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Jones' Jamison Dale leads in the last lap of the 1,600-meter run. Dale won the race and was part of Jones' victorious 3,200 relay team. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
A year ago, Lane came out of nowhere to win a state title in the Class 3A 3,200-meter relay.
Could it happen again for the Public League?
The odds are looking a lot better now that Jones ran Illinois’ fastest 3,200 relay this outdoor season, clocking in at 7 minutes, 54.80 seconds Saturday in the Public League finals at Hanson Stadium.
Not a bad effort for a team with three sophomores — Benjamin Boswell, Kyle Maloney and Mark Protsiv — joining senior distance ace Jamison Dale in breaking the 35-year-old meet record of 8:02.5 set by Lane.
Dale was a new addition to the quartet and his closing burst was just what the Eagles needed.
“Our sophomores killed it last week at Prospect,” said Dale, who came back to win the 1,600 later in the day. “So we knew we could do some damage. We’ve always had the potential to break eight [minutes] ... today we finally crushed it. It feels great.”
Dale then won the 1,600 in 4:20.81 with teammate Luke O’Connor (4:22.68) second. “We executed exactly the way we wanted, to make a move the second lap,” Dale said. “I feel like my training has been going well, I’m racing well lately. Last week was a killer week for me, so that was good.
“I need to work on my last lap or 200 [meters]. That’s where [St. Ignatius’ Jack] Keelan always beats me.”
The other meet record came in the 300 hurdles, where North Lawndale’s Imani Payton ran a 39.17. Eventual state champ Jonathan Jackson of Lane set the old record of 39.28 three years ago.
Payton also won the 110 hurdles in 15.16 and ran a leg on the winning 400 relay team (42.92), but the 300s are his bread and butter.
“I feel like I pick up more speed as I run,” he said.
Payton’s teammate, Terry Magee, also was a triple winner with firsts in the 100 (10.99), 200 (22.52) and 400 relay. A good day, considering he still doesn’t feel 100 percent healthy.
“I had a high ankle sprain in football which lasted longer than I imagined,” Magee said. “And I had a hamstring [injury] before that.”
Brooks’ Malik Lee won the 800 in 1:56.11, No. 4 on the state outdoor leader board this season.
“I was just reacting to how the other runners [were] running,” Lee said. “I was pretty conservative till the last 200.”
Young’s Joseph Toye, was the meet’s other double winner in individual events, taking the high jump (6 feet, 5 inches) and triple jump (45-9.5).
Lane captured the team title 111.5-103 over Young with 3,200 runner Marcelo Burbano (9:30.45) and shot putter Abraham Deleon (47-8.5) taking firsts. North Lawndale (72), Jones (52) and Brooks (43) rounded out the top five teams.