West Aurora’s Connor McCue had Jack Peters in his sights.
“He’s a great runner,” McCue said of the returning All-State 800-meter runner from Glenbard East.
But last week at the DuPage Valley Conference boys track and field championship in Roselle, McCue continued his splendid sophomore campaign in style.
“I played it pretty conservative the first lap,” McCue said. “I was kind of hanging in fourth place.”
McCue, a sophomore, exploded over the final 400 to not only garner the Blackhawks’ lone league championship but also break the school record — previously held by Ryan Bartel — in one minute and 55.05 seconds.
“For the last 100 I just put everything I had into it,” McCue said.
“He is a tough runner for a sophomore,” Peters said of McCue.
McCue was coming off another impressive win at that distance the previous week at the Kane County Meet in Streamwood.
“He’s a competitor,” West Aurora coach Courtney Lamb said of his star. “As coaches, that’s something we have little to do with. That’s something you’re born with. He’s got a little bit of swagger in him. To be an elite athlete in the state, you need a little bit of that in you.”
West Aurora finished seventh in its final appearance in the DVC meet last week at Lake Park.
But McCue and his teammates are excited about the opportunity presented by Thursday’s Class 3A Joliet West Sectional.
McCue will attempt a first this spring: the mentally demanding and physically exacting 800-1,600 double.
“We expect him to qualify in that eight,” Lamb said. “The mile will be a bonus if he qualifies in it.”
McCue and his junior brother Brady have come into their own this season. Their 1-2 sweep of the 800 at the Blackhawks’ early season invitational, named after longtime coach John Bell, augured well for the spring.
Brady McCue won the county championship in the 1,600 and will focus on the event at Joliet with his younger brother.
“There’s definitely some sibling rivalry,” Brady McCue said of the brothers’ competitive drive. “I have a little bit to show him still. I’m not done with this season.”
Connor McCue had difficulty ranking his most satisfying victory on the Blackhawks’ invitational schedule this spring.
“I would probably have to say conference because it’s our last year in the DVC,” Connor McCue said. “It was also nice at John Bell to go 1-2 with my brother.”
Lamb said there is no reason McCue’s underclassman status should hinder him for the pivotal state series tests.
“(Connor) has learned some racing tactics,” Lamb said. “He is going to go as far as he wants to go.”