Perhaps the toughest thing to forecast at the beginning of February is how a school’s relay will look at in the end of May. Truth is, I doubt there is one coach that knows exactly looks like right now. There is months of tinkering that still needs to be done. So let’s give you an idea of which school’s have the right parts that could contest and see where it takes us.
4 x 800m Relay
We should see some new blood in this event. The last two champions, Springfield HS and Belvidere (North HS) have moved up to 3A. Last year’s second place team, Yorkville, has moved up as well. New faces should be abound in this event.
Keep an eye on Riverside (Riverside-Brookfield HS). Over the last few years, this school has been moving up in this relay. Last year, they finished 3rd. They have 2 runners from last year’s relay led by Travis Trevizo and John Kingzette.
The one school that could take the big prize is Mahomet (Seymour HS). The Bullldogs had a successful cross country campaign in the fall. You could see this school build off of that this spring. Cale McCormick and Elijah Johnson should be 2 of the top runners of this squad.
Could this be the year for Cahokia HS? It seems like every year that they hammer down a fast time early in the year and then cannot match that at the state meet. Some of it has to do with the runners that are on that squad are in multiple events as well. Marlin Brady and Darren Payton are 2 key members of that squad, but you could see them in other events. Whomever Coach Leroy Milsap decides on, it will be a talented squad that will contest for the championship.
Also keep an eye on the following schools as well: Chatham (Glenwood HS), Galesburg HS, Normal (University HS), Rock Island (Alleman HS), Sterling HS, Maple Park (Kaneland HS), Lansing (Illiana Christian HS), and Aurora (Central Catholic HS).
4 x 100m Relay
The defending champs Rock Island (HS) have moved to 3A thus giving us a new champ in this event in 2012.
The quartet that I would keep an eye on is Midlothian (Bremen HS). They have two studs in the relay in Dion Starnes and Torian Parks. This school has a good group of sprinters returning. Plus, they get good competition during the season in the south suburbs. They will be tuned up and ready to go when Charleston rolls around.
Cahokia HS did not make the finals last year in this race. They are usually there so last year’s performance was not the norm. The Comanches have a good group to choose from led by Trey Story and Kenny Ball.
Also watch for Chatham (Glenwood HS). Even though they did surprise some with their state meet performance, this school has built up a good sprint squad. Look for a good relay this year led by Joey Giovanelli.
Other schools to watch in this relay include Country Club Hills (Hillcrest HS), Centralia HS, Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South HS), Maple Park (Kaneland HS), Richton Park (Rich South HS), Melrose Park (Walther Lutheran HS), and Springfield (Lanphier HS).
4 x 200m Relay
We could see the same scenario as in the 4 x 1 relay. Midlothian (Bremen HS) has 3 of their 4 runners back from a squad that placed 2nd last year. Even though last year’s champion Chatham (Glenwood HS) lost 3 of their 4 runners due to graduation, their quartet will still make a difference in this event.
The 1A champs Melrose Park (Walther Lutheran HS) could challenge for the championship. The duo of Cole Evans and Glynn Chatmon should lead this team to a high finish.
Again, Cahokia did not make the final in this event last year. Expect them in the mix for the top prize in May. Other schools to keep an eye on in this event include Centralia HS, Country Club Hills (Hillcrest HS), Herrin HS, and Galesburg HS.
4 x 400m Relay
If you want to call your shot in this one, you could probably do it now and you would not be wrong. Cahokia HS enters this event as the defending champ and the BIG favorite. Coach Leroy Milsap has two big guns in Darren Payton and Marlin Brady, both capable of going sub 49 . This is a quartet that could flirt with 3:16 during the year, maybe faster.
After that, I think the battle will be for second. Keep an eye on Maple Park (Kaneland HS), Sterling HS, Country Club Hills (Hillcrest HS), Chatham (Glenwood HS), and Herrin HS.
Questions / Comments: email Michael Newman : newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com