 177-1 and 176-even.

“Both of them have a good chance to win it,” Waubonsie Valley throws coach Roger Einbecker said. “Each of them has pushed up 15 to 20 feet (since the start of the season).”

Hubona and Harris are ready for what promises to be a loaded field.

“I had a really good week of practice, which I haven’t had lately,” Hubona said. “I’m excited.”

Hubona, All-State last year in Class 2A, survived a star-studded sectional at Lake Park last week.

“That was definitely some tough competition,” Hubona said. “The hardest I have seen all year.”

Einbecker is also confident Harris’ preparation and mindset are ready to hit their zenith this weekend.

“He had the best week of practice, bar none,” Einbecker said. “He will make his best throws of the year this week. They may not be his best marks, but they will be his best throws.”

There is a very similar scenario developing in both the 400-meter run and the 1,600 relay.

Naperville Central’s Nebraska-bound senior Sam Bransby denied Neuqua Valley junior Espinosa by two-tenths-plus of a second to win the Joliet West Sectional last week (48.64-48.65 seconds).

But the Wildcats’ Espinosa came back to deny Bransby by three one-hundredths to give Neuqua Valley the second seed in the 1,600 relay at 3:19.07.

Moss turned in the third-fastest time for Neuqua Valley in the 800 (1:54.72) while also anchoring the Wildcats’ 3,200 relay (7:55.03).

Moss was also on the 1,600 relay for Neuqua Valley.

Bransby and Michael Jopes, the ninth seed in the 300 intermediate hurdles, are returning All-State members of the Redhawks’ 1,600 relay.

“We know we can run faster in the four-by-four than we did at the sectional,” Jopes said. “We are going to chase whoever is in front of us.”

Other top-medal contenders from the area include: Adam Peterson, Neuqua Valley, pole vault, seeded fifth, 14-3; Austin Parks, Neuqua Valley, triple jump, sixth, 45-6.5; Tyler Kirkwood, Waubonsie Valley, high jump, 10th, 6-5.

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