Boys Track: Sebhat, Beller lead Niles North’s State contingent
Niles North's Aron Sebhat leads New Trier's Leland Later and the field in the 4x800 meter relay at the IHSA 3A Boys Track Championships at Loyola on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Wilmette. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 2, 2012 8:07AM
As the other six 3,200-meter relay teams at the Loyola sectional jostled for position in hopes of landing a trip to the state meet, Niles North’s Aron Sebhat was fighting two different battles.
Physically, he was right behind all-state runner Leland Later of New Trier. Mentally, Sebhat was trying to top Niles North’s school record.
While Sebhat was unable to catch Later — New Trier clocked 7:44.30 to clip Niles North (7:44.54) by .24 seconds — he helped the Vikings obliterate the school record by 10 seconds. In doing so, the Niles North quartet established itself a as a state title contender.
“It actually feels really good because this (last) cross country season we were having a real good run and we fell way short in the sectional meet,” said Sebhat, a senior who also advanced to state in the 1,600. “So to come back here and have all the guys on the team perform well — in the (3,200 relay) and Micah (Beller) in the (1,600) — for us to qualify, it’s just a real satisfying feeling.”
The training partnership between Beller and Sebhat is an important aspect of why both double-qualified. Their ability to push each other in both cross country and track helped both improve immensely this season.
“He’s been incredible,” said Beller, a junior. “Me and him weren’t really close in my freshman and sophomore years, but this year he’s just been such an incredible mentor to me. He’s really shown me a path, and been a great training partner this whole entire year. There’s no way I could attain any success that I’ve had without him.”
Sebhat said each brings a competitive spirit to practice.
“I get a lot out of myself when I’m running and training with him,” Sebhat said. “Me and him, we just get after it. During the latter end of our workouts, we both try to see who can drop who, and we just really push each other and we make each other better runners, and tougher runners.”
In the 1,600, Sebhat finished in 4:18.78 to place third — one spot behind Later — and Beller clocked 4:21.43 to take fifth under the state cut of 4:22.74.
Beller committed a critical mistake, however.
“In the last 200 meters, I’m thinking, ‘I’m not going to look at the clock, I’m not going to look at the clock,’ and then the second I got to the last 100 meters, the first thing I did was look up at the clock,” Beller said. “I kind of made a miscalculation because when I came off with 100 to go, I saw it was 4:04, 4:05, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’m fine.’ But then, when I got 25 meters out, I realized it was going to be really, really close and I had to change gears again. That was a really big mistake on my part.”
Before competing in the 1,600 at state, Sebhat and Beller will run with the 3,200 relay. They’ll team with Tim Vazquez and Carlitos Rangel in trying to make their final race together a memorable one.
“I think our sights are set pretty high if everything works out and we all have a really good day,” Beller said. “I think it could be a good day for us.”