What a year it has been for Richmond-Burton junior distance runner James Kaht. Just when it didn’t look like things could get any better for the gifted athlete, they did as he exceeded all expectations once again with his outstanding ability.

First Kaht helped lead the Rocket boys’ cross country team to their highest finish ever as a program by taking fifth at the IHSA Class 1A State Meet earlier in the year after placing 19th overall with a time of 15:24.

Now just recently Kaht was part of another school record, as he finished as the runner-up within the 1,600-meter run at the IHSA Class 2A State Track and Field State Meet May 25th at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.

Kaht proved to be the second fastest runner in the state within the 1,600-meter run with a personal best time of 4:21.35 at the meet. Kaht’s stellar performance was less than three seconds from the fastest mark set by Mascoutah sophomore Chris Martin coming across in first with a mark of 4:18.62.

Kaht’s second-place finish earned him a spot in the school’s record book by being the highest overall finish by an individual in any event at the State Meet. It broke a 37-year mark held by Dave Derdeyn, who was third within the 3,200-meter run back in 1976.

Thanks to Kaht’s strong finish at the event, he helped the Rockets place tied for 33rd as a team out of 66 schools competing with eight points. Cahokia proved to be the team to beat as they easily topped the field in first with a team score of 99.5, well ahead of St. Louis East in a distant second at 40.

Kaht advanced onto the finals after posting a qualifying time of 4:23.42 in the preliminaries. His time was good enough for second within his heat and fourth overall out of 25 runners.

Although other individuals and relay teams from both Richmond and Johnsburg competed at the event, the Rockets 3,200-meter relay team was the only other to advance onto the finals. Richmond’s 3,200-meter relay team consisting of Ryan Garrett, Michael Bland, DJ Wolfram and Greg Arther finished 12th with a time of 8:24.40.

Kaneland’s Maple Park relay team won the event with a best time of 7:50.26, while R-B made it to the finals after posting a mark of 8:12.43 in the prelims.

Johnsburg had the only other two area representatives at the meet in both their 3,200-meter relay team and in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

The Skyhawks 3,200-meter relay team comprised of Kyle Stelmasek, Matt Stelmasek, Noah Miller and Mark Gaura had a time of 8:23.85 in the prelims, as Sandro Magradze finished in 52.41 of the prelims within the 300-meter hurdles.






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