Boys track notes: East Aurora receives a much-needed lift from Isaiah Graham's win in the triple jump

Wednesday, May 9 2018 - Kane County Invitational (Boys)

Boys track notes: East Aurora receives a much-needed lift from Isaiah Graham's win in the triple jump

Rick ArmstrongThe Beacon-News

Isaiah Graham didn’t understand all the hoopla over last week’s 100th annual Kane County Meet. The East Aurora junior does now.

“I just moved here at the start of the school year,” Graham said. “It’s just another meet to me. Everyone else was like, ‘You have to do well in this meet because it’s the first time in forever it’s been held here.’

“So I do carry that weight with me, but I just don’t feel it as much as they would.”

The lanky Graham stepped up big for the Tomcats, who were hosting the second-oldest meet in the state for the first time since 2001 in their brand-new stadium that opened last fall.

East Aurora hadn’t held a home dual meet in eight years.

Not to worry. Thanks to East Aurora coach and meet manager Shane Gillespie, first-year athletic director Ben Williams and staff and volunteers, it was a success.

Graham, who transferred in from Glenbard West, did his part, too. He won the triple jump, going a personal-best 46 feet, 6 inches, which was well over his previous season high of 42-7.

“I had the 42 at our last meet but my steps were really, really off,” Graham said. “I jumped from something like four feet behind the board on that one so it was actually more like a 46 (foot jump).”

He was on the mark at the county meet, and his individual win was the first for the Tomcats since Desmond Gant won the 200 meters in 2014. Those are the only two event wins since 2004 for a once-proud program that has fallen on hard times.

It’s hoped the new facility will help provide a boost for the Tomcats, who have won more team titles (25) than any other school in the county meet.

Graham made the winning jump on his first attempt. It ranks as the second best triple jump in Class 3A this season. On his second attempt, he landed awkwardly and developed muscle spasms in his back.

As a precaution, he withdrew from the open 400 and 1,600 relay to avoid further injury.

This week, he has improved, but he was debating whether to sit out the triple jump at Thursday’s scheduled Upstate Eight Meet and Saturday’s St. Charles North Invitational. He wants to be healthy for next Thursday’s Plainfield South Sectional.

Graham has been to the state finals twice with Glenbard West, running relays both times. This year will be his first time in the triple jump at the sectional.

“He’s been a great addition to the program,” Gillespie said of Graham. “He’s been a workhorse. He had a strong indoor season and is a good student.”

Going long pays off: Dundee-Crown junior Adam Swanson had a hand in two wins at the county meet, taking the 800 in 1:56.39 and running the anchor leg of the 3,200 relay that placed first in 7:52.24.

Afterward, he was singing the praises of running cross country last fall for helping him set a personal best in the 800.

“Freshman year I ran a 2:02 in the 800,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about getting to state ever since, and now I’ve gone under 2:00 my last four times.”

His win at the county meet marked the first time he beat the state-qualifying time, which is 1:57.24 in Class 3A.

Among the best: Graham has company from around the area in the state rankings.

Listed among the leaders in 3A in their respective events are St. Charles East’s Charlie Wade, first in 400 in 48.68; Naperville Central’s Thomas Shilgalis, second in 1,600 in 4:10.70; Neuqua Valley’s Donovan Turner, first in 110 high hurdles in 14.27; West Aurora’s Camron Donatlan, tied for first in high jump at 6-10; and Huntley’s 400 relay, first in 41.79.

Twitter @RickArmstrong28