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Saturday, May 19, 2012
3A Title Is Up For Grabs

By Tony Jones

Coaches like to play mind games when it comes to the state preliminary round.  Any average track and field observer understands that getting into the final in the least amount of energy exerted is the focus.  But what about loading a particular relay to make a point to the competition or having a kid sit on the competitor to only blow them out in the end?

Belleville West was not one of the teams that sat back and toyed with the competition.  Coach Paul James let his girls loose on the field and the results show them going into the finals with nine total entries: six individuals, three relays.

The southern part of the state has another familiar foe in Edwardsville with eight entries (all individuals).  The Tigers will contend with Evanston (8 total) and Frankfort Lincoln-Way East (6 total) for the right to earn one of the three team trophies.

Field events grab center stage first-

The field events got things off to a flying start with discus defending champion Emmonnie Henderson (Jr., Edwardsville) heaving a mighty 157-11.  She leads the field by more than 20-feet.  In reality, she would need to only check in on Saturday to earn her gold medal.  But she will probably attempt her full allotment and go after her class record IHSA record of 161-1 set last year.

Over the past two weeks, long jumper Savannah Carson (Jr., Naperville Neuqua Valley) has gotten real healthy.  She missed a portion of the season with a sore back but has since jumped well.  She battled Aliyah Harmon (Jr., Olympia Fields Rich Central) throughout the afternoon for the pole position.  Carson leads the field 19-4.5 to Harmon’s 19-2.5.  But watch out for the future multi-events star Maya Neal.  She is a freshman teammate of Carson’s and has been compared to the legendary and former Waubonsie Valley star Shakia Pinnick because of her versatility.  Neal is seeded third with a sweet 19-1 mark.

21 high jumpers eclipsed the automatic 5-3 mark to Saturday’s final.  Watch out for US#2 Jacklyn Aremka (Sr., Plainfield North) to improve one spot to first.  Aremka’s has jumped 5-10 this season.

Chaz Duson (Sr., Olympia Fields Rich Central) triple jumped 40-6.25 out of nowhere to grab the top seed for the final.  Her effort is just over the legal allowable wind of 2.0.

The sprint power brokers will lead Saturday’s charge-

Aaliyah Brown (Jr., Lincoln-Way East), Morolake Akinosun (Sr., Aurora Waubonsie Valley), and Cessily Jones (Sr., Plainfield North) are the main name brand power sprinters here.  All three superstars have qualified for the 100 and 200 final.  Brown and Jones will have relay duty as well- Brown in the 4x1 and 4x1 while Jones will assist her team in the 4x2.

Distance events get into the act-

Wheaton-Warrenville South, Elmhurst York, and Glen Ellyn Glenbard West are three of the key teams to watch for in the 4x800.  York won heat 1 (9:13.67), Glenbard West took heat 2 (9:14.78), and Wheaton South grab the final section in 9:13.56.  It will be interesting to see if they will let their runners go and get after the state meet record of 9:04.14 and the elusive 9:00 barrier.

The 1600 is an event even had sprint fans buzzing as it produced the deepest and fastest field to the final.  Ariel Michalek (Sr., Oswego East) burned a 4:54.21 first heat winner that pulled several other runners under 5:00. It forced the two heats to run it was the Saturday final.  The 12th and final seed mark was an astounding 5:00.97.  In most years, 5:06 would make the final.  Not this year.  It was only the 18th best mark on Friday.

It would be a crime to not mention Evanston and the outstanding job that Coach Fenton Gunter has done.  The Wildkits are on the verge of winning another state championship if they can finish out races cleanly.  Back is leader and senior stalwart Margaret Bamgbose. The University of Notre Dame signee had an awesome day with top marks in the 100H, 300H, and 200.  She will be ready to duel for team in the 4x400 if need be.

Coaches like to play mind games when it comes to the state preliminary round.  Any average track and field observer understands that getting into the final in the least amount of energy exerted is the focus.  But what about loading a particular relay to make a point to the competition or having a kid sit on the competitor to only blow them out in the end?

Belleville West was not one of the teams that sat back and toyed with the competition.  Coach Paul James let his girls loose on the field and the results show them going into the finals with nine total entries: six individuals, three relays.

The southern part of the state has another familiar foe in Edwardsville with eight entries (all individuals).  The Tigers will contend with Evanston (8 total) and Frankfort Lincoln-Way East (6 total) for the right to earn one of the three team trophies.

Field events grab center stage first-
The field events got things off to a flying start with discus defending champion Emmonnie Henderson (Jr., Edwardsville) heaving a mighty 157-11.  She leads the field by more than 20-feet.  In reality, she would need to only check in on Saturday to earn her gold medal.  But she will probably attempt her full allotment and go after her class record IHSA record of 161-1 set last year.

Over the past two weeks, long jumper Savannah Carson (Jr., Naperville Neuqua Valley) has gotten real healthy.  She missed a portion of the season with a sore back but has since jumped well.  She battled Aliyah Harmon (Jr., Olympia Fields Rich Central) throughout the afternoon for the pole position.  Carson leads the field 19-4.5 to Harmon’s 19-2.5.  But watch out for the future multi-events star Maya Neal.  She is a freshman teammate of Carson’s and has been compared to the legendary and former Waubonsie Valley star Shakia Pinnick because of her versatility.  Neal is seeded third with a sweet 19-1 mark.

21 high jumpers eclipsed the automatic 5-3 mark to Saturday’s final.  Watch out for US#2 Jacklyn Aremka (Sr., Plainfield North) to improve one spot to first.  Aremka’s has jumped 5-10 this season.

Chaz Duson (Sr., Olympia Fields Rich Central) triple jumped 40-6.25 out of nowhere to grab the top seed for the final.  Her effort is just over the legal allowable wind of 2.0.

The sprint power brokers will lead Saturday’s charge-
Aaliyah Brown (Jr., Lincoln-Way East), Morolake Akinosun (Sr., Aurora Waubonsie Valley), and Cessily Jones (Sr., Plainfield North) are the main name brand power sprinters here.  All three superstars have qualified for the 100 and 200 final.  Brown and Jones will have relay duty as well- Brown in the 4x1 and 4x1 while Jones will assist her team in the 4x2.

Distance events get into the act-
Wheaton-Warrenville South, Elmhurst York, and Glen Ellyn Glenbard West are three of the key teams to watch for in the 4x800.  York won heat 1 (9:13.67), Glenbard West took heat 2 (9:14.78), and Wheaton South grab the final section in 9:13.56.  It will be interesting to see if they will let their runners go and get after the state meet record of 9:04.14 and the elusive 9:00 barrier.

The 1600 is an event even had sprint fans buzzing as it produced the deepest and fastest field to the final.  Ariel Michalek (Sr., Oswego East) burned a 4:54.21 first heat winner that pulled several other runners under 5:00. It forced the two heats to run it was the Saturday final.  The 12th and final seed mark was an astounding 5:00.97.  In most years, 5:06 would make the final.  Not this year.  It was only the 18th best mark on Friday.

It would be a crime to not mention Evanston and the outstanding job that Coach Fenton Gunter has done.  The Wildkits are on the verge of winning another state championship if they can finish out races cleanly.  Back is leader and senior stalwart Margaret Bamgbose. The University of Notre Dame signee had an awesome day with top marks in the 100H, 300H, and 200.  She will be ready to duel for team in the 4x400 if need be.