One for the Sages: Schroeder, relay shine
CHARLESTON — Under different circumstances, Monticello's Steve Schroeder might have been upset with himself for not breaking the Class 1A record in the 3,200-meter run at the IHSA state finals.
But on Saturday, Schroeder was all about getting wins and accumulating points for his team.
He held up his end.
Schroeder won the 3,200, finished second in the 1,600 and ran the anchor leg on the state-championship 3,200 relay team in leading the Sages to a third-place team finish at Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Stadium.
The Sages finished four points behind champion Chicago Leo (35 points) and three behind runner-up Newton. St. Joseph-Ogden was fourth (30), and Villa Grove finished tied for fifth (28).
"I realize that if I'm going to achieve everything I want to achieve placewise at this meet, I need to be tactical, not fast," Schroeder said. "In the end, I talked about it with my coach. What does a record really mean? It's just what kind of person are you to do what you can for your team. If this is a proving ground to tell people who I am, I want them to know the team is what's important to me. I love my comrades in battle. I want to sacrifice for them, they want to sacrifice for me and we did today. Things are going very smoothly today for the Sages."
Schroeder won the 3,200 in 9 minutes, 39.10 seconds. He had his sights set on the 1A record of 9:10.56, but with so much on his plate and temperatures in the mid-90s, Schroeder thought better than to overexert himself.
His day started by joining Tim Easton, Andrew Hanselman and Jesse Galaway in winning the 3,200 relay (8:01.08).
"Schrade did a great job; we were coming into this race optimistic," Hanselman said. "We ran an 8:10 on Thursday, and we all felt like we had a little bit more. We ran better splits in that, and we were coming in hoping for the best. We made it a point to make sure we kick at the last 150 (meters). We were right there at the end, and we all did what we needed to do today.
"It's indescribable, it really is. Being here with your teammates, there's nothing better. There's only so many things in life that will give you this feeling of what we have here."
Later, Schroeder made up for the disappointment he suffered last year in the 3,200. As a junior he led that race coming down the last straightaway before he ran out of gas and was edged at the finish line.
"My strategy was to open up enough of a gap where I wouldn't have to expend too much energy in the last few laps," Schroeder said.
Schroeder ended his day, and his career, by finishing second in the 1,600, a race in which he finished 12th last year. Of Monticello's 31 team points, Schroeder had a hand in 28.
Daniel Welling was seventh in the high jump (6 feet 3 inches). Vinny Strack finished seventh in the 110 hurdles before an official ruled his trail leg went around a hurdle and not over it. He was disqualified.
"I think his career speaks for itself. It's been in the papers and all that. It's been incredible. He's done a lot of things, and for me to sit here and list them all wouldn't make sense; it speaks for itself," Monticello coach Jeff Butler said. "That opportunity is available for every kid that comes through, but he took it and ran with it.
"There's not too many kids that will do what he did, to put in the time and effort to becoming the athlete he did. That's not normal, but it's available for every kid. Other athletes see that and not just the track athletes. The football guys, the baseball guys, they see that if they put in the time, maybe they can do things like him. It's been neat, it really has."
Schroeder, the 2012 IHSA cross-country state champion, initially signed to continue his running career collegiately at Notre Dame. However, he recently accepted an appointment from the United States Naval Academy and will report at the end of June.
"I've wanted to become a Midshipman at the Naval Academy since the beginning of sophomore year. I had a decision between Notre Dame and the Naval Academy, and I realized that's what I wanted. How could I go wrong with something I've wanted for so long?" he said. "My interest right now is to do the languages major, probably Russian. I'm going to compete for their cross-country and track programs. That's a goal of mine, I want to do well and hopefully get better. Beyond that, who knows. We'll see how college goes."
Class 1A medalists
School Individuals Relays Total
St. Joseph-Ogden 4 1 5
Monticello 3 1 4
Villa Grove 4 0 4
Unity 2 1 3
Tuscola 0 2 2
Argenta-Oreana 1 0 1
Ridgeview 1 0 1
Salt Fork 1 0 1
Urbana Uni 1 0 1
Class 2A medalists
Mahomet-Seymour 3 1 4
Centennial 1 0 1
Prairie Central 1 0 1
Rantoul 1 0 1
Class 3A medalists
Danville 1 0 1