Czerwinski, Wehner, and Nales Earn Medals at Illinois Top Times

Saturday, March 30 2024 - Illinois Top Times Championships

Highland Park had qualifiers to the Illinois Top Times Meet in 4 events. This was the final meet of the indoor season and is considered the unofficial indoor state meet. The Giants competing looked to put a final exclamation point on the indoor season. 


Russell Czerwinski (Sr.) was the first to compete. He was one of the final qualifiers (of 13) in the high jump with a personal best 6’2.75”. Czerwinski was calm and focused as the competition opened at 5’10.75”. He cleared that and the next two heights (6’0.75” and 6’2.75”) on his first attempts! His first attempt at 6’4” was good, but he just barely knocked the bar off. On his 2nd attempt at 6’4”, Czerwinski cleared the bar and got a new personal best. He was unable to clear the next height of 6’5”, but is confident he can get that and possibly higher in future meets. Czerwinski ended up tied for 5th place! His clearance of 6’4” ties him for #2 all-time indoors at HPHS. This was a great start for the Giants!

Next up was Nate Wehner (Sr.) competing in the 3200 meter run. He qualified with the time he ran in a race before getting injured and being unable to run for nearly 2 months. Wehner went into this race with the goal of running around 9:30 based on the minimal amount of running workouts he has gotten in since returning from injury. He got out well and went with the lead pack early. Wehner came through the mile in 4:38. This pace allowed him to put a gap on the runners behind him and positioned him in 5th place. In the second mile, Wehner was not able to hold the pace of those in front of him but he battled tough to maintain his 5th place position. Despite not having the speedwork yet to finish with a fast last few laps, he held on to 5th place. Wehner ran an impressive 9:26.76. This was just 5 seconds off of his best time and is #4 all-time indoors for the 3200 at HPHS. 

Lukaas Nales (Sr.) was the next Giant to compete. He qualified in the fastest heat of the 400 meter dash. Despite not feeling great due to recent illness, Nales got out well at the gun. He was unable to get the front position, but was hoping to use his usual strong finish to get by his opponents. As he came around the final turn, it was apparent the big kick was not there on this day. He still finished well in a very close race and ran :50.76. He was just .36 out of 1st place. Nales ended up in 6th place. His time ranks #6 all-time indoors in the 400 at HPHS. Look for Nales to get healthy and run some very fast times in the upcoming outdoor season. 

The Giants qualified for the final event of the day…the 4X400 meter relay. Despite not having the team’s two fastest 400 runners on the relay, the squad looked to compete and run a fast time. Robert Oboza (Sr.) led off and worked hard to try to hang with the other teams in their heat. He split a solid :53.3 before handing off to Zach Coren (Sr.). Coren also fought hard to keep the team close and was able to split a :53.6. Lachlan Knapp (Jr.) was the next leg and the only HP junior to compete this year at Illinois Top Times. He raced tough and split a :54.4 which is a personal best. Finally, Barak Goldstein (Sr.) bounced back from a recent hamstring issue to help the team finish strong with a :53.5. The team ended up running a 3:35.01 for 10th place. This time just missed the HPHS indoor all-time top 10 by only .07! It was a great effort by them as they represented HP with class.  

The meet was a success and wonderful way to end the indoor season. The Giants earned three medals and three all-time top 10 performances while just missing on a 4th one. Look for big things to come for those that competed at the Illinois Top Times Meet as well as the rest of the team. The Giants will hopefully have everyone healthy and competing soon.