CHARLESTON, IL, May 25, 2013 –Wal Khat ran the 800 meters faster than he ever had on Saturday in the IHSA Class 1A track finals – and it earned the Mooseheart junior a second-place finish.
Then Khat returned to the track in rainy Charleston an hour later and finished eighth in the 1600 meters, providing a successful finish to his first state meet experience.
“It’s good,” Khat said. “I know everyone’s working hard to get a good place. I didn’t make it, but I have another year.”
In the 800 meters, Khat broke toward the back after 200 meters and then worked his way through the pack, a strategy he had used before. As the field neared the 200 meter mark, Khat was marginally in the lead. But on the final straight, Carmi’s Michael Brown surged to finish first by a few strides.
“(Brown) was coming behind me and then he got me and he had a long stride,” Khat said. “I tried to do my best, but I didn’t make it.”
It rained through most of the track finals, and the threat of heavier weather meant the track met was run at an accelerated rate. Khat got his award in the 800 meters, then had to check-in immediately for the 1600 meters. Beecher's Grant Nyzaka surged to the front of the pack and easily claimed his second consecutive state title in the event. Khat finished 9 seconds back.
“It was the same for a lot of the kids,” Mooseheart coach Curt Schlinkmann said. “But it’s too bad that it was so compressed.”
Khat had one of the most successful running school years in Mooseheart history. He finished the cross country season in November as the first all-stater in Mooseheart history after placing 24th in the Class 1A race.
“I try to do my best in everything I do,” Khat said. I do need to do better with what I do. But I put all my effort into cross country and track. I want to get it done.”
Schlinkmann said he saw great improvement in Khat, who came to Mooseheart from South Sudan prior to his sophomore year and who was not eligible to compete until August, 2012, by IHSA guidelines.
“I think (Khat) had a really good season,” Schlinkmann said. “He’s improved in every meet. His outlook and his warm-ups and his attitude toward things are all really good. I look forward to good things from him in the future. It’s a unique experience, the first time you go downstate in track.”
Mooseheart had one of its most successful track seasons this spring. The Ramblers won the Northeastern Athletic Conference title for the second consecutive year, then claimed their first IHSA sectional title.
Mooseheart qualified two relays and five individual entries to the state meet, though some of those qualifiers – including three-time medalist and 2011 high jump champion Oumaru Abdulahi – participated in high school graduation on Saturday. Abdulahi competed in prelims in the long jump and with the school’s 1600-meter relay, which did not qualify for Saturday’s finals. Brandon Gadson, the school’s 400 meters qualifier, also failed to advance to the finals, which was the same fate as the Ramblers 1600- and 3200-meter relay teams.
“This was an awesome year,” Schlinkmann said. “It was really a team effort. The seniors did a lot but the underclassmen did as well. We had everybody participate and win points. We have a really good core coming back and they will try to pick up on the work ethic from this year’s team. If they can do that and pass it on to the younger kids, we’ll be OK.”
Upcoming Events at Mooseheart:
July 27, Mooseheart Centennial Celebration, Mooseheart Fieldhouse and Stadium
Mooseheart Child City & School is a 1,000-acre community and school for children and teens in need of a secure home, located just south of Batavia, IL, between Illinois Route 31 and Randall Road.
Founded in 1913, Mooseheart is supported completely through private donations - the great majority of which come from the 1.1 million men and women of the Moose fraternal organization, in more than 1,900 Lodges and 1,600 Chapters located throughout the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda. Moose International headquarters is located on the Mooseheart campus.
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to nearly 250 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $90 million worth of community service programs annually.
Founded in 1888, the Moose organization has long offered its members an opportunity to do good for others while celebrating life, with family, social, and sporting activities. For more information on the Moose organization, visit the websites at www.mooseintl.org , www.mooseheart.org., www.moosehaven.org, or call 630-966-2229.