Perhaps the most dominant distance runner in Class 1A in the last year has been Monticello’s Steve Schroeder. He won in the fall at Detweiller Park and dominated the IPTT Classic 3200 indoors. He is scheduled to run in the 3200 and the 1600. He could also run in the 4 x 8 relay for Monticello, at least in the prelims.
The weather will play a BIG factor in this state meet this weekend. Temperatures are forecast to climb near the triple digits making it tough to pull off a double, especially in the distances.
Here is a look at the individual events and what to keep an eye on:
Outlook: Michael Geary (Polo, Ill) has the longest jump in the sectional competition (22-5.5) but it will be a pair of jumpers that most spectators will keep an eye on. Kyle Landon (Chester, Ill) is one of the favorites in the High Jump and could pull off the double here. The junior jumped 22-9 in April at his county meet and is itching to go over 23-0. The one I would keep an eye on is Devin Johnson of Erie. He placed ninth last year at state and is looking to greatly improve on that. He currently has the longest jump in 1A (22-11) which he did at his conference meet two weeks ago.
Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill) jumped 22-4 in the same meet as Johnson and could be in the mix at state for this title in this event. Also watch for Tay Shanklin (Winnebago,Ill) and Myles Kettelson (Flora, Ill) to be in the mix for the top spot as well.
Outlook: This event could be the most wide-open of all the field events in this class. Heath Byom (Knoxville, Ill) got the longest performance in this event last week at the sectionals and will be the favorite heading to Charleston. He will get his chief competition from 3 jumpers. Alex Walter (Central, Camp Point Ill) had the second longest jump at sectionals. Juniors Nick Hundley (Momence, Ill) and Kyle Kleeman (Carlinville, Ill) will also challenge.
Outlook: Could we see a 7-0 jump in this event? If so, how many will go over. This could be one of the highlight events in the 1A competition. 3 of the top finishers from the 2011 meet return. Not much has been heard from last year’s champ Oumaru Abdulahi (Mooseheart, Ill). But we said the same thing last year and look what he did. Abdulahi is a tough competitor that rises to the occasion and the pressure of a big meet.
Kyle Landon (Chester, Ill) has cleared 6-11 this outdoor season and is looking for that 7-0 barrier on Saturday. He has the sectional best of 6-7. The second place finish of last year has been pushing him higher. It could happen on Saturday.
Bill Weissinger (Big Rock, Hinckley Ill) will be the other chief jumper in this event. He placed third last year and will push both Landon and Abdulahi. Others to watch include Daniel Welling (Monticello, Ill) and Kolten Postin (Central A&M, Moweaqua Ill).
Outlook: Mitch Mammoser (Newton, Ill) is the defending state champion and is a good bet to repeat that on Saturday. He has cleared 15-0 twice this season, with his best coming at the Shelbyville Open (15-6).
If Mammoser has an off day, there are several other vaulters that could surpass him. Sophomore Jack Denby (Carlinville, Ill) cleared 14-7 earlier in the year and could be his chief competition. Also watch for Dalton Plumer (Rushville-Industry, Rushville, Ill), Brandon Goode-Tolliver (Newton, Ill), Josh Blome (Westfield, Casey Ill), and Austin McCourt (Oregon Ill) to be in the mix for the top spot.
Outlook: This event could come down to any of 5 athletes that could win on Saturday. O’Shay Smith has the longest throw in 1A and the sectionals (58-3) and will be one of the weight men to watch. Senior Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manlius Ill) will be close having gone over 57 a number of times this year. Also watch for Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill), who was only 3 inches behind Smith’s sectional mark and could be peaking at the right time.
Other weight men to watch include Jake Mahin (Staunton, Ill), Brandon Williams (DuQuoin, Ill) and Gabe Manning (Williamsville, Ill).
Outlook: With Caleb Fricke (PORTA, Petersburg Ill) having moved into 2A for this season, there will be a new champion in this event. Just like the Shot Put, there will be five athletes that could seriously contest for the event title. Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manlius Ill) had the longest throw in sectional competition (160-3). Jake Mahin (Staunton, Ill) has the seasonal best (163-8). Another thrower that will be in the hunt for the title could be Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill), who has thrown 163-4 this year.
The big surprise in this event is Hakeem Chatman (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill). Not even in the discussion at the beginning of the year, this senior has emerged as one of the elite men in this event in this class throwing 161-0 at the end of April.
Also keep an eye on Cory Long (Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Paxton Ill), Dawson Hillis (Carrollton, Ill) and Alec Dutton (Catlin, Ill). All three of these athletes will be in the hunt for a top finish.
4 x 800 METER RELAY
Outlook: Tolono Unity enters this competition with the sectional best time (8:14.00). They could not be the favorite. Niantic Sangamon Valley, led by Eric Leonard, will be the one team to watch out for if it comes down to the final leg. Sangamon Valley has run 8:07.05 this season. The fastest team in 1A is Macon Meridian, led by Brock Snarski (8:05.99).
Two teams that could win include Sparta and St. Joseph-Ogden. Zeke Elkins looks like he could be anchoring for the Spartans and with the quartet they have, St. Joe could score some big points. Sparta has a strong duo in Jon Hill and Wes Bradshaw that could push them towards the front.
Do not know if any teams can go under 8, but it could be close. Do not forget these other quartets that could make things interesting: Monticello, Heyworth, Oregon, and Ottawa Marquette.
4 x 100 METER RELAY
Outlook: In the heat of Charleston that is expected this weekend, there could be some fast times in this event. Leo Catholic has the fastest time in 1A this year running 42.48 two weeks ago at Chicago Catholic League. They have a strong quartet led by Keith Harris Jr. and Theodore Hopkins. Peoria Christian could be in the mix with defending state 100 champ Jonathan Hutchison anchoring.
Lena Winslow is peaking at the right time and could be in the chase for the title. They will have a great anchor as well with Tevin Sellers. Also watch for Pleasant Plains, Momence, Newton, Madison, and Rockford Lutheran also to challenge.
3200 METER RUN
Outlook: Steve Schroeder (Monticello, Ill) will enter this race as the big favorite in this event. The big key will how hot will it be and what kind of tactics will Schroeder use. Last year will definitely be in the back of Schroeder’s mind. Last year, he had a big lead entering the final lap and Westmont’s Henry Arndt caught him in the final meters. This is Schroeder’s race to lose. He will make sure that this title is his.
The one person that could push the pace is Jesse Hahne (Schlarman, Danville Ill). The junior pushed him at the IPTT Classic indoors before Schroeder pulled away in the last 800. The same happened last week at Monticello’s Sectional. He may be the one not to late the pace lag.
Others to watch in this race include Scott Woodard (Unity, Tolono Ill), Dan Plunkett (Pleasant Plains Ill), Nate Novota (Westmont, Ill), and Andrew Hanselman (Monticello, Ill).
110 METER HIGH HURDLES
Outlook: There has been one hurdler that was looked as the favorite most of the year, but on Saturday, it could be one of two Catholic League rivals that may steal the show. Colin Carver (Westfield, Casey Ill) finished fourth last year and has been under 15 in May. Carver has the second fastest time in the sectional competition (14.76).
Joe Morrow (Hales Franciscan, Chicago Ill) has been on fire the last two weeks. Last week, he sizzled a 14.40 at the Chicago Christian Sectional and could be in contention for the win. Marlon Britton (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) lost to Morrow at Chicago Christian last week, but barely defeated him two weeks ago at the CCL Meet and will be looking for the repeat on Saturday.
Other hurdlers to watch include George Wayda (Pleasant Plains, Ill), Jake Hooker (Timothy Christian, Elmhurst Ill), Noel Yarngo (Mooseheart, Ill), and Spencer Cooper (Prairie City, Bushnell Ill).
100 METER DASH
Outlook: Will this race be as tight in 2011 when Bruce Gray (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) and Jonathan Hutchison (Peoria Christian, Peoria Ill) finished in a dead heat for the title. Hutchison is back and does not want to share the championship on Saturday. Looking at the top times, it will be close again.
Keith Harris (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) enters this meet with the fastest sectional time (10.85). Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill), Tevin Sellers & Quinn Haas (Winslow, Lena Ill), Broc Smith (Tuscola, Ill) and Martel Hunter (Monmouth-Roseville, Monmouth Ill) will challenge. Also keep an eye on Theodore Hopkins (Leo Catholic, Chicago, Ill), Nick Rude (Newman Catholic, Sterling Ill), and Cameron Walter (Greenville Ill). They will be all in the hunt to win at O’Brien Stadium.
800 METER RUN
Outlook: Blake Hale (Robinson, Ill) dominated the indoor season with a win at the IPTT classic. He enters the state meet with the fastest sectional time (1:55.71). He will face some hot competition from Brock Snarski (Meridian, Macon Ill) and Eric Leonard (Sangamon Valley, Niantic Ill). Both faced each other two weeks ago at the Shelbyville Open, where Leonard won by less than half of a second (1:54.51).
Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) could be in the mix, depending if he runs on his team’s 4 x8. The heat could wear him down just a little if he is in that. Also watch for Adam Crutchley (Villa Grove, Ill), George Gunther (University, Urbana Ill), Nick Jones (Oregon, Ill), and Aaron Kennedy (North Boone, Poplar Grove Ill). It should be a fast race. Under 1:54 could win this race.
4 x 200 METER RELAY
Outlook: Leo Catholic comes into the meet with the fastest time in the event (1:28.94) so far this season. This quartet looks like the big favorite.
Watch also for Newton, Chicago Hales Franciscan, Momence, Aurora Christian, Monmouth-Roseville, and Sterling Newman Catholic to contend.
400 METER DASH
Outlook: Sophomore Tim Doll (Westmont, Ill) has the 1A fastest time in the state after sectionals (49.96). It may go lower, especially with Dan Farmer (Johnston City, Ill) close behind. The senior was the best in this event indoors and he will look to be the best outdoors as well. Farmer’s fastest time so far this year is 50.08.
Watch also for Tevin Sellers (Winslow, Lena Ill), Tommy McCormick (Oregon, Ill), and Jonathan Harrell (Christian, Aurora Ill) to contend. Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) is entered in this event and will be doubling back in the 800. Will he have enough left on this tough double?
300 METER INTERMEDIATE HURDLES
Outlook: This looks like it could be Colin Carver (Westfield, Casey Ill) in this race. Carver has the fastest time coming out of sectionals by almost a second over George Wayda (Pleasant Plains, Ill) and Noel Yarngo (Mooseheart, Ill).
Jake Hooker (Timothy Christian, Elmhurst Ill), Matt McCoy (Lewistown, Ill), and Alex Arteaga (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) will all be in the hunt for the championship.
1600 METER RUN
Outlook: Could be the best of all the races in 1A on Saturday with two of the best distance runners in 1A. Steve Schroder (Monticello, Ill) two weeks ago at the Mahomet-Seymour Invitational ran a 4:15.48. Last week at the Seneca Sectional, Grant Nykaza (Beecher, Ill) ran the 1A sectionals best time of 4:17.36. Schroeder will be running earlier in the 3200. Nykaza will be running fresh. This could be a fast pace with maybe 4:14 or under winning it.
Also keep an eye on Adam Crutchley (Villa Grove, Ill), Cole Dill and Connor Ehnle (Tremont, Ill), Jesse Hahne (Schlarman, Danville Ill), and Matt Vermeersch (Pleasant Plains, Ill).
200 METER DASH
Outlook: Could be a fantastic final especially with the warm weather complimenting the sprinters. Keith Harris (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) has the fastest sectional time (22.22). Broc Smith (Tuscola, Ill) and Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill) have both ran faster times during the season and will be with Harris in the finals.
This is a deep field. Also watch for Dan Farmer (Johnston City), Myles Ketelson (Flora), Jesse Cardenas (Princeville), Nick Rude (Newman Catholic, Sterling), and Jonathan Hutchison (Peoria Christian).
4 x 400 METER RELAY
Outlook: Last race of the day…could decide the team title. The question will be who the hot team of the meet is because that could be your favorite. First 10 teams from sectionals are all within three seconds of each other with Aurora Christian having the fastest time (3:24.53). They do have the fastest time in 1A for the entire season.
Also keep an eye on Monmouth-Roseville, Lena-Winslow, St. Joseph-Ogden, Niantic Sangamon Valley, Williamsville, and Sparta.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL ATHLETES AND COACHES THIS WEEKEND!!!