With the changes that the IHSA implemented last summer, Class 1A has changed dramatically. Gone are the old powers such as Herrin, Harrisburg, Walther Lutheran, and Rockford Christian to name a few. It will be a time where some schools will step up to the big stage in contending for the state championship in this class.
3 out of the top 5 schools in last year’s state meet have moved up a class. However, defending state champion Chicago Leo remains in 1A and will look to defend its crown.
Here is a look of some of the top schools in 1A that will contend for the state championship this May in Charleston:
Chicago Leo 2011 Finish : 1st Top Returnees: Theodore Hopkins SO (Sprints), Marlon Britton JR (Sprints/Hurdles), Keith Harris SR (Sprints), Joshua Wright JR (Hurdles), James Davis SO (Sprints).
Outlook: This will be a very young team for veteran coach Ed Adams, but this could be in contention for a trophy in May. Theodore Hopkins ran in the shadows of graduated all-state sprinter Bruce Gray.He should be in position to place high in both the 100 and 200. Juniors Joshua Wright and Marlon Britten are 2 hurdlers that could make it down state in both of the hurdle races. The Lions have always had good sprint relay quartets. Expect more of the same in 2012. This will be a young squad. But with a year of racing, this team may be primed to go after a top finish in May.
Winnebago 2011 Finish: 6th Top Returnees: Neal Leonard SR (Sprints), Jaylin Neal SR (Sprints, HJ), Zach Kleindl SR (Hurdles), Tay Shanklin JR (Jumps), Max Bradfield SR (Pole Vault), Michael Jack SR (Weights).
Outlook: At the conclusion of last year’s state meet, it looked like the Indians would be the big favorite in 2012. In September, Marcus Posely decided to transfer to Rockford Auburn. He will not compete in any sports this school year as he was declared ineligible by the IHSA. Without Posely, who would have scored in the sprints and helped in the relays, Winnebago still has the parts to be in the hunt for a state championship. Neal Leonard will score big points in both the sprints, Tay Shanklin will be towards the top in the Triple Jump and possibly in the Long Jump, and Michael Jack could score points in both of the weight events. Both sprint relays will be in hunt for a top finish as well. This team could score more points over more events than most of the schools this year in 1A..which places them in good shape come May.
St. Joseph-Ogden 2011 Finish: 8th Top Returnees: Austin Allen SR (Sprints), Zeke Elkins SR (Distances), Landon Vowels SR (Distances), Alex Arteaga SR (Hurdles, Pole Vault), Kyle Dyke SR (High Jump), Chas Cox SR (Relays), Cole Johnson JR (Distances), Cameron Ackerson SR (Sprints).
Outlook: Another team that could walk away with a trophy. This east-central Illinois squad has the pieces to do it. Zeke Elkins will be one of the top runners in the 800 along with being a key part in both the 4x4 and 4x8 relays. Alex Arteaga should score big points in both the Pole Vault and the Hurdles. Their quartets in the 4x4 and the 4x8 could be favorites in the events. Also look for points from their 2 sprint relays. Along with Winnebago, a team that could be in contention for the state team championship.
Newton 2011 Finish: 13th Top Returnees: Ridge Finn SR (Sprints), Jake Stone SR (Sprints ), Blake Ebeling JR (High Jump), Mitch Mammoser SR (Pole Vault), Brandon Tolliver-Goode SO (Pole Vault).
Outlook: Mitch Mammoser should be the big favorite in the Pole Vault along with Sophomore Brandon Tolliver-Goode. Sprinters Ridge Finn and Jake Stone will be the cornerstones in both sprint relays. Could place in the top 5 in May.
Peoria Christian 2011 Finish: 11th Top Returnees: Jonathan Hutchison SR (Sprints), Tavis Johnson SR (Sprints), Corey Allen JR (Sprints), Josh Doolin SO (Sprints), Josh Henry SO (Sprints), Cedric Riley SO (Sprints).
Outlook:Jonathan Hutchison will return to Charleston as a favorite in both short sprint races. Coach Lisa Fox also has a pretty good core of young sprinters that could compliment Hutchison in the 4 x 1 and 4 x 2 relays. If Hutchison is part of these quartets, this school could return to Peoria with the school’s first team trophy.
Monticello 2011 Finish: 36th Top Returnees: Steve Schroeder SR (Distances), Luke Zocher SR (Distances), D.J. Gordon SR (Sprints, Long Jump), Drew Benson SR (Discus).
Outlook:Steve Schroeder placed 2nd last year in the 3200. He is out to finish what he started in the fall when he won the 1A Cross Country Individual Championship. He could score big points in both the 1600 & the 3200. Along with Luke Zocher, the Sages have a strong distance squad that could score points in all 4 distance events. D.J. Gordon could place as well in either the 100 or the Long Jump. With the 1A class depleted with some of the teams moving to 2A, Monticello could place in the top 5 in May in Charleston.
Questions / Comments: please e-mail Michael Newman : newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com