Boys Track: New Trier’s Later simply golden in final race
New Trear's Leland Later (front right) and Glenbard West's Mike Lederhouse (front left) fight for the first position in the 1600 meter. Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 3, 2012 11:56AM
New Trier’s Leland Later punctuated the final chapter of his prep boys track career with an exclamation point in the state meet at Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston, on Saturday.
The senior posted a program-record 4:09.95 to capture the state championship in the 1,600-meter run at O’Brien Stadium. He beat Lake Zurich’s Patrick Juras by more than four seconds.
Later became New Trier’s first individual track and field state champion since 1964, when Dick Robinson won the 100-yard dash.
“I had a great experience, and it was the way I wanted to end my senior year,” said Later, who will run at Cal-Berkeley. “To have some of my teammates down there also competing made for a great atmosphere.”
Fourth in the 1,600 last spring, Later threw out the game plan after arriving in Charleston, where temperatures soared into the 80s. Instead of setting a fast pace early, Later patiently waited to push it until the final lap.
“I went out slower than we talked about because of the heat, but I trusted my instincts,” he said. “It was tight most of the race, but I took off with about 300 meters to go. I started going quick because I didn’t want to look back.”
Later will compete in a few more races before heading west for college. He also plans to immediately add mileage to his training in order to build up his endurance.
In August, Later will report to Cal’s preseason camp in Lake Tahoe for altitude training.
Loyola boys track
Loyola’s Todd Ford, who beat Later in sectionals for his only loss of the season in the 1,600, finished fourth in 4:14.20 and earned all-state honors. Shut out of the finals a year ago, Ford plans to study at Williams College (Mass.)
William Hague, who will attend Duke next season, finished 19th in the 3,200 (9:36.16).