Boys Track and Field: Lincoln-Way North’s Julian Hylton a double threat
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media April 17, 2014 9:56PM
Julian Hylton for Lincoln-Way North Track and Field for Spring Photo Day at Andrew High School, Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 in Tinley Park | Gary Middendorf/for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 19, 2014 2:22PM
A state finalist in the 100-meter dash with a football scholarship to Illinois, Julian Hylton has been busy the past four years at Lincoln-Way North.
Hylton also played basketball at North, but he raced to an elite level in football and track, including a runner-up finish in the 100 meters at the 2013 Class 3A state meet.
“Track is the foundation for every other sport,’’ Hylton said.
The 6-foot, 190-pound senior, recruited to be a defensive back at Illinois, rushed for 2,500 yards and 32 touchdowns in the fall in leading North to the Class 6A quarterfinals.
In track, without teammates to clear a path to the finish, it’s all up to Hylton.
“If you mess up, it’s no one else’s fault,’’ he said. “It’s all on you. It’s a little nerve-racking sometimes. Got to make sure I do what I need to do because it’s all you. It’s very different from football.’’
Hylton qualified for the past two state track meets in the 100 and 200 meters. In 2013, he reached the final in the 100 and clocked 10.79 seconds to take second to Pekin’s Cole Henderson (10.63), who also won the 200.
Hylton ran 10.6 in the state prelims and is aiming for 10.5 or 10.4 this season.
“Each year you get stronger and better and smarter, you just kind of figure out how to run,’’ he said.
“I’m a stronger runner, a lot stronger. My technique is a lot better than it was last year. Get my knee drive up, keep my breathing constant and my arms right.’’
Hylton has yet to compete outdoors this season because of a tender lower back, a decision North coach Jeff Purdom described as “a precaution.’’
“I can still run on it,’’ Hylton said. “I don’t want to make it any worse. I want to get it back to 100 percent.
“I want to finish out the fourth year because I’ve been running track since freshman year. I love my teammates. They’re a great group of guys.’’
Senior sprinters Connor Doherty, Colten Keenan and Billy Hurley also have state meet aspirations, especially in the 1,600 relay.
Hylton expects to be ready for the three-week stretch of conference, sectional and state meets.
“He’s pretty competitive,’’ Purdom said. “Getting second last year, he wants to get another crack at it. He wants to be state champ.’’
“I’m just going to stick to my technique and run as fast as I can and do the best I can,’’ Hylton said.