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6th Annual Normal West Wildcat Invitational Preview
It may be the end of February. But on Friday on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington IL, the track at the Shirk Center will have the intensity of the state meet at the end of May.
Some of the top individual athletes will be in attendance for the Wildcat Invitational. There is no team scores kept at this meet. This is more however an opportunity for coaches to access how their teams are developing for the 2012 season. It is also a time for the athletes to see what work they still need to do.
Here is a look at some of the events to watch for this meet. The first race starts at 3:45PM Friday afternoon.
~~ Dynamite 3200 Meter Run ~~
It may be the first race of the day, but it could be the most anticipated race possibly in the indoor season. The 3200 Meter Run has the starpower with two of the top elite distance runners in the state.
Michael Clevengerof MacArthur HS (Decatur, Ill) is the 2 time 2A Cross Country champion and the defending state champion in the 2A 3200 Meter Run. Garrett Sweatt of Edwardsville HS placed 4th last fall in the 3A state meet. Both runners have PR's of 9:09 in this event.
The two raced at the Peoria Invitational last October. In that race, Clevenger moved away in the last 600 meters to win by 4 seconds. Being that this is the first race for both runners this track season, it will be interesting to see what both runners bring to the table.
Meet manager Steve Destri of Normal West HS orginally had one section of this race with 18 runners in it. It has since been changed from one to two sections. With less runners in section 2, it will mean less lapped runners. Even though this race is early in the season, we could see some fast times.
~~ The Relays ~~
As the spotlight will be on the first race of the day, it will still be shining bright as the last event goes off: the 4x400m Relay. There is quality in the last section of this race with defending 2A state champion Cahokia and perennial event power Belleviille West leading the way.
Cahokia ran 3:26 at the University of Arkansas Invitational in January and come into this event with the fastest seed time. With Marlin Brady and Darren Payton leading the way for the Comanches, this team could be flirting with a sub 3:25 time.
Plainfield North will be up to the task of challenging Cahokia with Quest Youngleading the way for North. Belleville Wet, led by Jeremy Randolph will be up to the challenge for contending for the win in this race.
Minooka, Edwardsville, and Springfield fill out the final section and will be in contention with the 3 above mentioned squads.
~~ The Field ~~
There is good quality in all 5 of the field events. We will see some good performances in this meet.
Keep an eye on the Pole Vault. Hometown vaulter Eric Gordon of Normal Community West HS has already cleared 15-4 this winter and is itching to go higher in this meet. He will have some good vaulters pushing him higher led by Tom Schuette of Edwardsville and Cirron Clarkof Danville.
In the Triple Jump, watch for Aaron Perry of Richwoods (Peoria, Ill). He placed last year at the state meet while competing for Mt. Zion HS. His family moved during the summer. He will be a force this year in 3A for this Peoria school.
Chris Moore of Cahokia has stunned many in this event this winter by jumping 45'5 3/4" at a meet in Missouri at the end of January. His previous best was around 41' ! Should be a good competition.
~~ The Sprints ~~
The 55 Meter Dash should be sizzling. Cameron James of Edwardsville has ran 6.96 for 60 Meters in January. That time is equivelent to 6.38 for this event. The all state performer in the 100 meters last spring will be the focus in this event.
However, he will have company. Keep a close eye on the Richwoods (Peoria, Ill) duo of Mikail Davisand Kendrick Foster, Joey Giovannelli of Glenwood (Chatham, Ill), Johnathan Boey of MacArthur (Decatur, Ill), Marquis Flowers of North (Plainfield, Ill), and Trey Story of Cahokia. This field is loaded. We could see someone popping up that was not mentioned here that could surprise.
The 400 Meter Dash should be tight with Quest Youngof North (Plainfield, Ill) and Marlin Brady of Cahokia as the favorites.
Watch for Clayton Glasperof Richwoods (Peoria, Ill) in this event. He ran 14.1 in the 110 HH last spring finishing 2nd in the 2A state meet and should be the favorite in this event.
To preview the Normal West Wildcat Invitational heat sheets, click here.