For three Harrisburg High School seniors. This is it.
The culmination of — not just a season — but countless days, hours and years come down to this weekend's IHSA Class 2A State Track & Field finals at Eastern Illinois University.
DJ Duncan, Capel Henshaw and Isaac Ingram all made it out of last week's Sectional in Salem.
Duncan qualified in two events as the Bulldog senior qualified in the 110 high hurdles, taking first place with a time of 14.04 setting a new school record, breaking the 33-year old record held by Duncan's cousin Parry Duncan. The time was a PR for Duncan.
Duncan wasn't done setting school records as he broke the old time in the 300 intermediate hurdles in a time of 37.81. That was also was a PR and broke his own school record. That time alone, would break the state record if he were able to captialize in that event this weekend.
for Duncan, this will be his fourth trip in a row to the state finals. Last season, Duncan got sixth in the 110's and didn't qualify in the 300's. He admits however, that no one is running better - at the right time - than he is.
I'm really anxious, but I'm really excited though. It's a comeback year and I think its my time to prove myself to people that I can do this," Duncan said.
Harrisburg head coach Zac Cox added that he knows deep down it would be a disappointment for Duncan if he did anything less than bring home the gold.
"You look at his times and he's a clear cut favorite in both events," Cox said. "He's a kid that has worked really hard to get to this point and now its a matter of him going up there and taking care of business."
"This year, myself and coach (Chris) Berry have a new drill that we are doing. It's been something that we've been working on all season in regards to my quickness and getting back on the ground in the 110 hurdles and it has really improved my times a lot. I think my form this year is the best its ever been. I'm the fastest and strongest that I've ever been, so everything is falling into place to have a great finish."
Ingram got second in the shot put with a throw of 56-7, setting a new school record and landing him a PR.
Cox eluded to the fact that Ingram has been in the top 5 all year and has had some great throws toward the end of the season. He'll be seeded fourth when he throws in Friday's preliminaries.
Page 2 of 2 - Placing in the top five would be great if you ask me," Ingram said. "I want to go up there and win it, that's what I would like to do. I think I can make it to finals in the top five. If I can get a throw of 56-feet or 57-feet I can get second or third, but the competition up there can be very inconsistent, so anything can happen at anytime."
Henshaw will return to the state stage. The Bulldog senior who helped Harrisburg's to the schools first Class 2A basketball title, will now try to win an individual title as he finished fifth in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6-3, which is also a PR.
"I just want to see if I can jump higher than I did at sectionals," Capel said of his expectations. "I'm not really sure about the places, but I'm looking to just improve. I've been working on my form, trying to straighten out a few things to increase a few inches."
Cox said that Henshaw could be sitting on the outside looking in, however, a PR at 6-4 or even 6-5 could land him on the podium.