Boys Track: Providence eager to make jump to 3A
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media March 3, 2013 6:16PM
Providence's Andrew Helmin. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Boys Track 2013
(in alphabetical order)
Joliet West: Although the Tigers graduated two-time state runner-up Calvin Edwards, they can rely on sprinters Korey Rogers and Kameron Hargrove, Ashton McCullough (long jump) and Hakeem Allen (triple jump).
Minooka: Watch out for the Indians. A deep roster includes state meet experience with Ethan Cane (7th in long jump), Kurtis Zumbahlen (9th in high jump) and two relays — Jake Smith, Dan Ingram and Chris Wilson from 3A runner-up 1,600 relay, and Alex Pierce, Joey Santillo and Wilson from 5th-place 3,200 relay.
Plainfield North: Graduated a lot of state meet talent, but hurdlers Zion Mason and Corey Johnson and high jumper Manny Bofah will be top performers.
Plainfield South: Boasts distance standouts Dan Lathrop and Cody Dyer from cross country team that was sixth in Class 3A state meet. Other top runners include sprinters John Kosirog and Jason Ochoa from 400 relay that qualified for state.
Providence: Celtics tied for 6th place in the 2012 Class 2A meet and return three individuals — Andrew Helmin, Chad Weaver and Mike Monroe — who accounted for 26 of the team’s 33 state meet points.
THREE TO SEE: Plainfield Central pole vaulter Luke Winder; Plainfield East hurdler Jalil Manson; Lockport pole vaulter Pat Fisch.
Updated: April 5, 2013 6:04AM
Describing the 2012 track and field season as a success would be an understatement for Providence.
The Celtics won the Catholic League championship, a sectional title where the field included Hillcrest and Bremen, then tied for sixth among 67 teams in the Class 2A state meet.
Although Providence will be moved back up to Class 3A this year, the Celtics have three standout athletes who could lead the group to another special season.
“This team is definitely in our top five,” Providence coach Mark Coglianese said. “Individually, possibly the best ever. We have the potential to have one, two or three state champs.”
Seniors Chad Weaver and Andrew Helmin and junior Mike Monroe all have the potential to be the first state track champion at Providence.
Weaver was third in the Class 2A pole vault (15 feet) last season, Monroe was third in the high jump (6-7) and Helmin was fourth in both hurdle races. Their state meet performances are comparable to all the returnees in Class 3A.
“This year we’re hoping to do as well, if not better,” said Coglianese, who credits longtime coach Ken Raymond and pole vault coach Mike Karl for much of the Celtics’ success.
Here are the lofty goals Weaver, Helmin and Monroe have for this season:
“By the end of the indoor season, I want to be jumping 16-6,” said Weaver, who has to travel to Bloom High School to practice his event.
“Outstanding athlete,” Coglianese said of Weaver, whose 15-7 vault is the school record. “He’s a receiver, running back — very elusive and explosive on the field. That shows in his pole vaulting. He’s very strong and he’s got great speed.”
Monroe set the school high jump record of 6-9 last year as a sophomore.
“This year my goal is to go 7-3¼, which is the state record for 3A,” Monroe said. “I’ve gone seven feet over the winter in practice. I know I have it in me.”
“He really came out of nowhere,” Coglianese said. “As a freshman he was good, but he had an outstanding year last year.”
The 6-foot-3 Helmin is working toward a big season with a possible collegiate future at Notre Dame, Michigan or Illinois.
“Any hurdler, it comes down to technique,” Coglianese said. “It takes a lot of practice and he works hard at it. He’s got very good form, good body size.”
“It takes me longer to get going, but once I get going I’ve got a lot of endurance,” Helmin said. “The speed comes later in the race. I can hold on longer.”
Providence will have to overcome the loss of Kevin Ward, who was fifth in the state 400 meters last year but will miss this season after having hip surgery.
Big contributions also are expected from Brandon Denler in the pole vault and relay runner Jake Hopkins, both returning state qualifiers. Other key individuals will be Matt Lahey in the long jump and triple jump, distance runner Steve Sismelich and throwers David Kaminski and Jeff Cesario.
“I’d like to see us get a trophy,” Helmin said of the 2013 state meet. “It’s going to be hard, but if us three place in the top three, maybe get a couple champions ... ”