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Chicago area high school track star runs away from competition on national stage

Chicago area high school track star runs away from competition on national stage
Chicago area high school track star runs away from competition on national stage 03:09

AURORA, Ill (CBS) – Some of the best high school athletes in Illinois are chasing gold at Eastern Illinois University this weekend, and one runner from Aurora Central Catholic is no stranger to the top of the podium.

Patrick Hilby is one of the best high school runners in the country, especially in the 800-meter run. The senior and Wisconsin commit is chasing another win at the IHSA state meet, which would go nice with some of the other victories that are already on his resume.

Hilby has been on quite a run recently, and that's no surprise to his coach.

"He's a one-in-a-trillion athlete that comes to any coach," said Troy Kerber, coach of the Aurora Central Catholic boy's track and field team. "He's just got unlimited potential."

The Aurora Central Catholic senior isn't just racing past competitors locally. He's doing it on a national stage. He won the 800-meter run at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in Boston in March, followed by another victory at a national event in California in April.

"It's an amazing opportunity," Hilby said. "It's an amazing experience to compete against the best in the country, and also just to meet new friends, seeing cities like Philadelphia, Boston, competing in different environments, just pushing yourself to your limits against some of the best in the country."

So, what is it like for Hilby to win against some of the best in the country?

"It's an amazing experience," he said. "I never would have thought four years ago that I'd be in this position, just to cross that line and look at the results and seeing the guys that you beat. It's an amazing feeling."

Kerber added he's been "blessed" to have so many great numbers at his school over the years, but he said Hilby "is the best that I've ever had the honor of working with and coaching, and he's extremely humble. As great as he is as an athlete, he's an even greater person."

Still, Hilby is kind of a big deal in Aurora. Earlier this spring, the city honored him with a trophy and a street sign, and a proclamation named July 23, his birthday, as "Patrick Hilby Day."

Hilby said he had "no idea" that proclamation was going to happen.

"I went to a City Council meeting, and I thought I was getting recognized for what I've done thus far, and they had a plaque that said 'Patrick Hilby Day' for the City of Aurora on July 23, my birthday," he said. "So that was super amazing."

Another perk of Hilby's success is his name, image and likeness, or NIL, deal with New Balance, which he called "very cool."

Despite all the personal achievements, which include winning the Class 2A State title in the 800-meter race last year, Hilby remains humble and focused on his team's success.

"He's a consummate program athlete," Kerber said. "And he's really, I think, motivated his teammates, and the rest of our team to be the best they can be."

Hilby said one of the things he loves most about the sport of track and field is simply hanging out with his teammates and making friends around the country, even though he's often running away from them.

He also ran the fastest time in the 2A 800-meter preliminary race at the IHSA state meet. On Saturday he defended his state title, winning the Class 2A State title in the 800-meter race again. He won the 400-meter race on Saturday as well. He also anchored Aurora Central Catholic's 4x400 relay team qualify for Saturday's final, posting the third-fastest time in the prelims.

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