Fenwick junior Anthony Pasquesi advanced to the finals in seventh place and ended up eighth to earn the Friars' first top-nine, all-state medal in any jumping event Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. (Photo by Bill Stone)

For Fenwick junior Anthony Pasquesi’s second trip to the Class 2A boys track and field state meet, the waiting was the hardest part.

Pasquesi sought one of 12 berths for Saturday’s long jump finals for the first time.

His personal-best 21 feet-6 1/2 inches in Friday’s preliminaries had the No. 2 spot, but the best flight remained and all 11 jumpers were seeded higher based on sectional marks.

“It was the most stressful 25 minutes of my life, just sitting there watching all of these guys jumping,” said Pasquesi, seeded 16th. “I watched the whole thing. I was literally sitting on the hot seat because I was either going to be the last one in or the first one out – if everyone jumped their (sectional) marks.”

Pasquesi advanced to the finals in seventh place and ended up eighth to earn the Friars’ first top-nine, all-state medal in any jumping event Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. Distances from Friday carried over and his 21-6 1/2 only was surpassed by one jumper who previously trailed him.

“(All-state) feels awesome. We have a lot of young guys, including my brother (Ryan, a sophomore), so hopefully we get some more all-state jumpers,” Pasquesi said. “I was talking about (all-state) all week in school, ‘You know I’m eight inches outside of third-place seeded,’ so I thought I had a good shot.”

Pasquesi first jumped 21-6 1/2 at sectionals after a then personal-best 21-1 1/2 at the conference meet. On Saturday, his best jump was 21-2 1/2 from behind the takeoff board after barely scratching his first attempt.

“I moved back a whole foot and then the wind kind of died down,” Pasquesi said. “I just keep getting the same (personal record), I guess. That’s the important part — I started getting better at the end of the season.”

Pasquesi easily won the eighth-place tiebreaker over Springfield Lanphier junior Dearis Herron, whose second-best jump was 20-6 1/2 from Friday. Herron scratched all three attempts Saturday.

Pasquesi improved from 19th at state in 2015 (19-7) after earlier setting the frosh-soph school record (20-7). Next season, one goal is to break the 22-6 school record from 1976.
“I want to get 23-0,” Pasquesi said.

One of the first people Pasquesi was going to share the good news with was cousin Zach Ziemek, who won four individual state titles for Lake Park, including the 2011 3A long and triple jump titles. Ziemek is now a fifth-year competitor at Wisconsin preparing for the U.S. Olympic trials in the decathlon.

“He’s actually the reason I got into track. I was in sixth grade and I was watching him, being, ‘Hmm. I should try that,’ ” Pasquesi said. “He’s a role model. I text him every night. He makes me summer workouts. He’s just an awesome dude.”

Fenwick’s 3,200 relay of juniors Alex Marks and Sean McGee, senior Joe Cozzi and freshman Joseph Wermes was 18th (8:22.75). The 800 relay of sophomores Lorenzano Blakeney and Lorente Blakeney, senior Matt Lyons and sophomore Joshua Harris was 21st (1:35.35).

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