Schaumburg Boys Sectional: Shaffer tunes up for state with sectional win; Lake Zurich moves in last mile to capture team title
Elk Grove Village, Ill — At the beginning of the season, Prospect’s Quentin Shaffer was not mentioned as one of the state’s front runners. He did run 9:17 during the track season, but his performance at the state track meet did not open any eyes. He finished 23rd out of 38 runners.
That changed this year when he ran 14:28 at the Peoria Central Invitational at the end of September. That is tied for the second fastest in the state with Patrick Perrier of O’Fallon and just behind of Belvidere North’s Garrett Lee.
He is now a marked man and he relishes the opportunity that has been given him.
“Really, after running that race and looking at last year’s state meet results, I think I can stick with them,” Shaffer said.
The Boys race of the Schaumburg Sectional did not go out fast. It looked like the other runners were looking for the Prospect senior. Defending State Champ Palatine made their presence known from the gun with having 2 runners in the pack in Christian Zambrano and Graham Brown. Jesse Reiser of McHenry, Billy Bund of Lake Forest, Ryan Burgoon of Barrington, Billy Thomas of Hoffman Estates, and Martin Martinez of Warren were on either side of the Schafer. The leaders went by the mile in around 5:00. Schafer was just biding his time waiting to go.
Just as he did at the Peoria Central Invitational and his conference race, Shaffer made a concerted effort to break the race wide open. In the next half mile, he had opened up a 15 meter on the gap with only Bund staying within striking distance of the Prospect runner.
On the final loop, Bund had closed the gap and was side by side with Shaffer. 15 meters back was Burgoon. The distance stayed that way for the remainder of the race because of the surges that Bund & Shaffer were throwing at each other. Neither runner would budge. Finally with about 300 meters to go, Shaffer broke free of Bund and the race was his. The margin of victory was a little over 2 seconds, but seemed more convincing. Steven Salvano of Buffalo Grove passed Burgoon in the final 10 meters for third.
“I could sense that he (Bund) was trying to put in some small surges,” Shaffer said. “I just tried to stay with him. In the last 300 is when I used my kick.”
“The strategy was to stay with the pack and make my move around the 2 mile,” said Bund. “The main thing was to conserve as much energy as possible for next week.”
Through the half way point in the team race, #5 Palatine and #8 Barrington had the advantage. Lurking in the pack and waiting to make their move was #6 Lake Zurich. They were moving forward more so in the last mile than the two MSL teams were. In the end, Lake Zurich had placed their first 4 runners in the first 21 to win the team competition with 106 points. Barrington edged Palatine 137-138 for second. #9 Hersey placed 4th with 178 points. Highland Park, who had been defeated by Buffalo Grove a week ago at the Libertyville Regional finished 5th for the last qualifying spot. Buffalo Grove finished sixth.
“I thought we did a nice job. Our 3 and 4 (Jon Ramirez and Jared Ripoli) moved up nicely and finished somewhere around 20th. It was nice to get Ruben Riano back in the lineup,” said Lake Zurich JB Hanson. “He had sore knee and we decided to hold him out. It is a senior dominated group. When you have seniors that are focused like they are, then good things are bound to happen.”