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Local Sports

Sandwich, Streator both propel pair to 2A State Meet

McCulskie-Green, Sejdiu, Webb, Pantoja earn trips to EIU

PLANO — Throughout an absolutely loaded, 14-team Plano Class 2A sectional track and field event, both Sandwich and Streator were successful in advancing two individuals to the state finals that will take place May 23-25 at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Stadium in Charleston.

The Indians saw sophomore jumping sensation Jayden McCulskie-Green make it to state in the triple, high and long jumps, while junior thrower Sead Sejdiu made it to the big dance in the discus as Sandwich finished tied for fourth place as a team. Princeton and Tinley Park each garnered 44 points behind eventual sectional champion New Lenox-Providence Catholic, which registered 72 tallies.

The Bulldogs also received state-qualification efforts from senior Kobie Webb in the long jump and junior Raphael Pantoja in the 800-meter run with Streator placing 12th as a group with 23 markers.

But it was McCulskie-Green that carried the day individually by placing first in the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet, 10 inches and first in the long jump with a school-record 22-5 1/5 that easily bested the former Sandwich mark of Tristan Contrino (22-1 1/4) established back in 2006.

McCulskie-Green also made it state in the high jump, clearing 6-2 which tied him for second during his amazing day.

"Last year as a freshman, I was very disappointed I didn't make it to state in any event, and now I'm going in three, so it's very exciting and some redemption for me after last season," McCulskie-Green said. "When I get to state, I'm going to be beyond focused in each of the events. I'll try to be calm, be collected, and I'm going to shoot for big numbers.

"The best thing from today was that I set another school record, this time in the long jump. Now I've got two with the triple jump record going to state. I'm very excited about my performance today."

McCulskie-Green will be joined in Charleston by Sejdiu, who qualified for state on distance in the discus, finishing third with a healthy toss of 145-7.

"It was my first throw, I was very energized, and I knew what I had to do in order to get to state," Sejdiu said. "It just all came together, and when I got to the front of the ring I ripped through the throw, and it went flying. I knew it was far, and when they called it out and I heard it was above state-qualifying distance, I threw my fists in the air and knew I had made it.

"Can't wait to get to state next week and hopefully make the finals."

McCulskie-Green and Sejdiu almost had another teammate join them at state, but sophomore Michael Marrs just missed out by finishing third in the 100 dash with a clocking of 11.39 seconds — just 1/100th of a tick behind Asa Cooper (11.38) of Coal City.

Also earning top-six sectional medals for Sandwich were senior Dylan Baumbach, who placed fourth in the 400 run (52.01), and the 3200 relay of Steve Aguilar, Adrian Mendoza, Johnny Rizzuto and Ian Kelson (6th, 8:48.61).

Streator state qualifier Webb finished second behind McCulskie-Green in the long jump with a leap of 22-4 1/2. Webb also medaled in the high jump (6-0).

Pantoja surprised many in the 800 run by qualifying for state with a personal best of 2:00.34, some seven-plus seconds better than he's ever run in the event.

Senior Chris Dukes also medalled in the 400 run, finishing fifth with an impressive clocking of 53.53. The Bulldogs' 400-meter relay team received a fourth-place medal by completing a fine race with a time of :44.63.

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