High-SchoolTrack-and-XC: 1A

2012 Illinois Boys 1A Team Previews

February, 3, 2012
1A Sprint-Hurdles | 1A Distances | 1A Field Events | 1A Relays

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.

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.

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.

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

2012 Illinois Boys 1A Distance Previews

February, 3, 2012
Here is what to keep an eye on in the 3 distance races for this upcoming season in Class 1A

3200 Meter Run

9:27.76 Steve Schroeder SR Monticello 2nd - A
9:37.94 Jesse Hahne JR Danville Schlarman 10th - A
9:38.97 Scott Woodward SR Tolono Unity 7th - A
9:40.88 Cole Dill SR Tremont 8th - A
9:51.19 Cameron Harvey SR Sullivan
9:52.33 Spencer Friske SR Lake Forest Academy
9:55.84 Sam Whan SR Aledo Mercer County
9:57.90 Connor Ehnle SO Tremont
10:01.54 Luke Hill JR Ottawa Marquette
10:02.30 Luke Zocher SR Monticello
10:11.89 Colby Purcell SR Tolono Unity
10:13.90 Wesley Bradshaw SR Sparta
10:14.30 Sam Schuette SR Aurora Christian
10:15.82 Daniel Plunkett SO Pleasant Plains
10:17.47 Kevin Claus JR Port Byron Riverdale

It came down to a last lap kick for Henry Arndt of Westmont (Westmont HS) to move by Steve Schroeder of Monticello (Monticello HS) in the last 100 meters to win the state championship in this event. It has pushed Schroeder to bigger things in this past cross country season. After an earlier season defeat to Grant Nykaza of Beecher (Beecher HS) in September, Schroeder responded with a convincing 9 second win at the state cross country meet in November. I would imagine Schroeder still has that image of last May in his mind and would like to exorcise it.

Schroeder comes into this year with the fastest returning time by over 10 seconds to the time of Jesse Hahne of Danville (Schlarman HS).

After the state cross country meet, Nykaza shocked with his second place finish was thinking out loud about racing in the 3200 Meter Run this spring. Last year, Nykaza was a part of his team’s winning 4 x 800 relay and then in the 1600 Meter Run. With parts not being there for Beecher in that relay, we could see Nykaza running in this race at state in May.

This could be a tough field and we could see some quick times at state in this event. Also keep a close watch on Scott Woodard of Tolono (Unity HS), Cole Dill and Connor Ehnle of Tremont (Tremont HS), and Cameron Harvey of Sullivan (Sullivan HS).

800 Meter Run
1:55.34 Eric Leonard SR Niantic Sangamon Valley 2nd - A
1:55.77 Zeke Elkins SR St. Joseph-Ogden 4th - A
1:56.97 Brittian Henderson SR Chicago Latin
1:58.01 Lance Curtis SR Bushnell Prairie City 9th - A
1:59.37 Blake Hale JR Robinson
1:59.58 Steve Schroeder SR Monticello
1:59.95 Dakota Conrad SR Auburn
2:00.60 Jon Hill SR Sparta
2:00.88 Nick Jones SR Oregon
2:01.20 Josh Weier JR Colfax Ridgeview
2:01.42 Kendall Eckert SR Tolono Unity
2:01.49 Zach Quinn SR Heyworth
2:01.54 Armon Kennedy SR Poplar Grove North Boone

This race is always effected by the runners that doubling back after running the 4 x 8 relay earlier in the day. Last year’s rushing of the time schedule took out some of the runners who could have factored into the outcome.

The 800 in 1A will be a tight affair between Zeke Elkins of St. Joseph (St. Joseph-Ogden HS) and Eric Leonard of Niantic (Sangamon Valley HS). Leonard placed 2nd last year behind Josh Jones of Herscher (Herscher HS). In that race, Leonard ran a 3 second PR showing that he is capable of going much faster this spring. Elkins will be the chief competition for Leonard. Most likely coming off of the 4 x 8 relay, the senior showed he has the strength this past fall by finishing 15th at the state cross country meet. Last year, Elkins anchored his team to a second place finish and came back to finish 4th in this event.

Britt Henderson of Chicago (Latin HS) was on the outside looking in at last year’s state meet. He finished 14th in the preliminaries missing the finals by 6 tenths of a second. He ran a 1:56.97 at the Lisle Sectional last year. He has the talent to compete with the above mentioned.

There are a group of runners that will be in the mix. Keep an eye on Lance Curtis of Bushnell (Bushnell Prairie City HS) who made the finals last year and finished 11th, Blake Hale of Robinson (Robinson HS), Dakota Conrad of Auburn (Auburn HS), Nick Jones of Oregon (Oregon HS), and Kendall Eckert of Tolono (Unity HS).

The record in this class is 1:51.22 of Peter Callahan of Winnetka (North Shore-Country Day HS) in 2009. Both Elkins and Leonard have the talent to get close to this.

1600 Meter Run
4:21.16 Grant Nykaza JR Beecher 2nd - A
4:24.99 Jon Hill SR Sparta 4th - A
4:27.03 Steve Schroeder SR Monticello 12th - A
4:27.61 Matt Vermeersch SR Pleasant Plains 6th - A
4:30.19 Brock Snarski SO Macon Meridian
4:30.73 Cameron Harvey SR Sullivan
4:31.16 Andy Arenz SO Auburn
4:31.21 Matt Avenatti SR Georgetown-Ridge Farm
4:32.17 Luke Zocher SR Monticello
4:32.20 Wesley Bradshaw SR Sparta
4:32.22 Kendall Eckert SR Tolono Unity
4:32.22 Luke Muzikowski JR Chicago Hope Academy
4:32.31 James Weissensel SR Ottawa Marquette
4:34.84 Blake Hale JR Robinson
4:35.32 Connor Ehnle SO Tremont

Last fall was a breakout season for Beecher’s Grant Nykaza. Even though he did not win the state meet in cross country, he did make his mark by posting some fast times and did qualify for the Foot Locker National Meet. Big step for this junior. We could see some bigger steps in this event this spring from him. He has the fastest returning time in the 1600 by almost 3 seconds. You expect this junior to double.

Should be a good pack after Nykaza. Steve Schroeder of Monticello (Monticello HS) has the XC championship under his belt, but would like to add some more honors to that. He ran 4:27.03 last year. Expect that time to drop this spring.

Other runner to watch include Jon Hill and Wes Bradshaw of Sparta (Sparta HS), Luke Zocher of Monticello (Monticello HS), Matt Vermeersch of Pleasant Plains (Pleasant Plains HS), Brock Snarski of Macon (Meridian HS), and Andy Arenz of Auburn (Auburn HS).

Comments: please e-mail Michael Newman : newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com

2012 Illinois 1A Boys Field Events Preview

February, 3, 2012
Here is a glimpse of what to watch this spring in the field events in Class 1A:

Long Jump
22-2 Myles Ketelson SR Flora 11th - A
22-0.50 Alex Baumgarten SR Stewardson-Strasburg 2nd - A
21-5.50 Tyler Young JR Virden North Mac
21-5.50 Jake Keown JR Shelbyville
21-5.25 Malik Williams SR Champaign Judah Christian 6th - A
21-2.50 Kyle Landon JR Chester
21-1.25 Devin Johnson JR Erie-Prophetstown 9th - A
21-1 Michael Geary SR Polo
20-11 Jacob Segrest JR Piasa Southwestern
20-10.50 Jake Neely SR Trenton-Wesclin
20-9 Austin Wenskunas SO Argenta-Oreana
20-7.50 D.J. Gordon SR Monticello

Three all state jumpers return to this event. Alex Baumgarten of Strasburg (Stewardson-Strausburg HS) finished 2nd last year at the state meet and returns as the highest placer. However, he does not have the longest returning jump. That honor belongs to Myles Ketelson of Flora (Flora HS) who jumped 22’ 2” during the season. Should be a good battle between these two quality jumpers.

Let us not discount the other two jumpers that placed at last year’s state meet. Keep an eye on Malik Williams of Champaign (Judah Christian HS) who finished 6th, and Devin Johnson of Erie (Erie-Prophetstown HS) who finished 9th.

Other jumpers to keep an eye on include Tyler Young of Virden (North Mac HS), Jake Keown of Shelbyville (Shelbyville HS), and Kyle Landon of Chester (Chester HS).

Triple Jump
44-8.50 Alex Walter SR Camp Point Central 3rd - A
44-4 Tay Shanklin JR Winnebago 7th - A
42-8.50 Matt Mcdonald JR Dupo 12th - A
42-6.50 Russell Michelich SR Auburn
42-5 Heath Byom SR Knoxville 11th - A
42-3.25 Zach Gulley SR Downs Tri-Valley
42-0.50 Jordan McCall SR Niantic Sangamon Valley
42-0 Alex Arteaga SR St. Joseph-Ogden
41-6 Jordan Evans SR Red Hill

This could be a wide open event in 1A this year with only two jumpers that return that are all-state. That also means that there is an opportunity for plenty of jumpers to step up.

Alex Walter of Camp Point (Central HS) placed 3rd last year at the state meet to be the highest placing returner. He also has the longest returning jump. Close behind is junior Tay Shanklin of Winnebago (Winnebago HS), who placed 7th last year.

After these two jumpers, there is a 2 foot gap. However, watch for Heath Byom of Knoxville (Knoxville HS), Matt McDonald of Dupo (Dupo HS), and Russell Michelich of Auburn (Auburn HS).

High Jump
6-10 Kyle Landon JR Chester 2nd - A
6-8 Oumaru Abdulahi JR Mooseheart 1st - A
6-6 Bill Weissinger JR Hinckley-Big Rock 3rd - A
6-5 Matt Mueller SR Mt. Olive 8th - A
6-4 Kolten Postin SR Moweaqua Central A&M 9th - A
6-3 George Wayda SR Pleasant Plains
6-3 Andrew Esser SR Kewanee Wethersfield
6-3 Jaylin Neal SR Winnebago
6-3 John Piper JR Alton Marquette
6-3 Matt Mcdonald JR Dupo 14th - A
6-2 Daniel Vatch SR Elmhurst Immaculate Conception
6-2 Darrin Southwell SO Taylor Ridge Rockridge
6-1 Andrew Barsema SO Fulton
6-0 Kyle Dyke SR St. Joseph-Ogden
6-0 Brody Bilthouse SR Elmhurst Timothy Christian
6-0 Blake Ebeling JR Newton
6-0 Daniel Declerck SR Alexis United
6-0 Kane Elston SO Galva
6-0 John Goeckner SO Effingham St. Anthony
6-0 Justin Christian SR Rockford Christian Life

Perhaps the most competitive of all the field events in 1A. 5 jumpers return that attained all state status. The good thing is that the top 3 return. The better this is that those 3 are all juniors. So the next two years in the high jump in this class should be fun fun fun.

The two athletes to keep a close watch on are Oumaru Abdulahi of Mooseheart (Mooseheart HS) and Kyle Landon of Chester (Chester HS). Landon had the highest clearance last year with a jump of 6’ 10”. However, it was Abdulahi who bested Landon at the state meet. Both are great sportsmen and great athletes. We could see both of them flirting with 7’ this spring.

Do not discount Bill Weissinger of Hinckley (Hinckley-Big Rock HS). He finished 3rd last spring. He should be in the mix with Landon and Abdulahi for the state championship in 2012.

Also keep an eye on Matt Mueller of Mt. Olive (Mt. Olive HS) and Kolten Postin of Moweaqua (Central A&M HS) to challenge for a top 3 finish.

Pole Vault
15-3 Mitch Mammoser SR Newton 1st - A
14-0 Brandon Tolliver-Goode SO Newton 8th - A
13-9 Haeden Sweetin JR DuQuoin
13-9 Dalton Plumer SR Rushville-Industry 10th - A
13-6 Austin McCourt SR Oregon 14th - A
13-6 Josh Blome JR Casey Westfield
13-3 Mark Schmidt JR Oregon NH - A
13-3 Alex McWhorter SR Teutopolis 15th - A
13-0 George Wayda SR Pleasant Plains
13-0 Koty Groutage SO Bushnell Prairie City
13-0 Jack Denby SO Carlinville
13-0 Alex Arteaga SR St. Joseph-Ogden
13-0 Allen Kile SR Pana
13-0 Kolton Merritt JR Eureka
Mitch Mammoser of Newton (Newton HS) is the defending champion in the Pole Vault and will enter the season as the huge favorite. It would have been interesting if Tyler Ginger of Stanford (Olympia HS), who placed 2nd place last year, was in this event. However, Olympia HS is now 2A.

There is a 15 inch gap between Mammoser and the rest of the field. His teammate, Sophomore Brandon Tolliver-Goode finished 8th last year and could be his chief competition.

Other vaulters that will push the two Newton vaulters include Haeden Sweetin of DuQuoin (DuQuoin HS), Dalton Plumer of Rushville (Rushville-Industry HS), Austin McCourt of Oregon (Oregon HS), and Josh Blome of Casey (Casey-Westfield HS).

Shot Put
57-1.50 Adam Weidner SR Manlius Bureau Valley 5th - A
54-11.25 Ryan Pearce JR Villa Grove 4th - A
53-5.50 O'Shay Smith JR Lena-Winslow 6th - A
51-9 Heath Frevert JR Glasford Illini Bluffs 10th - A
50-2 Ben Smith SR Cambridge
49-2 Gabe Manning SR Williamsville
49-1.50 Matt Geitner SR Knoxville
48-7.75 Nic Bergman SR Litchfield
48-1 Jeremy Gibson SO Nashville
47-11 Michael Jack SR Winnebago
47-10 Brandon Williams SR DuQuoin
47-9.25 Sam Akainyah SR Winnetka North Shore-Country Day

Just like the Pole Vault, this event could be as competitive. 3 athletes return that are all-state. Ryan Pearce of Villa Grove (Villa Grove HS) is the highest finisher returning. He placed 4th last year. His best put of the year is over 2 feet behind that of Adam Weidner of Manlius (Bureau Valley HS), who finished 5th. Some of that had to do with the poor conditions on prelims day a year ago. Look for a competition between these 2 this year.

O’Shay Smith of Lena (Lena-Winslow HS) finished 6th last year and is the other returning all-stater. Look for big things from him this spring. Also keep an eye on Heath Frevert of Glasford (Illini Bluffs HS) and Ben Smith of Cambridge (Cambridge HS) in this event.

183-10 Caleb Fricke SR Petersburg PORTA 2nd - A
164-5 Ryan Pearce JR Villa Grove 6th - A
160-3 Adam Weidner SR Manlius Bureau Valley
159-7 Gabe Manning SR Williamsville
158-7.50 Michael Jack SR Winnebago
149-2 Chris Aschemann SR Carterville
149-0 Jason Fry SO Stewardson-Strasburg
148-6 Dawson Hillis SO Carrollton 9th - A
145-9 Cory Long SR Paxton-Buckley-Loda
143-8 Heath Frevert JR Glasford Illini Bluffs 12th - A
143-2 Drew Benson SR Monticello
141-0.50 Quinton Risley JR Arcola

After horrible conditions in the prelims where they could not move this event indoors like most of the field events, Caleb Fricke of Petersburg (PORTA HS) responded with a huge throw in the finals. Still was not enough to catch the state champ Andrew Ellison of Lebanon (Lebanon HS), but it was a great effort. Fricke enters this year as the big favorite in this event. His throw is close to 20 feet better than the next closest athlete Ryan Pearce of Villa Grove (Villa Grove HS), who finished 6th last year.

Other throwers to watch include Adam Weidner of Manlius (Bureau Valley HS), Gabe Manning of Williamsville (Williamsville HS), and Michael Jack of Winnebago (Winnebago HS).

comments? e-mail Michael Newman newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com