STREAMWOOD – The first 90 meters of the 400-meter relay, Jeremiah Evers felt fine.
Evers, a Batavia senior, suffered a strained left hamstring the first week of outdoor season. He wanted to test out how his leg was this time around at the final Upstate Eight Conference meet last week.
Batavia maintained its dominant form by repeating as varsity conference champions for the sixth consecutive year. West Aurora finished second, and St. Charles East in third. Geneva followed in fourth, and St. Charles North sixth.
Right before handing off the baton to Decorea McAlister on the third leg, Evers had to immediately stop.
"I ended up straining it again, and it popped," Evers said. "I [learned] from the first time that it happened 'don't keep going',"
Sam Conger, the anchor, was wondering why they were behind.
"I realized [Evers] probably pulled something," Conger said.
With sectionals looming on Thursday, Evers won't be available due to injury. Although, should the 400 relay qualify for state, he could potentially return.
In the meantime, Evers, a former varsity running back and four-year track runner, has thrust himself into recovery with trainers.
"I can easily say this is the best [track] team I've ever been on," Evers said. "This year, last year [and] all of my years at Batavia, it's been the best and the most exciting. I honestly wouldn't want to run for any other team."
Evers recently committed to the Wisconsin-Oshkosh for track.
Conger, a senior, took home first place in both the 110 and 300-meter hurdles.
Conger bested his usual time in the 110, a 14.6, with a 14.5 finish. After being out of hurdles for two weeks because of a tailbone injury and false-starting at the Kane County meet, Conger started a bit hesitantly.
"I think now that I got it out of my system, I'll be able to really shine out [at] the sectional meet this Thursday," Conger said.
In between the fourth and fifth hurdles, Conger said his jump was getting a little high over the hurdle and wasn't able get his trail leg as fast as he wanted to, but his speed between hurdles has been improving lately.
"I think that's what allowed me to get the time that I did," Conger said.
St. Charles East sophomore Bob Liking captured first place in the 3,200-meter race, establishing a personal record 9:30.74. Geneva second-place finisher Ryan Kredell completed the race at 9:42.35.
Liking and Kredell, from Liking's recollection, came in about 4:40 at the first mile.
"My coach told me to go, and I went and really didn't look back from there," Liking said.
Liking did not compete in track last season, as he pursued an opportunity on the freshman B baseball team. Liking ran cross country then, though.
The 3,200 is the only race Liking will run at sectionals.
"I think 9:30 as one second off the qualifying time [for sectionals]. At this point, I'm trying to keep consistent with that. I'm a little bit nervous right now. I'm sure I'm gonna get more nervous as the week goes on...hopefully have a good race on Thursday."