Boys Track: Maine South’s Yonkoff’s ambitions are soaring
Maine South's Zach Eckhardt and New Trier's Chip Scaff compete in the 3200 meter run during the CSL South boys track meet in Skokie, Friday, May 11, 2012 I David Banks~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 29, 2012 8:22AM
Joey Yonkoff knows the illustrious history of the Maine South pole vaulters.
The junior wants to add his name to list of state finalists this season.
Yonkoff won the CSL South meet championship by clearing 12-feet-6, but his goals are much higher.
Everything for him starts today (Thursday) at the Loyola Sectional.
“I usually do better with more competition,” Yonkoff said. “It pushes me to another level.”
At Conant’s meet May 4, Yonkoff set a career mark with his 13-9. That’s what he needs the next two weeks if he is to advance to the state finals in Charleston.
Since 2008, when Eric Forbes took sixth place, the Hawks have had someone take sixth or better every season. Nick Wisniewski wrapped up a standout career last year by earning runner-up after finishing fifth as a junior.
Yonkoff came to Maine South without any experience in the pole vault. But he was determined to learn.
“I saw it at the Olympics, and it looked awesome,” he said.
Yonkoff never reached 10 feet as a freshman, but he soared to 12-6 as a sophomore last spring. Now, he’s closing in on 14 feet.
“I think it’s only natural for me to keep striving for something higher,” he said.
Yonkoff was one of three individual winners at the CSL South meet for the Hawks, who finished fifth with 75 points. Evanston, which won eight events, came in first with 134.5 points.
“What we are missing this year is depth,” Maine South coach Scott Sutshek said.
Tom Fritz won the 400 meters in 49.60, and Michal Filipczak was first in the 800 meters (1:55.20).
Maine South’s distance runners accounted of most of the Hawks points.
Robert Taylor was second in the 1,600 in 4:24.30, close behind New Trier’s Leland Later (4:19.7), the favorite to win the state title. Jon Vaccaro followed Taylor in fourth in 4:30.2.
In the 3,200, Zach Eckhart crossed second in 9:34.7. Later also won that event in 9:16.9, but the Cal-Berkeley recruit plans to skip the 3,200 for the postseason. Jack Carpenter scored points in the 3,200 by taking third in 9:57.30.
The Hawks’ 4x800 relay team took second in 8:04.2.
“Our distance crew really stepped it up,” Sutshek said.