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Kyle Burgoni | Unity senior

His event:

  • 100-meter dash

His sectional time:

  • 10.71 seconds

How important to you is having the No. 1 seed in the 100?

  • “I think that it’s important but in a way gives me an advantage. Given that I will race one time in the last heat with a bunch of other fast guys, it gives me the extra push because it will be close no matter what.”

How did you feel about your sectional race?

  • “I felt very good about my sectional race. It was different for me than any other, actually, because I had just recovered from a hamstring injury that put me out for three meets leading up to sectionals. It was actually a gamble whether or not I would hurt it again in sectionals, so for me to not only PR but take the win, it gave me a lot of confidence going into state.”

How have you seen yourself develop as a 100 runner?

  • “In September of 2020, I joined the Vipers Track Club (in Champaign) and trained for nearly six months before going into an indoor competition. That definitely improved my athletic capabilities beyond my imagination. For me to break 11 seconds in my third meet and keep going lower and lower down to 10.71 gives me perspective of all my hard work.”

What would it mean for you to win the state championship in the 100?

  • “For me to possibly become a state champion would mean so much to me. It would mean that all of the work I have put in through the season and offseason has paid off. As a whole, that would be my end goal wrapping up my high school career.”

Jeremiah Hamilton | Urbana seniorHis event:

  • 200-meter dash

His sectional time:

  • 21.58 seconds

How important to you is having the No. 1 seed in the 200?

  • “I feel like it’s a good achievement to have, but now I have to perform.”

How did you feel about your sectional race?

  • “The sectionals was a little more intense than the regular-season races. I didn’t expect to perform that well, but I’m glad I did well.”

How have you seen yourself develop as a 200 runner?

  • “My 200 performance started off slow. I barely knew how to come out of the blocks. Then, as time came, blocks became easier and I started to build up muscle. Now, I feel better than ever.”

What will it take for you to replicate your sectional success at state?

  • “The key in running in state is staying calm and don’t overthink about who’s in your heat.”

What would it mean for you to win the state championship in the 200?

  • “Getting the 200-meter state championship would be the best farewell to high school track, in my eyes. I feel like I did my town a great service.”

Daniel Mboyo (Sr.), Jeremiah Hamilton (Sr.), Cedric Sabin (Fr.), Jackson Gilbert (Soph.) | UrbanaTheir event:

  • 400-meter relay

Their sectional time:

  • 42.70 seconds

How important is it for the boys to have the 400 relay’s No. 1 seed? “I think the lack of finals definitely makes things complicated. I think, just from a spectating standpoint, the coaches and everyone else watching wants to know in that final moment who’s the winning team. As far as the guys’ point of view ... these are four highly-motivated kids who mesh really well together. They’re going to be ready regardless of the heat they’re in.” — Urbana coach Forrest Farokhi

How did this foursome come together? “There’s a couple of kids who are not on this relay, but a big chunk of the sprint crew this season is a group of boys who have been competing (together) since they were in sixth grade: Jeremiah Hamilton, Caelan Webb, Sean Longdon, Daniel Mboyo. And Jackson Gilbert‘s kind of the one who’s the outlier. ... There’s no one toxic on the team. All the vibes are good. The jokes are there, and the discipline is there. Given how difficult the year has been, it’s been really wonderful and a blessing for me to have this to look forward to every day. ... We started the season with a particular group, and then halfway through the season, I pulled Daniel Mboyo from anchor and had him start. And then I put Jackson Gilbert

  • , who is primarily a 400/800/middle-distance guy ... at anchor. After that switch we dropped a full second off our time and were all of the sudden one of the top two teams in the state.” — Farokhi

Why do these four work so well together?

  • “Especially with sprinters, everybody wants to be the king of their own event. I think each of these four on this particular relay respects and understands their role within that relay. There’s a lot of nuances that come with each one of those positions, and I think each one of them wanted to be in the position they’re in. They understand the little skill sets that go into those particular positions, and they’re enjoying that. ... They were all in from the start and trusted that, and it’s worked out well.” — Farokhi

What will it take for this unit replicate its sectional success at state?

  • “My theme for the year has been conservative. I’ve rarely ran kids in four events at any point this year. I have the idea of what’s the minimum effective dose we can do to keep us fast and healthy and happy. Really for the past three or four weeks, once we saw we could throw down these times ... we’ve had a lot of rest. We’ve had a lot of time in the weight room. Just been careful not to overdo it, because we were in a competitive position. We’re not doing anything this week that we haven’t done for the last three months.” — Farokhi

What would it mean for the boys to win the 400 relay state championship? “I already know I’m going to lose it. It’s my sixth year at Urbana, and I’ve had quality athletes — and specifically, now that we’re referring to sprinters, I’ve had top-tier sprinters that for one way or another have just struggled to really produce in the postseason. Track can be very fickle, and things happen. But two years ago when we got that 4-by-2 to finish fourth, it was a really big moment. And from what I can see in the school’s history, as far as what’s listed on the IHSA state page, that was the first sprint relay in documented history to be on the podium. If they come away with the win, that kind of speaks for itself.” — Farokhi

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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