High-SchoolTrack-and-XC: charleston

IHSA, Track, Dyestat IL, GeigerBob Geiger/ESPNHSLeo HS wins the 4 x 100 Relay at the 2012 IHSA Class A State Meet, propelling them to a team victory.
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Charleston, Ill ---There he stood by the awards tent talking to his fellow competitors with a slight smile on his face. You could tell that Steve Schroeder (Monticello, Ill) did not have much energy left in his body. This day could have been about him trying to accomplish a 3200 /1600 double to go along with his cross country title in the fall. Not that many runners had accomplished that.

He made this championship Saturday at the IHSA state meet more about his teammates and what he wanted for them. Instead, he added the 4 x 800 Meter Relay to what he would run. If Monticello’s 4 x 400 Meter Relay would have qualified, he would have run that as well.

“My teammates have been working so hard and they have been improving over the season. I believed in them,” said Schroeder. “I wanted to do it for them. I knew I could do it for them and they did it for me. We did it for each other. I wanted to give the experience of being a champion. I am not the only champion at Monticello this year. There are three other guys that I get to share that with.”

At 11:00 AM, the competitors stepped out onto the track for the 4 x 800 Meter Relay. It was a close battle through the first two legs as Monticello, Elmwood, and Tolono Unity switched off the lead. On the third leg, Elmwood’s Issac Ramsey took the lead and tried to stretch out the lead. The goal for Monticello’s third man Jesse Galaway was to stay close for Schroeder’s anchor leg. Gallaway accomplished that staying within a second of Ramsey as he handed off the baton to Schroeder.

This race was set up perfectly for Schroeder. There was no doubt of that in the packed stands at O’Brien Field. Schroeder 1:55.1 anchor brought home the title for the Sages four seconds ahead of Erie.

One hour later, Schroeder took the track again ready to go after the 3200 title that eluded him in 2011. The pace was fairly quick running 2:19.1 for the opening 800. Schroeder, Jesse Hahne (Schlarman, Danville Ill), and Scott Woodward (Unity, Tolono Ill) had already opened up a 15 meter lead ahead of the pack. After the 1200 meter mark, Hahne made a move to test Schroeder and how he was feeling. Nothing changed as the Schroeder stayed closely on Hahne’s shoulder for the next three laps. The trio were at 4:43.3 as they passed the 1600.

The weather was taking affect on the race at this point as runners started to slow down succumbing to the stifling heat. With 3 laps to go, Schroeder felt like it was time to go. Within the next lap, Schroeder ran a 74 second 400 but had opened up a four second lead. This race was in. No dramatic kick was needed. It was just survive and finish. Schroeder covered the last 1200 in 3:41 as he crossed the line nine seconds ahead of Woodward and a state championship, his second within an hour.

“This race was more of an endurance test for me. The race was mostly tactical. I know the time wasn’t impressive, it was just getting the points for the team.”

Schroeder came back on to the track three hours later. He knew he would company in his quest for the triple in Grant Nykaza (Beccher, Ill) in the 1600 Meter Run. Nykaza took the lead immediately at the start and Schroeder immediately content to let Nykaza do the work. The duo passed in 2:09 opening up a six second lead. There was still no change over the next 400 meters. Schroeder was just sitting there waiting to make his move to open the lead up. Or was it the other way around?

Schroeder stayed close to Nykaza, but was laboring to do so. The Beecher junior could sense that. At 200 meters to go, Nykaza exploded away from Schroeder with the distance between the two growing wider and wider. Nykaza’s last 400 was 61.5, 28 seconds for the last 200 as he ran 4:18.34 for a four second win over Schroeder.

The win for Nykaza was redemption in the season for him. “I’m ecstatic right now. I had injuries during this season and I had only two mile races heading into the state meet. My confidence was low,” said Nykaza. “I needed a good time at sectionals to get confidence. Everyone was telling me that Steve would be tired. But it’s the state meet. You never give up. No matter how tired you are. It is a mental thing and you just put it past your head.”

“I was telling myself over and over again I was ready for it and I just had to keep myself mentally upbeat that I could do this,” Schroeder said. “I just tried to stay with Nykaza. I waited to make my move and he made his even stronger. It will keep a chip on my shoulder as I head into college.”

The future is bright for this young man. What is next for Schroeder is an appointment to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He will report on June 28 and is looking forward to the new challenge. “The Naval Academy just fits me. I feel good when I am among the Midshipmen. I visited there during my junior year. My career I really want to be an officer in the Navy in Special Forces. That is the goal in my life and it toughens me up to go out here and burn it all out on the track on a hot day over and over that is mentally and physically. I think I can set my mind to whatever I decide to do in the Navy. It will be good for me.”

Schroeder’s efforts helped Monticello earn a third place trophy. For the team title, Leo Catholic had to wait during the final event the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. It had no more events and had to wait and see what the only team left with a chance to beat them, Newton, would do in that event. Newton would need a fourth place finish for the team championship, fifth for a tie.

Newton finish 6th in the race, securing a back to back title for the small Chicago Catholic League School. Leo Catholic was paced by a win by their 4 x 100 Meter Relay (42.76) and all state performances from Keith Harris (100 – 4th , 200 – 7th), Theodore Hopkins (100 – 6th, 200 – 6th), and Marlon Britton with a second place finish in the 110 Meter High Hurdles.

Other News and notes:

  • Newton’s second place finish was powered by a first and fifth place tie for finish by Mitch Mammoser and Brandon Goode-Tolliver. Mammoser easily won his second straight Pole Vault championship clearing a personal best of 15-11. He had three good tries at the 1A record of 16-2.5 but was unsuccessful. “I was a little at first. Everyone expected me to repeat. A lot more pressure heading into this meet. I knew I could do it. I just jumped like I have been,” Mammoser said. “The vault I made at 15-7 was a school record. My brother Scott had it. I thought about going after the Class 1A record, but I was not ready for that. I got 15-11 on my third jump.”

  • Deonte Pryor (Kewanee, Ill) last year could not run in the state meet due to hamstring problems. He had a great weekend by winning both the Long Jump and the 100 Meter Dash and finished third in the 200 Meter Dash. “Coming out of the blocks, my legs felt like jello,” said Pryor. “It’s been a long time trying to get here for the win. This year I worked harder than ever to get down here to win.”

  • Daniel Farmer (Johnston City, Ill) had just won the 400 Meter Dash (49.25) over Tim Doll (Westmont, Ill). He stood in the middle of the infield looking like he was not satisfied. “I really have been concentrating on the 200 this year. Myles Kettelson (Flora, Ill). Beat me the last couple of weeks and I really want to get him. But this win in the 400 feels great.” Farmer did accomplish his goal in the 200. He beat Kettelson, who finished fifth, and in the process won the 200 by five hundredths of a second over Jordan Hutchison (Peoria Christian, Peoria Ill).

  • Eric Leonard (Sangamon Valley, Niantic Ill) ran a 1:55 anchor to bring his team up to finish third in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay. He followed that up by capturing the 800 Meter Run in 1:54.61 holding off Britt Henderson (The Latin School, Chicago Ill) by thirteen hundredths of a second. “The relay took a lot out of me but I had plenty of time to rest. I still felt fresh but I felt obliged to get them the medals,” said Leonard. “I was just trying to win. Dakota Conrad (Auburn, Ill) went out fast. I’ve raced him before and I was expecting that. I went out where I wanted to be (55.2) and I was kind of feeling it at the end. But a win is a win.”

  • Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manluis Ill) started his high school career playing baseball. He transitioned over track his sophomore. He finished it off on Saturday winning the Shot Put (57-10.75) by almost ten inchers over Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill). “I knew in warm-ups today I would be locked in and ready to go,” Weidner said. “I started today at 55. My coach told me to speed it up and I hit a 57. I knew I had another good one in me but I scratched. It got me the title.” Pearce came back to win the Discus (166-11) by a foot over Jake Mahin (Stanton, Ill).

  • Kyle Landon (Chester, Ill) was out to better last year’s second place finish and defeat the defending champion Oumaru Abdulahi (Mooseheart, Ill). Both jumpers cleared 6-10 but Landon was awarded the win on less misses. Landon followed that up with a second place finish in the Triple Jump behind Heath Byom (Knoxville, Ill) trailing only one and a half inches (43-10.75 – 43-9.25).

  • Colin Carver (Casey-Westfield, Casey Ill) was the only individual double winner on the track in Class 1A. He nipped Marlon Britton (Leo Catholic, Chicago, Ill) to win by four hundredths of a second. Carver dominated the intermediate hurdle races holding off Noel Yarngo (Mooseheart, Ill) for the win (38.71-39.32).

  • The last race of the day went to Aurora Christian in the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. Jake Gehman took control of the race on his second leg. Anchorman Dillon Howorth was able to hold off Bryce Willett (Monmouth-Roseville, Monmouth Ill) and Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) for a 22 hundredths of a second win. Elkins had a busy day placing fourth in the 800 and third in the 400.


Charleston, Ill --- Michael Clevenger (MacArthur, Decatur Ill) was a soccer play his freshman year. He decided to go out for track that spring season.

“It’s hard to believe how far I have come in these four years. I had a decent junior high career, but it was never like training. I was just going to meets. I didn’t know what training was,” Clevenger said. “I thought other runners were playing other sports like I was. When I came to the state meet my freshman year, I was blown away how big track & field is in Illinois. I was oblivious to that.”

Clevenger entered the annuals of other Illinois distance greats that won the triple crown (cross country, 3200, 1600) in the same school year by winning both 3200 & 1600 in the 2A Boys state meet.

The extremely hot weather in Charleston may have contributed to Clevenger’s success in both races. The 3200 went out slow with Clevenger in a pack led by Jamison Dale (Jones College Prep), Will Brewster (Central, Grayslake Ill), and Marc Maton (Glenwood, Chatham Ill) through a slow 4:48.8 first 1600.

Michael Kouri (Notre Dame, Peoria Ill) took the lead for the next 400 but the paced slowed down to a 72 second lap. Clevenger and Dale started pushing on lap 7 with Brewster and Maton close in tow breaking away from the other runners. The bell went off and so did Clevenger. Brewster chased after him in the 200 but with no avail. Clevenger’s last 800 was 2:06.1, his last 400 58.9.

“The times were not great. The heat had something to do with that. What was I supposed to do? It was a matter at the end of who could run the fastest last 400,” he said. “When we went through the mile, it felt like tempo running and I was feeling really good. When I crossed the finish line, it was like phew, I got through that one.”

It set him up with not exerting a lot of energy for the 1600 three hours later. But the heat would not matter in this race. The pace was extremely slow with the lead pack of Sam Welbourne (Jerseyville, Jersey Ill), Clevenger, Dale, Brewster, 800 champ Luke Zygmunt (Central, Grayslake Ill), and Maton close by. Once again, the best runner with the closing 400 was going to win. And again, it was Clevenger. The MacArthur senior closed in a 56.4 400 meters with the Grayslake Central pair Brewster and Zygmunt next in line.

“I thought that if the 3200 was tougher, it would have made the 1600 much harder to come back in especially with the heat. The first half was so slow in the 1600. I felt pretty controlled until I started letting it go the last 300,” Clevenger said. “It’s unexplainable how I felt getting the 1600 for the first time. It felt like the first time all over again when I won my first state championship. It felt like it was the best conclusion to my high school career.”

Clevenger can now stand alongside Tom Graves, Donald Sage, Matt Withrow, and Sean McNamara as the only runners in Illinois to complete the triple crown in a single season.


The team completion was a little too close for comfort for Cahokia. The Comanches had clinched the title heading into an event they were heavily favored to win, the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. The lead was only one point over a competitive Glenbard South squad that gave Cahokia everything they had. Cahokia had two winners on this day.

Marlin Brady avenged last week’s sectional loss to Brandon Penrod (Triad, Troy Ill) to win the 400 Meter Dash by eleven hundredths of a second (48.67 – 48.78). Last year, Brady as a freshman finished fourth. “I’ve worked very hard over the last year. I deserve to win this,” the sophomore said. “I just couldn’t let my team down.”

Brady also led off Cahokia’s 4x4 team which held off a tough Burlington Central team to win by a second. Earlier in the meet, Burlington Central pulled off a surprise by winning the 4 x 800 Meter Relay over the favorite Comanches. In that, Central’s Clint Kliem received the baton from Joe Gannon with a two second lead. Kliem held off the charge from Cahokia’s Darren Payton to win by 3 seconds. Kliem’s split was 1:54.7.

“Everyone did their part. It was a nice effort,” Said Kliem. We knew they were going to be tough. Yesterday in the prelims, all of their (Cahokia’s) first quarters were in the 55 / 56 range. I knew I had to get out fast. When I got the baton, I thought don’t screw this up.”

Glenbard South also had two first place finishes. Wesley Sanders passed Cahokia’s Trey Story in the final 30 meters to capture the championship for the Raiders. 30 minutes later, Elven Walker took advantage of the misfortune of William Lindley (Peoria, Ill) to win the 300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles. Lindley had the lead heading over the final hurdle when he clipped it with his trail leg and hit the track. Walker took advantage for the win.

“My coach told me today to stay clean. To try to hit as less hurdles as possible,” Walker said. “When I was going over the ninth hurdle, I told myself to relax. I could see that his stride was starting to break down. A win is a win. I don’t care how I get it.”

The Jacksonville sprint crew may have been one of the surprises in the 2A meet. The sprinters accounted for 39 out of their 44 total points to nip Grayslake Central for the final trophy. The Crimsons started off their day lowering the record they set in the preliminaries running 41.67 for the win, more than a half a second ahead of Bremen.

Reggie Bratton got a great start and nipped Jamal McNeeley and Brian Carter (Kelvyn Park, Chicago Ill) with a 10.63 win. The first three places were only separated by six hundredths of a second. “This win is so good. It is so hard to explain,” Bratton said after his race.

McNeeley and Carter avenged their loss in the 200 Meter Dash running 1-2 with McNeeley’s 22.00 winning by three tenths over Carter and the Jacksonville duo of James Jackson and Nick Schippel.

Other news and notes:
  • When asking the competitors of the 2A Triple Jump if they knew who Devin Valentine (Freeport, Ill), everyone was honest and said, “No”. Valentine was thought to be a fluke even though he had the second longest jump in the event. By the time the event was over, everyone knew who the diminutive sophomore was. Pre meet favorite Chris Moore (Cahokia, Ill) took the lead in the finals with a jump of 47-4. Right after that came Valentine to retake the lead with a winning jump of 48-5.25. “My freshman year, I did not think I was going to be this good,” Valentine said. His best jump last year was only 41-6. “I came out here and it just happened. I really can’t explain it.”
  • The pace was just right for Luke Zygmunt (Central, Grayslake Ill). “I knew going into the 800 that some of the guys already had run the 4x8, so I think I had an advantage,” Zygmunt said. The Grayslake senior hung back and took over in the last 150 meters to hold off Darius Thomas (Macomb, Ill) for a 1:55.24 win. Darren Payton (Cahokia, Ill), who set the 2A record in the prelims, finished fifth. “Doing this is an amazing feeling because I’m the first runner from my school to bring home a state championship and score my team a lot of points.”
  • Spencer Allen (Mt. Vernon, Ill) took the lead over the third hurdle and charged ahead to a big win in the 100 Meter High Hurdles. Allen’s wind-aided time of 13.97 was the fastest final time of all three classes and was almost an amazing 3 quarters of a second ahead of Dion Starnes (Bremen, Midlothian Ill) and Elven Walker (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill).
  • Jon Walsh (North, Woodstock Ill) ended an improbable season by winning the Pole Vault clearing 15-6 and beating pre-meet favorites Tyler Ginger (Olympia, Stanford Ill) and Chad Weaver (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill). Defending champion Branden Carrel (Urbana, Ill) did not place not clearing his opening height of 14-3. A big step up for Walsh, who had a PR of 12-9 at the end of last season. “Today I felt great. Actually I did not and I barely made the finals clearing 14-0,” said Walsh. “I do not have words to explain how I feel right now.”
  • Jacob Kretchmer (Waterloo, Ill) had just cleared 6-8 on his first jump. He waited patiently as the two final athletes tried to clear the same height. After Alex King (Massac County, Metropolis Ill) and Mike Monroe (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill) missed on their third attempt, there was a shriek from beyond the fence by the high jump pit by Kretchmer’s mother. It was a scream of joy as her son captured the state title in 2A.
  • In the weight events, preliminary leaders Josh Augusta (Peoria, Ill) and Caleb Fricke (PORTA, Petersburg, Ill) held their leads to win state championships. Augusta, second last year in the Shot Put, won the event with an effort of 61-5 , nearly 5 feet ahead of Tyler Roche (Triad, Troy Ill). Fricke, who was the 1A runner up last year, stepped up a class and won with a throw of 188-2, the longest effort out of all three classes and setting a new 2A record. Jake Armbrust (Metamora, Ill) finished second. Defending champion Brendan Duncan (Waterloo, Ill) finished fourth.
  • Travon Diggins (Galesburg, Ill) held the lead that he had after the prelims to win the Long Jump (22-3) by one inch over Glynn Chatmon (Walther Lutheran, Melrose Park Ill).


Charleston, Ill --- It wasn’t that the members of Dunbar’s team were in a rush to get back to Chicago to attend their prom on Saturday night. They are just naturally fast.

Coming into Friday’s preliminaries, the Chicago Public League School was not getting the attention that they justly deserved after a sectional where they set some eye popping times. More people took attention of these sprinters after their performances were leading the 4 x 100 Meter Relay, 4 x 200 Meter Relay, and 200 Meter Dash.

The Mightymen caught the state’s attention after going three for three in the finals winning those three events.

They would have hardware to wear at the prom. All of it gold.

The quartet of Claudis Dawson, Travon Harris, Dion Williams, and Darvell Harris got the baton safely around the track in the 4 x 100 Meter Relay to a 41.92, just holding off Oak Park-River Forest (42.19) and Edwardsville (42.23).

They returned to the track to run the 4 x 200 Meter Relay. In Friday’s preliminaries, Dunbar shocked the sundrenched O’Brien Field crowd by running 1:26.11, which was then the fifth fastest time ever in the state. They did one better in the finals. Pushed by a talented Belleville West squad, the Mightymen sizzled an incredible 1:26.01, just missing the state record set by Cahokia by three hundredths of a second in 2007. Belleville West finished second running 1:26.61.

“We think we run better in the 200 than the 100,” said relay member Travon Harris. “We were shooting for 1:25.6, but we did get the state championship.”

All that was left was for Darvell Harris to run the 200 Meter Dash. Harris had the fastest time in the prelims. He caught Calvin Edwards (West, Joliet Ill) as they came out of the turn, edged ahead and kept a lead on Edwards at the finish. Harris’ 21.44 brought home the third gold of the day for Dunbar.

“Nobody was talking about going to sectionals. We had to come here and prove ourselves,” said Darvell Harris. “Last year, we came down here and got disqualified in the relay. We had to make up for last year. We had a pretty strong relay this year.”

The Chicago Public League had one more relay win on the day and that was in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay. On paper, it looked like it could be any team’s race with 12 schools within seven seconds of each other. The race was tactical at the gun where Kendric Cornelius (Palatine, Ill) led a tight pack through the opening 400. Marc-Daniel Julien (Niles West, Skokie Ill) tried to force the pace through the back stretch. Coming to the first exchange, it was Micah Beller (Niles North, Skokie Ill) taking a slight lead over Julien and Kevin O’Flaherty (Sandburg, Orland Park, Ill).

The second leg was incredible and still anyone’s race. All 12 schools were together heading to the back stretch. Carlitos Rangel (Niles North, Skokie Ill) held the lead heading to the second exchange. All of a sudden, Neil Pedersen (Central, Hinsdale Ill) charged to the front and gave the Red Devils the lead as the handoffs occurred. Hinsdale Central and Niles North charged into the lead with Prospect, Sandburg, and Palatine still close, but it was still anyone’s race.

The third leg it finally stretched out but there were still 8 teams in contention to win the whole thing. Niles North, Hinsdale Central, Sandburg, Prospect, and then Lane Tech moved up into the top 5. With 200 Meters to go in the third leg, Lucas Beltran (Lane Tech, Chicago Ill) charged out in front but that did not last for long. Derek Hevel (Sandburg, Orland Park took over the lead going behind the scoreboard with Dan Troutman (Prospect, Mt. Prospect Ill) passing Beltran right after that. The final exchanges were made. The fun was just about to begin.

The fastest of the fast on these teams were anchoring. Pat McMahon (Sandburg, Orland Park Ill) had a monster anchor leg running 1:54.8 in the prelims was in the front. Josh Campos (Prospect, Mt. Prospect Ill), Aron Sebhat (Niles North, Skokie Ill), and David Timlin (Lane Tech, Chicago Ill) all were lurking behind. All had serious half mile speed. All were waiting to strike.

In the first 100 meters of the final leg, Timlin made the first and decisive move. Campos and Sebhat went chasing after the Lane Tech senior. Timlin opened up at 5 meter lead as the bell rung. In the last two hundred meters, Sebhat made one final move to go after Timlin. Behind the scoreboard, it looked like the gap was diminishing as Sebhat started to get closer. He got closer and closer but Timlin got to finish line before Sebhat. The margin of victory was only a half a second. That did not matter. Lane Tech captured its first 4x8 relay championship and the first for a Chicago Public League boy’s team in the state meet. Timlin’s split was 1:51.6, Sebhat’s 1:52.8…the margin of victory.

“It was my call not to run the 1600 prelims yesterday. I do not think I could have run what I did today if I would have run those four extra laps yesterday. At least I have the Gold medal,” an elated Timlin said. “I had dreams about this. Not reasonable thoughts. I’ve run against Sebhat before. I knew I had to make my move on the first lap. I can come in hard, but so can they. Crossing the line, it was not disappointment. It was not euphoria. It was something that we worked hard for. We did this for us.”

~~ Lake Park makes it three in a row ~~

This was not the typical Lake Park that we have seen the last few years. For the first two championships, it was Jeremy & Jermaine Kline along with Zach Ziemek carrying the load and scoring the majority of the points. This was a new year. Who would step up?

That is what Jay Ivory and his coaches asked the team on Friday night after the preliminaries. Lake Park had the most qualifiers left with eleven, but the places that his athletes were in would not get them another championship.

“We did a lot of work today. We told the kids last night that we still had a lot of work still to do. We asked them to step up and the kids did,” said Ivory. In the Long Jump, Scott Filip was sixth after the prelims; Marcus Jegede was 9th. In the finals, Jegede moved up to fourth, Filip to fifth.

The same thing happened in the Triple Jump. Shawn Koch and Filip were seventh and eighth respectively. In the finals, Koch moved up to second, Filip to seventh. All this extra effort to get the top trophy.

“The kids were phenomenal today. They picked each other up. We gained some points in some spots, lost them in other events. But as a team, we rose up,” said Ivory.

The Lancers also got points from Per Johnson in the Discus. Johnson improved his PR by nine feet. Kevin Spejcher placed fourth in the High Jump. Tim Ehrhardt and Derrick Smith placed fifth and seventh with Ehrhardt achieving two PR’s in the process.

On the track, both of Lake Park’s relays that qualified for the finals placed. The 4x1 relay finished sixth, the 4x8 relay finished eight.

Edwardsville and Oak Park-River Forest were not too far behind. Edwardsville finished six points behind Lake Park for second. Their girl’s team won the team championship the week prior. Oak Park was just a point behind Edwardsville and placed third. That was the first trophy for the Huskies since 1987.

~~ Freeman was double trouble in the Shot and Discus ~~

Josh Freeman (Cary Grove, Cary ill) had the lead in both the Shot and Discus as he entered the final round. He wanted to do something extra.

Freeman’s goal was to go after the Shot Put record set last year by Jermaine Kline. He came close with a performance of 66-0. He was not disappointed. He was elated. “It was the best day that I’ve had all year,” said Freeman. “I got within six inches of the state record so I can’t complain.”

He headed outside of the stadium to the Discus ring. There he still kept the lead but extended his best to 181-3. Brandon Lombardino (Grant, Fox Lake Ill) also improved in the finals to 170-4, but it was not enough to catch Freeman.

“My last throw was 181-3. I was the last thrower. The crowd got me pumped up. I let out a big yell,” Freeman continued. “It is a fantastic way to finish out four years.” His last throw gave him a PR by three feet.

~~ It was more for the team for Heinz ~~

Before he moved over to the High Jump pit, Carl Heinz (Oak Park-River Forest) had work to do if the Huskies were going to go home with a trophy. Heinz jumped up from ninth to fifth in the Triple Jump improving his PR to 46-8.5.

The final 3 jumpers came down to Heinz, Ben Bowers (Conant, Hoffman Estates Ill), and Peter Stefanski (Marmion Academy, Aurora Ill). All cleared 6-10. For Bowers, it was redemption for disaster earlier in the High Hurdles. Bowers was disqualified in the race for knocking over a hurdle and landing in the next lane. For a minute, Heinz could not be found. “I had no energy this morning. I was not feeling good. I did not have good confidence but seeing Malachy win the 3200, I got pumped up.”

He came back and cleared 6-11 where Bowers and Stefanski could not. His second championship in a row. He then went to throw up in the bushes.

The bar was raised to 7-1 and he saw his teammate Schrobilgen head to the starting line of the 1600. He stopped and started to yell at him. While the excitement of the 1600 was going on, Heinz hit his steps and popped over 7-1. The second time he in his career he had cleared that height. But hardly anyone noticed him clear it. “Today my steps were just on and it really made up for how crappy I was feeling. But seeing Mal run gave me the motivation.” Heinz missed at the state record 7-3.25, but it did not matter. He had the state title and important points to his team.

~~ The horizontal jumps ~~

Not much changed after the preliminaries of the Long Jump except for Filip and Jegede moving up. Zach Gordon (North, Wheaton, Ill) maintained his lead that he got on his first jump of the prelims to win the event. Matt Harris (Lyons Township, LaGrange Ill) finished second. Both are juniors which means one more year of excitement between these two great jumpers.

The triple jump had some more excitement. A.J. Scarborough (Barrington, Ill) held the lead up until the final round. On his last jump, Shawn Koch (Lake Park, Roselle Ill) hit the board perfectly with a leap 48-2.5. That left the last jump of the meet to Scarborough. It was a now or never moment for the senior and he responded. He flew 49-4.75 to win. It was wind aided like Koch’s. But that did not matter. It was the win, the first for a Barrington track athlete, that counted.

~~ The Pole Vault ~~

It took 14-9 to get to the finals of this event. 2012 had one of the deepest fields in the Pole Vault that this state had ever had. At the start of the state meet, ten vaulters had gone over 15-0. It looked to be a great competition. And it was.

Cirron Clark (Danville, Ill), Nick Sgarbossa (York, Elmhurst Ill), Luke Winder (Central, Plainfield Ill), and Eric Gordon (Community West, Normal Ill) were all left having cleared 15-6. Gordon and Sgarbossa were the only athletes to clear 16-0. Two of the top vaulters in the state were about to find out who was the best on this day.

Gordon missed on his first attempt at 16-3. Sgarbossa came down the runway with a good plant and cleared the bar with 3 inches to spare. The pressure fell on Gordon. He passed on his final two attempts at 16-3 and had the bar raised to 16-6. Neither vaulter cleared 16-6, giving the state championship to the York senior.

“The idea of winning the state championship has not sunk in yet. I am glad, but I wanted to make that last height also,” Sgarbossa said at the completion of the event. “It really did not bother me that Gordon missed at 16-3. I came here today to jump a PR. That was my plan all the time.”

~~ 3200 Meter Run: How would the heat change the race ~~

The scratches that were made on Friday in the 1600 Meter prelims showed that some of the runners did not want to risk running four extra laps on Friday to give up a chance to win the 3200 on Saturday. Only two runners, Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill) and Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius, Chicago Ill), opted to run both. Everyone else would be fresh, if you can call running in 95 degree heat fresh.

The pace went out honestly. This was going to be a war of attrition. Garrett Sweatt (Edwardsville, Ill) and Tyler Schnedier (Conant, Hoffman Estates Ill) took the pace out in 2:14 with all the pre-race favorites all still there including Schrobilgen and Keelan. The first action of the race was about to begin.

As the runners passed behind the scoreboard at the north curve of the track, Joe Stewart (Metea Valley, Aurora Ill) became impatient and wanted to get out of the pack. He went to lane two, but in the process clipped Pat Niyork (Willowbrook, Villa Park Ill) and sent him to the infield. The pack passed by. Niyork slammed his hand to the ground, got up and tried to catch up to the pack. In reality, his chances in the race were over. Yellow flags went up, but no foul was called.

Stewart took the lead and started to separate himself from the pack. No one would go with him. The pack bided their time and waited for the right moment to go after Stewart as the lead continued to grow. At the 1600, Stewart was at 4:28, Schrobilgen, Erik Peterson (Barrington, Ill), Mark Derrick (Neuqua Valley, Naperville Ill), Tyler Yunk (North, Belvidere Ill), and Keelan passed by the 1600 seven seconds back.

It was the same scenario that happened two years ago when Fenwick’s Martin Grady tried to steal the race. It was York’s Andrew Smith and Jack Driggs that chased him down in the last 400. Schrobilgen was a sophomore at the time and was in that race.

“I thought it was going to be a little surge, but it was a bigger one. I was hoping to sit back and wait. I wasn’t too comfortable with that. I remember sophomore year I went back to the pack and that didn’t work so well.”

With about 900 meters to go, Stewart was not coming back and Schrobilgen began the surge to go after Stewart. Keelan, Derrick, and Sweatt followed suit with Yunk starting to drop off the pace. The packs next quarter was 68 seconds, Stewart was struggling running a 75. “I definitely planned on go around the half way point. I usually don’t have a strong kick and I can’t finish up as strong as I want to. I was just trying to take as much out of the other runners as possible,” said Stewart.

At 400 to go, Schrobilgen made one more move. Derrick followed but the distance was growing between the two. Keelan caught Derrick at the line for second. Sweatt was a second back in fourth. But the moment belonged to the Oak Park senior.

“I knew from last year, I could go off of a fast pace and close in a 60,” said Schrobilgen. “Today I realized what it was like to run your own race. I don’t remember going past guys. I just remember sheer focus. I crossed the finish line and I thought this was it. It is unbelievable. Pure ecstasy.”

~~ The hurdle races ~~

How close could it get? That is what Derrick Willies (Rock Island, Ill) and Rashad Hulbert (Crete-Monee, Crete Ill) thought as they waited at the finish line after the two came across together. Jonathan Goins (Lockport, Ill) actually got a great start and had the lead after 3 hurdles. Rashad and Willies were even the rest of the way after they passed Goins. The verdict was in after 2 minutes. The win went to Willies, only one ten thousandths ahead of Hulbert.

Hulbert made sure that would not happen again in the intermediates. He charged out in his trademark fashion having picked up the stagger before half way through the curve. He was not going to let this one get away. Hulbert win over Willies was close to a second.

“The high hurdle race motivated for the intermediates because I knew I should have won that race,” said Hulbert. “I felt pretty good. I just wanted to get through the race.”

~~ Binion wins 100 for relay teammates~~

He came out of the blocks at the gun in a flash. It looked like Tavaris Binion (Hinsdale South, Darien Ill) had jumped the gun, but it was just a great start by the junior. Aided by the 3.7 wind at his back, Binion stormed to the 100 Meter Dash crown (10.53), just ahead of Calvin Edwards (West, Joliet, Ill) and the 10.62 that he ran.

This wasn't only a win for himself. He did it for the teammates that he ran with in the two highly rated relays that did not get out of sectionals.

"It was an unbelievable start," said Binion after his race. "What happened at sectionals motivated me. My teammates worked so hard this year. Those guys are great sprinters. If we cannot be here collectively, then I was there for all of us."

~~ Filipczak not passive in this race ~~

Michal Filipczak (Maine South, Park Ridge Ill) learned his lesson a year ago at the state meet. In that race, he felt he could win. However, he went out to slow which cost him the win. He was bound and determined not to let that happen again.

He took the lead immediately at the cutline. Filipczak was at the 400 at 53.8, almost a second ahead of Peter Archibald (Geneva, Ill) and Jake Mazanke (East, St. Charles Ill). The lead grew over the next 200. Archibald made a move but seemed like he was slowing down and had nothing left in his legs. Meanwhile, Filipczak was looking for a way to cross the finish line. He began to lose his balance 5 meters from the finish. He started to go sideways into lane 3 as he crossed the finish line. He won by over a half a second over Archibald. The thing was that Filipczak left everything on the track.

“The strategy was to get out fast. My coach thought I could run 1:50.88 off of what I ran the 400 split which was 47.6. I tried yesterday but the false start kind of threw me off. He told me to try again today but I did not think it would be that possible because of the heat and the wind,” said Filipczak. “On the last straightaway, the wind took away all of my energy. I was slowing down. I didn’t know what to do. I was almost certain someone was going to pass me. I told myself this is what I was training for my whole year. I had to do everything I could to win. I was thinking I can’t let someone else win. I just wanted it so bad.”

~~~ Farley’s finish in the 400 ~~

Antonio Farley (Round Lake, Ill) ran from the front in the preliminary round on Friday. On Saturday, it was the opposite.

“As I came around the turn, I thought I made it this far, I couldn’t stop now,” said Farley. The Round Lake senior was feeling pressure from both Kenneth Allen (Thornwood, South Holland Ill) and Kaleb Williams (Bloom Township, Chicago Heights, ill). Farley was able to hold off Allen and Williams to win the first track individual championship for Round Lake. Farley’s time was 48.29 compared to 48.33 of Allen.

What was amazing was 20 minutes earlier Allen ran anchor on Thornwood’s fifth place 4 x 200 Meter Relay team.

~~ Later’s rush comes up golden in the 1600 ~~

This was going to be a race of who was going to make a move first. The heat was still strong on the O’Brien Field track, but it was not going to affect the pace of the race.

The pace started out slow compared to the past 1600 finals that we have seen. Leland Later (New Trier, Winnetka Ill) reluctantly took the early pace through the first 400 in 62.5 with the rest of the pack led by Mike Lederhouse (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn, Ill) close behind.

Over the next 400, the pace slowed down with Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill) and Pat Juras (Lake Zurich, ill) joined Later and Lederhouse towards the front. All twelve runners in the field were within contact of each other. The pace slowed down even more setting this race up for kickers like Later and Juras. They went by in 2:10 for the 800 Meters. The question would be who would go first?

Lederhouse was the first to go. In past 1600 Meter races, he would start his move with about 700 meters to go down the backstretch. This state meet was no exception. Lederhouse charged down the backstretch looking for as much space between him and the rest of the pack. Later tried to stay in contact with Juras and Billy Bund (Lake Forest, ill) on Later’s shoulder. Coming down the home stretch, Lederhouse’s head started bobbing down looking for one more burst. As he crossed the line in 3:12.2, it looked like he was struggling to keep the pace with Later just waiting a second back.

With 300 meters to go, Later caught and passed the struggling Lederhouse. In the next one hundred meters, the gap became bigger and bigger. The New Trier senior shifted into another gear that no one in this race had on this day.

Later’s closing 800 meters was an amazing 1:59.5, the 400 was a sonic 56.3 that made the rest of field look like they were standing still. Later had a state championship to compliment his cross country title in the fall. Juras made a burst to nail down second place, nearly four seconds behind. Schrobilgen, who was seventh with 200 meters to go, used the last ounce of energy to catch and pass Todd Ford (Loyola Academy, Wilmette Ill) at the line for third and grab valuable points for the Huskies.

“The plan was right after the sectional was just run the 1600. That is what my coach (David Wisner) told me. With all the heat, I think I would not have been able to double. Today, I was just going for the win. I knew that Lederhouse would go with about 700 meters to go and I was prepared for that. I figured I could not let more than a few steps separate us when he went,” Later said. “If I stayed close, I knew I would be able to close it down there. I figured if I was going to pass him, I was going to pass him really hard. The last 200 meters I was really going. This race was the only goal I had this year. This feels great. I am going to let it sink in. I think able to win in such hot weather and kick it in strong; I think I proved something to myself and my coach. I am really satisfied.”

~~ What a way to end an era on the blue oval ~~

The 3A 4 x 400 Meter Relay would be the last race to be run on the existing blue oval. The following week, the old surface would be torn up and replace along with a new football field. There was a lot of history that had happened on that track, so it was fitting of what happened in this race was the way that this track should be closed down.

The first two legs followed suit according to the race seedings after the preliminaries. Belleville West charged to the lead with Plainfield North and Minooka close behind. At the half way point, it was still Belleville West with Minooka and Plainfield North close than a second back.

James Cole had the baton for Belleville West, Tevin Hopkins for Minooka, and Derrick Suss for Plainfield North. Coming around the first turn, Suss made a move to try to take the lead. All of a sudden he slowed down and popped into the air. In 2011, he was out all season with a hamstring injury. That injury hit him again. He crumpled to the ground in pain.

The announcer called for a trainer as the rest of the race moved by Suss. The young man got up and waved everyone away from him. This was the senior’s last race and he was going to finish it. “I was going to finish that race. In my mind, no one was going to stop me,” Suss said while he received medical attention.

The race was still going on, but it seemed that all the attention of the remaining crowd had their eyes on Suss. Bloom Townships Kaleb Williams made a move on the outside to get his team into contention. The final leg had Tevin Suggs of Belleville West holding off Chris Wilson of Minooka and Micah Frasier of Bloom Township for the win. It was the first win in this relay for Belleville West. It was also the first for Belleville West coach Patton Seagraves. When he ran at Harrisburg, he anchored their 4 x 4 relays all 4 years, but could never win the title. On this day, Suss delivered to give Seagraves that winning satisfaction.

Suss was still trying to make it around the track as the rest of the runners finished. And he was going to finish. He was moving slowly. But he was getting encouragement. Man he was getting encouragement. All the athletes on the infield waiting to get their medals from previous races were lining the infield cheering for their fellow athlete. The crowd was standing giving him encouragement to get that final exchange off. If he got the exchange off, his squad still would receive a medal and attain all-state recognition.

I do not think there was a dry eye in that stadium as Suss approached his teammate Evan Flagg with the baton. I think it was a requirement of those who were still in that stadium that there was not a dry eye. Who could not be moved by this?

Suss finally made the exchange to his teammate and fell to the track. His teammates and his coach Tony Holler rushed around him. His coach gave him a tearful embrace. Plainfield North finished the race with a time of 5:47.44, perhaps the slowest final time ever for the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. That time did not matter. It was a matter of perseverance and desire to do something for his teammates that kept Suss going.

“He has been accepted to the Air Force Academy. He has a 32 ACT. He pulled a hamstring last year and missed his entire junior year,” Holler said after the race was over. “He did not get to run at the state meet. He made it through his entire senior year because he worked so hard. It was really eerie when he went down and pulled that same hamstring. In our pre meeting of today, I told them a story. The most heart wrenching story that I have ever seen about Derek Redmond in the 1992 Olympics. He pulled a hamstring and his father came along side and helped him across the finish line. I told our men that was the type of team that we wanted to be. And it happened. I am so proud of that kid.”

The effort of Suss should serve as an example of what athletics should be. There is glory in doing your best and winning the competition, but there is more glory in persevering and completing the goal that you set out to achieve.

For those who left the Stadium of that day, I am sure that vision of Suss limping around the track to finish will stay in their minds hopefully forever. It was a forever moment for Suss. It was a forever moment for Holler and the Plainfield North track team. It was a forever moment for this blue oval and the legacy of great moments in Illinois high school track history.

IL Boys 3A StatePrelims: Relays run amuck

May, 26, 2012
Darvell HarrisBob Geiger/ESPNHSDarvell Harris anchored two AAA prelims leaders for Dunbar, and also paced 200 qualifying.

Charleston, Ill ---The wind that was present during the 1A prelims was gone on Friday replaced by high humidity and temperatures in the upper 80’s. It did not bother the relay runners much as some sizzling times scorched the already hot surface of the O’Brien Field track.

Dunbar showed up on the track with on a mission. No one had heard of this squad a month ago. This Chicago Public League school last week ran 1:27.71 to win the St. Ignatius 4 x 200 relay. In the second heat of the Friday afternoon prelims, Dunbar moved the baton around the track in spectacular fashion running 1:26.11 to win their heat. The time is the best in Illinois this year and the fourth best ever in the state according to the IHSA.

Earlier in the meet, the Mightymen ran 41.77 to record the fastest qualifying time in the 4 x 100 Meter Relay. To show the strength of this squad, Darvell Harris ran 21.34 to run the fastest time in the 200 Meter Dash.

Bloom Township surprised some by running 3:17.47 to have the fastest time heading into the Saturday final. There waiting for them are four other schools that went under 3:20 in the preliminaries headed by Springfield (3:18.10).

~~ Distance events feel the heat ~~

With temperatures scheduled to get to dangerous levels in the high 90’s on Saturday, some coaches made decisions so that some of the distance runners would not run two races. One runner that took this road was Leland Later (New Trier, Winnetka Ill), who decided to just run the 1600 and passed on the 4 x 800 Meter relay.

The 1600 may be a classic race with numerous runners possibly running under 4:10 despite the heat. In the first heat, Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius, Chicago Ill) had has feet clipped with about 300 meters to go. He took two steps off the track and composed himself for a homestraight sprint. Keelan won that first heat 4:13.63.

The second heat had some of the top distance runners in the state led by Later, Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River-Forest, Oak Park Ill), Alex Riba (O’Fallon, Ill), and Todd Ford (Loyola Academy, Wilmette Ill). Later led the pack through the first 800 in 2:07.2, then extended it in the next 300 meters. Later and Schrobilgen came home comfortably in 4:12.60 – 4:13.11.

The third heat had the calming effect of a hurricane. Easton Huch (Libertyville, Ill) took the pace out in an incredible 59.9 for the first 400 with Mike Lederhouse (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn Ill) close in tow. Hutch led the 800 in 2:03.8 and then Lederhouse took command of the race finishing in 4:12.65. It took 4:16.45 to make it to the finals perhaps the fastest prelims of all time. It should be a great final.

With Later out of the relay for New Trier, the team with the fastest sectional time struggled through their heat of the 4 x 8 finish 13th overall and missed qualifying by one place. Saturday’s final shapes up to be a fast one with Niles North entering the final with the fastest prelim time (7:45.13) led by the 1:55.3 anchor of Aron Sebhat. Sandburg (7:46.57) and Lane Tech (7:46.92) were pulled to fast times in that heat and will be factors in the final. Minooka (7:47.72) and Wheaton-Warrenville South (7:49.07) were the other heat winners.

They say practice makes perfect. I guess that can be said about Michal Filipczak (Maine South, Park Ridge, Ill) and his race in the 800 Meter Run preliminaries. Filipczak did not run passive like he did in the 2011 finals where he finished second. He took command early and won his heat in 1:51.93, the exact same time he ran at the sectionals. We could see the finals under 1:51. Peter Archibald (Geneva, Ill) won his heat and made the 1:52.16 he ran look easy. Chris Alvarez (Central, Crystal Lake Ill) won his heat (1:53.38) by two hundredths over Will Crocker (North, Belvidere Ill).

~~ Team race ~~

Edwardsville stands in good position heading into Saturday’s finals. They have 9 qualifiers. Two time defending champion Lake Park qualified 11 to the finals and still may three-peat if they can move up in some of their places in both the Long and Triple Jumps. The Lancers did receive a boost by qualifying both their 4 x 8 and 4 x 1 relays.

Edwardsville has the fastest 100 qualifier in Bennett Gray (10.93). They also qualified their 4 x 1 and 4 x 2 relays.

Wheaton North is third in qualifiers with 7. Zach Gordon is currently leading the Long Jump (24-0.5), which is currently 9th in the United States.

~~ Other notes of interest ~~

  • With Jacob Bender (Neuqua Valley, Naperville Ill) not running the 400 due to the injury he got during his sectional race, that opened the door for Antonio Farley (Round Lake, Ill). The senior won the first heat in 47.95, a PR, and the fastest time in the preliminaries. Next closest to Farley is Malik Harrison (Springfield, Ill) who is almost a second behind.

  • It should be a great final in both of the hurdle races. Rashad Hulbert (Crete-Monee, Crete Ill) ran 14.25 to have the fastest time in the High Hurdles. In the heat before that, Derrick Willies (Rock Island, Ill) had run 14.31. In the 300 Intermediates, turnabout is fair play. Hulbert won the third heat in 37.40, putting the pressure on Willies. The Rock Island junior responded by running a 37.16 which is best in the state this year.

  • Josh Freeman (Cary-Grove, Cary Ill) may double his pleasure in the weight events. In the Shot Put, he has a commanding five foot lead( 63-9.25) over Mark Balmes (Hersey, Arlington Heights Ill). In the Discus, things are a little tighter for the senior. Freeman leads the Discus (171-2), but only leads by three feet over Garrett Jensen (Edwardsville, Ill) and Brandon Lombardino (Grant, Fox Lake Ill).
The milder than normal winter weather has been a benefit to the Illinois high school track and field athletes this season. Performances that we have not seen in close to 30 years have been evident in the distances. There is more depth in all of the events this year. It leads us to the possibilities of a great state meet this weekend in Charleston.

I am so much looking forward to the relays. Last week in sectional competition, we saw the times drop dramatically. The times will continue to drop this weekend and we could see some national class times in the 4 relays.

The temperatures at O’Brien Stadium should be oppressively hot with temperatures climbing towards the triple digits by the time we get to the finals on Saturday. It could affect some of the distance performances but I hope not. There is quality in all 4 of those events that could make this weekend extra special.

Here is a look at each of the individual events and what you can look for on Friday and Saturday at the big blue oval.



Outlook: Should be a great jumping competition with some great athletes in this event. Zach Gordon (North, Wheaton Ill) took the season lead in the Long Jump (24-2.5) at the sectional and will be the guy to beat this weekend. He has been over 23 feet three times this year and the only jumper over 24. Matt Harris (Lyons Township, LaGrange Ill) has been the list leader most of the season and jumped 23-8 last week at Concordia University. The one flaw on Harris is that he fouled out at his conference meet and fouled on his first two attempts at Prospect before he hit it. He will need to have his steps down this weekend..

Scott Filip & Marcus Jegede (Lake Park, Roselle Ill) will provide big points for this school in the Long Jump this weekend. Filip placed in this event last year with a fifth place finish. He will look to go higher and longer. Jegede is in his first big meet, but is a big meet performer.

Other horizontal jumpers to watch include Antwon James (Glenbard East, Lombard Ill), Thomas Taylor (Thornton, Harvey Ill), Ethan Cane (Minooka, Ill), Ose Ilenikhena (Glenbrook South, Glenview Ill), and Jamal Payton (Proviso West, Hillside Ill). Could Mid 24’s win this event this weekend?


Outlook: This is a fascinating event to analyze. It could even better in person this weekend. We could see some epic jumps on the blue runways of O’Brien Stadium. Shawn Koch (Lake Park, Roselle Ill) had the longest performance at sectional competition last week. Koch’s performances have improved by every meet this summer. He has gone from 44 feet at the beginning of April to the 47-8 that he jumped in sectionals. This junior could be tough to beat.

Josh White (Edwardsville, Ill) had a PR of 43-4.5 that he jumped when he was a sophomore two years ago. The senior has stepped up in a big way for the Tigers jumping 46-10.5 and will be a factor in this event. Jamion Nash (West, Belleville Ill) was behind White at sectionals but jumped 47-1.25 at Collinsville three weeks ago. Scott Filip (Lake Park, Roselle Ill) is in the mid 46’s right now and could also win this event.

A deep event with so much potential. Keep an eye also on Thomas Taylor (Thornton, Harvey, Ill), Carl Heinz (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill), A.J. Scarborough (Barrington, Ill), James Shields (Maine East, Park Ridge Ill), and Jalen Woods (Thornton Fractional South, Lansing Ill). 48 feet or better could win this on Saturday.


Outlook: Danielle Dobias-Wagner, the High Jump coach at Oak Park-River Forest High School, told me in February that it is so hard to get a PR in the High Jump at the state meet because there is so much action going around and the pressure of the situation. Yet, the potential for some great jumps could happen on Saturday with the high quality in this event.

Carl Heinz (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill) is the defending champion in this event. So far this year, he jumped 7-1 at an invitational at Darien. He has one loss this season, that to Kevin Spejcher (Lake Park, Roselle Il) at the IPTT Indoor Classic in March. Spejcher jumped 6-11 two weeks ago and is ready to go higher on Saturday. It was a great competition in March. It should be great between the two this weekend.

Do not forget about Peter Stefanski (Marmion Academy, Aurora Ill). Last week at St. Charles, he cleared 7-0 for the first time. He is entering this event with a big confidence boost, He could be the big surprise in this event.

Other jumpers that may threaten this trio include Oshay Hodges (North, St. Charles Ill), Ben Bowers (Conant, Hoffman Estates Ill), Kurtis Zumbahlen (Minooka, Ill), and Matt Wilson (Granite City, Ill). It would be fun to see these guys go over 7-0 for the win.


Outlook: This year, the Pole Vault in this class has produced 10 vaulters over 15 feet which is quite amazing for Illinois. This will make this event fun to watch on Saturday.

Nick Sgarbossa (York, Elmhurst Ill) is the only vaulter to go over 16 feet this spring. He has been over 15 feet four times this year with one slip up, a fourth place finish at the DuPage County Meet. He will need to be on his game this weekend. The same can be said about Eric Gordon (Community West, Normal Ill). He was the overwhelming favorite at the IPTT Indoor Classic, yet he finished fourth in what he called a bit of over confidence. Gordon went over 16 feet twice indoors, and he is undefeated outdoors going over 15 feet at every major invitational. He is primed to go higher this weekend.

Luke Winder (Central, Plainfield Ill) may be the surprise of them all. Coming from a great vaulting family, this sophomore may be the best of all his brothers. Last week at the Naperville North Sectional, he cleared 15-9 for the first time. He is on a hot streak that may continue on Saturday.

This event is loaded. Others that will contend include Nick Bednarek (Fremd, Palatine Ill), Derrick Smith (Lake Park, Roselle Ill), Joe Ward (Jefferson, Rockford Ill), Cirron Clark (Danville, Ill), Shawn John (York, Elmhurst Ill), Tom Schuette (Edwardsville, Ill), and Brandon Clabough (Batavia, Ill).

It will take at least 16 feet or higher to win this event. And we may have more than one vaulter over that height.


Outlook: Josh Freeman (Cary-Grove, Cary Ill) has been the man in the spotlight in this event all year. It started at the beginning of March where he went 60 feet and it just grew from there. He did not have his best performance at sectionals (60-11.75), but he has more performances (10 ) than any other athlete this season in this event. It makes him a huge favorite.

Freeman cannot afford to keep his guard down this weekend. Mark Balmes (Hersey, Arlington Heights Ill) has been coming on strong the last few weeks and could be Freeman’s biggest threat. Balmes best this year is 60-0 three weeks ago. Riley Kittridge (Waubonsie Valley, Aurora Ill) has improved seven feet at the beginning of the outdoor season. He could go farther this weekend.

Other athletes to watch include Kyrin Tucker (Community West, Normal Ill), Vincent Valentine (Edwardsville Ill), Christian Hollinger (North, Wheaton Ill), Paul Golen (York, Elmhurst Ill) and Kevin Bauers (Bartlett, Ill).


Outlook: This perhaps could be the most wide open field event in 3A. Brandon Lombardino (Grant, Fox Lake Ill) has quietly climbed his way up the 3A leaderboard in this event. The junior’s best performance this year was 190 feet at a home dual meet. His best invitational performance was last week at his sectional meet at Hononegah. He only has one loss this year, that to Josh Freeman (Cary-Grove, Cary Ill) in April. Freeman could push Lombardino to the limit.

Max Leonard (Glenbrook South, Glenview Ill) went 178-7 at his conference meet two weeks ago. He could be a big surprise this weekend. Christian Hollinger (North, Wheaton Ill) popped an eleven foot PR last week at his sectional. He could surprise like Leonard on Saturday. Paul Golen (York, Elmhurst Ill) threw 171-7 at his conference meet two weeks ago. He could be part of the championship discussion here.

Other throwers to watch include Mark Balmes (Hersey, Arlington Heights Ill), Nick Barrett (O’Fallon, Ill), Scott Karlis (lake Park, Roselle Ill), Riley Kittridge (Waubonsie Valley, Aurora Ill), and Alex Hansen (Oak Forest, Ill).



Outlook: Mouths dropped after seeing the results of the Loyola Sectional results last Thursday. 8 teams under qualifying standards, 4 under 7:50. Let the fun begin on Friday. We could see some more major drops in this event.

New Trier had the fastest time in that Loyola meet and could go lower this weekend. Of course they have cross country champ Leland Later anchoring them, but watch for Peter Cotsirlos, a sophomore, that could drop his split into then 1:55’s or lower. Niles North could be the team to beat. The Vikings were only two tenths behind New Trier. They have a strong quartet led by Aron Sebhat. It could go close to 7:40 on Saturday.

Lane Tech won comfortably at the Oak Park Sectional last Thursday. Will this team step up this weekend? They have the talent to contend led by David Timlin, but in the big relays that they have been in during this season, they have fallen a little short with their best finish being second at Prospect. They could surprise this weekend.

Prospect was part of that fast Loyola Sectional. With their quartet only in this event and their past history at state, do not discount the Knights. Defending champion Minooka is back and could be part of the final top 3 on Saturday led by Dan Popek.

Other schools to watch in this relay include Wheaton-Warrenville South, Springfield, Jacobs, Neuqua Valley, Palatine, Sandburg, Belvidere North, and Lake Zurich. It should take 7:52 or better to make the finals on Saturday.


Outlook: The schools from down south should control this event, but it may be two schools near Chicago that could pull the big surprise. Belleville West always steps up in this event when state meet time comes around. Last year, they won running 41.87. Last week at sectionals, the Maroons ran 41.79 behind a talented Edwardsville team. Both schools will go faster this weekend.

The schools to watch from Chicago are Oak Park-River Forest and Chicago Dunbar. The Huskies dropped under 42 seconds two weeks ago at their conference meet using an all underclassmen lineup. They will use the same quartet this weekend and could go lower. Dunbar is the surprise of the 3A sprint scene. They made a one second drop from the Chicago Public League Meet and their sectional. You cannot dismiss this team.

Other schools to keep a watch on include Wheaton North, Thornton, Peoria Richwoods, Thornton Fractional North, Plainfield North, Downers Grove South, and Rock Island. Do not surprised if it takes 42.2 or faster to make the finals.


Outlook: The common theory when the weather gets hot about this event is that it will be a tactical race. Looking at the weather forecast and what it will be like on the floor of that stadium, I had the same idea. But looking at the runners that will be in this race, I am tending to think that we are not looking at a kicker’s fest.

It could be a fast pace. So much fast that the race may be in the low 8:50’s, even faster. There are several runners that could insure of this. The first is Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius, Chicago Ill), who ran 8:55 at Arcadia in April. He has been running with a purpose all spring trying to exorcise the demons of past state competitions. Saturday may be his day.

The second is Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park, Ill). He showed that he was ready for this race by running 8:57 solo last week at his sectional. The question will be for this senior is will he save himself for the 1600 that he is planning on doubling this weekend?

Garrett Sweatt (Edwardsville, Ill) would be the third runner. Sweatt has been consistently been in the low 9 minute range all year. He has been experiencing problems with his knee but reports are that he is ready to go. He is not doubling. He will want a fast pace.

The last runner to watch is Tyler Yunk (North, Belvidere Ill). He likes the fast pace and will not shy away from pushing it.

I think the pace may lag early, but start to rev up on the second or third lap. How many will go with the fast pace will be interesting. At the same time, how many will wait and pick off those who can’t take the pace? Look at this also. If people start falling all over the place in Section 2, we could have a couple of runners from the first section that will place.

Others that I would keep an eye on include Erik Peterson (Barrington, Ill), Pat Niyork (Willowbrook, Villa Park Ill), Mark Derrick and Taylor Soltys (Neuqua Valley, Naperville Ill), Tyler Schneider (Conant, Hoffman Estates Ill), and Joe Stewart (Metea Valley, Ill).


Outlook: It could come down to a three hurdler affair with times under 14 seconds happening. Rashad Hulbert (Crete-Monee, Crete Ill) has run some hand timed races in the 13’s this season. Last week at his sectional he recorded a 13.99 time that will put the bull’s eye on his back.

Derrick Willies (Rock Island, Ill) made a big drop by four tenths of a second in winning his sectional last week. The transfer from Iowa could defeat Hulbert in this meet. Christian Herring (East, Belleville Ill) was right behind Willies in that sectional meet. He could surprise at this state meet.

Other hurdlers to watch include Marcus Greer (Senior HS, East St. Louis Ill), Sean Wells (Grant, Fox Lake Ill), Billy Reed and Jonathan Goins (Lockport, Ill), and Jonathan Anderson (Thornton, Harvey Ill).


Outlook: The hot temperatures + hot runners will equal some fast performances this weekend. Kennedy Mayweather (Collinsville, Ill) won that fast Belleville West sectional and could be one of the favorites here. The same could be said with Bennett Gray (Edwardsville, Ill) and Chris Wiggins (O’Fallon, Ill). They could win at this race.

Also keep an eye on Tavaris Binion (Hinsdale South, Darien Ill). He won the Lockport Sectional. He could challenge for the championship this weekend.

Other sprinters to keep an eye on include Damon Timm (Springfield, Ill), Demitri Smith (Thornton, Harvey Ill), Tyrone Echols (Collinsville, Ill), Perez Ford (Romeoville, Ill), and Cameron James (Edwardsville, Ill).


Outlook: Michal Filipczak (Maine South, Park Ridge Ill) reflected after his first outdoor 800 this spring that he ran too conservatively at the 2011 state meet, a race where he finished second. He’s had a full year to analyze and think of how he will want to run this. Last week at his sectional, he dropped a 1:51.93, the best in the state. The main thing for this senior is that he will get out fast and make his competition come and get him.

A duo that could be chasing after Filipczak are future college roommates , Jake Mazanke (East, St. Charles Ill) and Peter Archibald (Geneva, Ill). Both have been pushing each other faster and faster the last couple of weeks, They could be going for the state championship on Saturday. Also watch for Will Crocker (North, Belvidere Ill), who could be coming back from the 4 x 8. Crocker ran 1:52.66 in April in California. He will be seeking a faster time on Saturday.

Other runners to watch for include Neal Omar (Niles West, Skokie Ill), Chris Alvarez (Central, Crystal Lake Ill), Mike Fahey (Glenbard East, Lombard Ill), Dan Popek (Minooka, Ill), and Sam Stanek (Glenbrook South, Glenview Ill).

Low 1:51’s may win this race on Saturday.


Outlook: The question for this race will either Belleville West or Collinsville (or both) will go under 1:26 in either the prelims or the finals. Collinsville cranked out a 1:26.29 time last week at the Belleville West Sectional. Belleville West was only twelve hundredths back.

After that, unless the above two schools run sub-par races, I do not see any other school getting close to them. Watch for Dunbar, Elgin, Edwardsville, Wheaton North, Thornwood, and Downers Grove North to run after the championship along with Collinsville and Belleville West.


Outlook: This could be the most wide open event on the track on Saturday. Jacob Bender (Neuqua Valley, Naperville Ill) placed second at the Naperville North Sectional after he activated a hamstring injury on the final curve of his race. He finished second behind Stephan Thelemaque (East, Plainfield Ill). Both runners have the fastest two times. Bender has the fastest 3A time this year running 48.75 two weeks ago. He’s had a week to rest his leg. With Neuqua not qualifying in the 4x4, he will want this win very badly.

Other 400 runners to watch to challenge Bender and Thelemaque include Dalton Timm & Malik Harrison (Springfield, Ill), Antonio Farley (Round Lake, Ill), Jeff Broger (South Elgin, Ill), and Tommy Rohn (Cary-Grove, Cary Ill).


Outlook: Rashad Hulbert (Crete-Monee, Crete, Ill) is the defending state champ in this event. In this race, he could have company. Hulbert has run 37.78 In April, but he has been around 38 seconds the last couple of weeks. He is a tough competitor that will not want to give up his title.

Derrick Willies (Rock Island, Ill) will be right with Hulbert like he will be in the short hurdle race. Willies ran 38.04 two weeks ago at his conference meet. Two other hurdlers that will be up to the challenge are Brett Kohler (North, Wheaton Ill) and Kyle Schafer (Waubonsie Valley, Aurora Ill). Kohler has run 38.35 & 38.41 the last two weeks. Schafer’s run was impressive when he won his sectional running 38.20 and winning by more than a second. He could get Willies or Hulbert.

Other hurdlers to watch include Ben Bowers (Conant, Hoffman Estates Ill), Lino Mogorovic (Lyons Township, LaGrange Ill), Marcus Greer (Senior, East St. Louis Ill), Dom Blake (Jacobs, Algonquin Ill), Bryant Lewis (Bloomington, Ill), and Conor Dunham (St. Ignatius, Chicago Ill).


Outlook: If someone doubles back from the 3200 to win in such hot temperatures on Saturday, it could be an incredible story. I just can’t see that happen. It will be someone who is coming off of the 4x8 relay or running fresh that will take command of this race.

The last 3 weeks Mike Lederhouse (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn Ill) has pushed the pace from the beginning resulting in three races between 4:12 and 4:13. With the weather, watch for Lederhouse to push the pace from the get go. It will be come with me kind of race. Anyone who wants a fast time will follow.

Leland Later (New Trier, Winnetka Ill) has run 4:10.7 three weeks ago fresh. If he is with the leaders in the last 400 meters, he may be the one that runs away with the title. Last week, Todd Ford (Loyola Academy, Wilmette Ill) outkicked Later to win the sectional race. Could the same thing happen this weekend?

Patrick Perrier & Alex Riba (O’Fallon, Ill) could be factors in this race if they run fresh. We could see team tactics from them where they could push along with Lederhouse the pace that could take this race under 4:10.

Other milers to watch include Patrick Juras (Lake Zurich, Ill), Easton Huch (Libertyville, Ill), Garrett Lee (North, Belvidere Ill), Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill), Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius, Chicago Ill), William Hennessy (Jacobs, Algonquin Ill), and David Timlin (Lane Tech, Chicago Ill).


Outlook: Kennedy Mayweather (Collinsville, Ill) has been the hot 200 runner all year. Last week, he had a convincing win in his sectional running 21.60. He has run under 22 seconds in four finals this year. Tough to pick against him.

The one sprinter to watch is Darvell Harris (Dunbar, Chicago Ill). In his last two meets, he has run 21.33 & 21.41. He has improved his PR by more than a second in the last year. He could be the one guy that could get Mayweather.

Other sprinters that I would watch include Calvin Edwards (West, Joliet Ill), Keontay Williams (Zion-Benton, Zion Ill), Zach Gordon (North, Wheaton Ill), and Demetri Smith (Thornton, Harvey Ill).


Outlook: This is going to be a great finale of a great meet. Belleville West has the fastest time in the state run last week at their own sectional. They have the potential to run much faster led by their anchor Jeremy Randolph. St. Charles East ran a great sectional time as well. Jake Mazanke ran a open 400 in the 48’s this spring and could split 47’s in this meet for the Saints.

Waubonsie Valley has been in the front of the pack most of the season. Last week at their sectional, they did not run a great second leg, but still ended up running 3:19.07 behind a great anchor from Kyle Schafer.

Other teams to watch in this race include Minooka, Belleville East, Springfield, Evanston, Cary-Grove, Metea Valley, and Wheaton North. It will take under 3:21 to make the finals. It will take 3:16 to win this race.


2012 Illinois 2A Boys Field Events Preview

February, 3, 2012
Here is a glimpse of what to look for in the 2A field events this season:

Long Jump
22-11.50 Travon Diggins JR Galesburg 6th - AA
22-5.50 Pierre House SR Murphysboro 7th - A
22-3 Lonnie Washington JR Chicago Perspectives Charter
22-2.50 Bradley Wright SR Champaign Central
21-6.75 Adonis Hill SR Centralia
21-6.25 Ian Ferguson SR Rock Island Alleman
21-5 Glynn Chatmon SR Melrose Park Walther Lutheran 4th - A
21-5 Carlos Harris SR Decatur MacArthur
21-4 Jon Worley JR Dixon
21-4 Terrall Rank SR Peoria Central
21-3..50 Cornell Hartz JR Sterling
21-2.50 Mitch Kimble JR Jerseyville Jersey
21-0.25 Brent Brown JR Washington
21-0 Mike Beckman SR Lake Villa Lakes
20-11.25 Caleb Harris SR Springfield Southeast
20-11 Dion Starnes SR Midlothian Bremen
20-11 Rashad White SR Rantoul
20-11 Scott Goad SR Dixon
20-10.75 Josh Williams SR Chicago Northside Prep

Maybe out of all the field events, this may be the most wide open of the 6. Junior Travon Diggins of Galesburg HS has the longest jump out of all the returnees and the only all state jumper from 2A with a 6th place finish. Pierre House of Murphysboro HS and Glynn Chatmon of Melrose Park (Walther Lutheran HS) placed in the 1A meet and will be a factor in this event.

Other jumpers to keep a close eye on include Chris Moore of Cahokia HS, Lonnie Washington of Chicago (Perspectives Charter HS), Bradley Wright of Champaign (Central HS), Adonis Hill of Centralia HS, Ian Ferguson of Rock Island (Alleman HS), and Carlos Harris of Decatur (MacArthur HS).

Triple Jump
45-5.50 Cody Leach SR Chicago St. Rita 5th - AAA
45-4.50 Aaron Perry SR Mt. Zion 7th - AA
44-6 Carlos Harris SR Decatur MacArthur
44-5.25 Donald Kellum JR Murphysboro 4th - A
43-10.75 Darmond Lee SR Country Club Hills Hillcrest
43-7.25 Donte Arnold SR Woodstock
43-3 Chiko Zintambila SR Normal University
43-2.25 Terrall Rank SR Peoria Central
43-1 Travon Diggins JR Galesburg
42-10 Victor Baker SR Evergreen Park
42-4.50 Ivan Sykes SR Normal University
42-1.75 Austin Burrows SR Princeton 9th - A
42-1 Mike Beckman SR Lake Villa Lakes
41-10.50 Tavion Neal JR Springfield Lanphier
41-10 Daniel McCall SO Cahokia
41-10 Sean Fitzgerald SR New Lenox Providence
41-9.50 Darmond Lee SR Country Club Hills Hillcrest
41-9 Jeff Walker SR Champaign Centennial
41-9 Chris Williams SR Rochelle
41-7.50 Jeff Walker SR Melrose Park Walther Lutheran

This event is could be similar to the Long Jump. Cody Leach of Chicago (St. Rita HS) a year ago finished 5th place in 3A. He would have been one of the favorites on the higher class this season. The same can be said in this class. The one returning all state jumper in this event in 2A is Aaron Perry of Mt. Zion HS who finished 7th last year. Both Leach and Perry’s personal bests are separated by only one inch making the battle this spring very intriguing. Junior Chris Moore of Cahokia HS was not even on the radar in this event last year. This winter he has already jumped 45’ 5 ”. He will be in the mix to keep the crown in this event in Cahokia. Vernon Carter has won this event the last 2 years.

There are 2 all state jumpers from 1A that are moving up. Donald Kellum of Murphysboro HS finished 4th, Austin Burrows of Princeton HS finished 9th. Both will be in the mix this spring.

Other athletes to watch in this include Carlos Harris of Decatur (MacArthur HS), Darmond Lee of Country Club Hills (Hillcrest HS), Donte Arnold of Woodstock HS, Chiko Zintambila of Normal (University HS), and Terrall Rank of Peoria HS.

High Jump
6-6 Eddie Grogg SR Woodstock NH - AA
6-5 Austen Stewart JR Princeton 4th - A
6-5 Justin Kretchmer JR Waterloo 4th - AA
6-5 Ian Briscoe JR Fairbury Prairie Central
6-4 Antonio Crossland SR Salem
6-4 Bobbie Mannie SR Herrin
6-4 Alex King SO Metropolis Massac County
6-4 Conner Stroud SR Manteno 11th - A
6-4 Justin Maskrey SR Dunlap
6-3 Paul Quick JR Rantoul
6-3 Chris Williams SR Rochelle 11th - AA
6-3 Logan Zeman SO LaSalle-Peru
6-3 Dwight Snowden SR Country Club Hills Hillcrest 10th - AA
6-2 Joseph Jones SR Plano
6-2 Andrew Schulte SR Breese Central
6-2 Darmond Lee SR Country Club Hills Hillcrest

Could be an interesting event. The favorite would have been Marmion Academy’s Peter Stefanski, who finished 2nd in 2A last year. With Marmion moving up, there is no clear favorite in this event. Eddie Grogg of Woodstock HS has the highest clearance of 6’ 6”. He did make the finals last year, but no heighted. Look for big things from him this year. There are two all state jumpers that return. Justin Kretchmer of Waterloo HS finished 4th last year in 2A and Austen Stewart of Princeton HS finished 4th in 1A.

Talent is pretty equal in this event which makes it interesting. With that said, keep an eye also for these jumpers in 2012: Ian Briscoe of Fairbury (Prairie Central HS), Antonio Crossland of Salem HS, Bobbie Mannie of Herrin HS, Alex King of Metropolis (Massac County HS), and Justin Maskrey of Dunlap HS.

Pole Vault
15-0 Tyler Ginger JR Stanford Olympia 2nd - A
14-6 Brandon Carrel SR Urbana 1st - AA
14-3 Austin Armetta SR Mahomet-Seymour
14-3 Trace Turner SR Mt. Vernon 3rd - AA
14-1 Brock McGee SR Herrin
14-0 Blake Pasley JR Rochester 11th - A
14-0 Charles Fenner SR Metamora
13-9 Chad Weaver JR New Lenox Providence
13-9 Pat Barrett SR Lombard Montini 5th - AA
13-9 Mark Panno SR Pontiac 6th - AA
13-6 Garrett Risley SR Mahomet-Seymour
13-6 Tyler Jourdan SO Salem 9th - AA
13-3 Kory Harner JR Maple Park Kaneland
13-3 Mike Schneiderbauer SR Sterling
13-0 Chase Black SO Charleston
13-0 Alex Staton SR Rochester

If I could only watch one event in 2A, this could be the one. There are 6 vaulters that return that attained all-state honors last spring. Branden Carrel of Urbana HS won this title last spring with a clearance of 14’ 6”. He will have company to push him this spring. Tyler Ginger of Stanford (Olympia HS) finished 2nd in 1A last year. His best vault last year was 15’ 0”. We could see a great battle here with both of these athletes pushing each other towards 16’.

The 4 other all state vaulters that deserve mention and will be in the hunt for the state championship include Trace Turner of Mt. Vernon HS, Pat Barrett of Lombard (Montini Catholic HS), Mark Panno of Pontiac HS, and Tyler Jourdan of Salem HS.

Also, watch for these vaulters to also make a difference in this event: Austin Armetta of Mahomet (Seymour HS), Brock McGee of Herrin HS, Blake Pasley of Rochester HS, and Charles Fenner of Metamora HS.

Shot Put
58-7 Josh Augusta JR Peoria Central 2nd - AA
55-4 Joel Valdivia SR Grayslake Central 4th - AA
55-2.75 Derek Bunch SR Mahomet-Seymour 5th - AA
54-1.50 Nick Boesso SR Glen Ellyn Glenbard South 7th - AA
52-9.50 Joe Huffman SR Geneseo 6th - AA
52-9 Luke Roush SR Mahomet-Seymour 10th - AA
50-8 Kaid Koester SR Carbondale
50-7.50 Jack Friedrich JR Metamora
50-5 Carson Schumacher JR Normal University
50-4 Tyler Roche SR Troy Triad
50-0.25 Brendan Duncan JR Waterloo
49-4 Mark Bortoli SR Rockford Boylan
49-3 Jon Shippert SR Dixon 12th - AA
49-1 Nate Boggs SR Effingham
49-1 Alan Gomez SR Lake Villa Lakes

At the beginning of last year, it looked like Springfield Lanphier’s Kevin Farley would be the dominant force in this event. Well, he did win his 2nd straight state championship and he did set a record in 2A. But he did have company at the state final that pushed him to the record. Joshua Augusta of Peoria HS set the record early in the final only to be trumped right after that by Farley.

I think it will be fascinating to watch Augusta in the Shot this year. He pushed the state champ last year and the fun thing is he was only a sophomore! Only a novice in this event, this young man once he realizes what he can do could go after Farley’s record and possibly the overall state record.

This is a packed event with 4 other weightmen pushing Augusta. The two that could be the main challengers to Augusta would be Joel Valdivia of Grayslake (Central HS) who finished 4th last year, and Derek Bunch of Mahomet (Seymour HS) who finished 5th.

Joe Huffman of Geneseo HS and Nick Boesso of Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South HS) also were all-state last year. Do not discount them.

Other athletes to watch include Luke Roush of Mahomet (Seymour HS), Kaid Koester of Carbondale HS, and Jon Shippert of Dixon HS.

170-9 Brendan Duncan JR Waterloo 1st - AA
168-10 Jacob Armbrust SR Metamora 3rd - AA
157-2 Nick Arnold SR Rockford Boylan
157-0 Luke Vaughn JR Champaign Centennial 7th - AA
155-5 Darius Tumminello SR Lake Villa Lakes
151-0 Joe Huffman SR Geneseo 9th - AA
150-10 Nick Boesso SR Glen Ellyn Glenbard South 11th - AA
150-2.50 Kaid Koester SR Carbondale
149-5.50 Michael Jean JR Mattoon 12th - AA
148-3.50 Luke Roush SR Mahomet-Seymour
147-4 Zach Fienhold JR Fairbury Prairie Central
146-0.50 Derek Bunch SR Mahomet-Seymour
145-7 Terrance Allen SR Lisle

I think this could be just as interesting as the Shot Put. Brendan Duncan of Waterloo HS just won last year’s title by 1 inch over Springfield Lanphier’s Kevin Farley. Duncan’s prelim throw held off an oncharging Farley on that championship Saturday.

Duncan will have company again this year. Jacob Armbrust of Metamora HS placed 3rd last year and is only 2 feet behind Duncan. Should be a spirited final with Duncan’s record that he set last year most likely will be surpassed.

Two other all-state throwers return from 2011. Luke Vaughn of Champaign (Centennial HS) and Joe Huffman of Geneseo HS should be both in the mix to challenge the above mentioned two.

Other throwers to watch include Nick Arnold of Rockford (Boylan HS), Darius Tumminello of Lake Villa (Lakes HS), Nick Boesso of Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South HS), and Michael Jean of Mattoon HS.

Comments/Questions: contact Michael Newman : newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com

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 Boys 1A Sprints/Hurdles Preview

February, 3, 2012
It is hard to ignore what happened last year at the prelims for Class 1A. It was probably the worst conditions that any state cross country or track meet has ever seen. Forty degree temperatures and heavy rain did have an effect on the final fields for Saturday.

It will also be hard to ignore about the re-classification that the IHSA put forward for the 2012 track season. Some returning all-state runners will be running at Class 2A this spring. At the same time, this re-classification will give the opportunity for athletes to step up this track season. With that, here is a look at some of the key returnees in the sprints and hurdles in Class 1A.

100 Meter Dash
10.72 Jonathan Hutchison SR Peoria Christian 1st - A
10.82 Brandon Belt SR Morrison
10.86 Dillon Butler SR Pittsfield
10.91 Jesse Cardenas JR Princeville
10.91 Austin Andrews SR Deer Creek-Mackinaw 5th - A
10.94 Alex Kemp SR Tuscola
10.97 Myles Ketelson SR Flora
11.00 Neal Leonard SR Winnebago
11.00 Brett Albertson JR Flanagan-Cornell
11.02 Austin Semplowski SR Gillespie
11.02 Theodore Hopkins SO Chicago Leo
11.03 Micah Johnson SR Tolono Unity
11.04 Bart Johnson JR Port Byron Riverdale
11.04 Cameron Walter JR Greenville 7th - A
11.06 Nick Rude JR Sterling Newman 8th - A
11.09 Shane Geary SR Polo 9th - A

Last year’s final of this event perhaps was one of the closest finishes in IHSA history. Jonathan Hutchison of Peoria (Peoria Christian HS) and Bruce Gray of Chicago (Leo Catholic HS) stood by the finish line looking at the scoreboard waiting for the results to pop up. It most cases at the state meet, the results would pop up instantly. For this event, these two sprinters waited…and waited. Nearly 3 minutes later, it showed Hutchison defeating Gary, but the timers had to go to one hundread thousandths of a second. How much closer can you get?

Hutchison comes into this event as the returning champion and also the man with the mark on his back. 4 other all-state runners return to challenge including Austin Andrews of Mackinaw (Deer Creek-Mackinaw HS), Cameron Walter of Greenville HS, Nick Rude of Sterling (Newman Catholic HS), and Shane Geary of Polo HS.

The closest returnee time wise is Senior Brandon Belt of Morrison (Morrison HS) who was one tenth behind Hutchison last spring. Other sprinters that are capable and itching to get into the finals include Theodore Hopkins of Chicago (Leo Catholic HS), Neal Leonard of Winnebago HS, Alex Kemp of Tuscola HS, Myles Ketelson of Flora HS.

200 Meter Dash
21.52 Jonathan Hutchison SR Peoria Christian 2nd - A
22.02 Alex Kemp SR Tuscola
22.15 Devin Johnson JR Erie-Prophetstown
22.26 Myles Ketelson SR Flora
22.31 Theodore Hopkins SO Chicago Leo 6th - A
22.35 Cameron Walter JR Greenville 7th - A
22.61 Brett Albertson JR Flanagan-Cornell
22.65 Nick Rude JR Sterling Newman
22.77 Micah Johnson JR Tolono Unity
22.84 Daniel Farmer SR Johnston City
22.90 Neal Leonard SR Winnebago
22.92 Broc Smith SO Tuscola
22.93 Shane Geary SR Polo
22.93 Brandon Belt SR Morrison

It was also close in this event. Jonathan Hutchison of Peoria (Peoria Christian HS) placed 2nd, only 2 hundreath of a second behind Trenton-Wesclin’s Nate Schreiber.

Hutchison returns as the big favorite in this race. His time last year is almost half a second behind his nearest returning competitor, Alex Kemp of Tuscola HS. Two all-staters return: Theodore Hopkins of Chicago (Leo Catholic HS) and Cameron Walter of Greenville HS.

There are other quality runners that will push Hutchison to a faster time. Watch for Devin Johnson of Erie (Erie-Prophetstown HS), Brett Albertson of Flanagan (Flanagan-Cornell HS), Nick Rude of Sterling (Newman Catholic HS), and Micah Johnson of Tolono (Unity HS).

400 Meter Dash
49.60 Daniel Farmer SR Johnston City
49.74 Brandon Skowronski SR Shelbyville 5th - A
49.94 Austin Semplowski SR Gillespie
50.57 Trevor Crum SR Heyworth 9th - A
51.01 Jake Gullstrand JR Shabbona Indian Creek
51.11 Bill Howorth SR Aurora Christian
51.19 Seth Petty SR Pittsfield
51.24 Tim Doll SO Westmont
51.42 Robert Weible SR Bunker Hill
51.50 Zeke Elkins SR St. Joseph-Ogden
51.51 Robbie Irvin SR Hoopeston Area
51.76 Dallas Fry SR Princeville
51.77 Eli Wright SR Robinson
52.10 Kayden Guymon SR Carthage Illini West
52.24 Jacob Segrest JR Piasa Southwestern

This could be wide open as the top 4 runners last year have graduated and only 2 all-state runners return in this event. Seniors Brandon Skowronski of Shelbyville HS and Trevor Krum of Heyworth HS will be the two favorites in the 400 this spring, but there will be other runners close on their heels.

Daniel Farmer of Johnston City HS has the fastest returning time in this class in this event. In last year’s prelims, Farmer finished 10th, just missing the finals by 27 hundreaths of a second. After that, there are opportunities for runners to step up. Keep an eye on Bill Howorth of Aurora (Aurora Christian HS), Tim Doll of Westmont HS, Jake Gullstrand of Shabbona (Indian Creek HS), and Seth Petty of Pittsfield HS.

110 Meter High Hurdles
14.66 Colin Carver SR Casey Westfield 4th - A
14.92 John Piper JR Alton Marquette DQ - A
15.24 Andrew Vahling SR Teutopolis
15.34 Noel Yarngo SR Mooseheart
15.53 Payton Holmes JR Aledo Mercer County
15.54 Dominic Vahling SR Teutopolis
15.60 Caleb Parsons SR Watseka
15.61 George Wayda SR Pleasant Plains
15.64 Zach Kleindl SR Winnebago
15.68 Braden Barton SR Oregon
15.70 Nick Craig SR Niantic Sangamon Valley
15.81 Johnathan Reed SO Knoxville
15.94 Quentin Austin SR Vandalia
15.97 Marlon Britton JR Chicago Leo
16.00 Spencer Cooper SO Bushnell Prairie City

There will be a new champion in this class. Joseph Jones of Plano HS won this state race last year, but with Plano moving up to 2A, he will not get a chance to defend. Even if Jones was in this event, the High Hurdles are wide open.

The one hurdler that I would definitely keep an eye on would be Colin Carver of Casey (Westfield HS), who finished 4th here last year. The senior returns with the fastest time along with being the only all-stater in this class. Other hurdlers that will be with and pushing Carver include John Piper of Alton (Marquette HS), Noel Yarngo of Mooseheart (Mooseheart HS), and Andrew Vahling of Teutopolis (Teutopolis HS).

300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles
39.18 Colin Carver SR Casey Westfield 2nd - A
39.34 Austin Semplowski SR Gillespie 4th - A
39.62 Noel Yarngo SR Mooseheart 6th - A
41.08 Nick Retherford JR Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley
41.25 Nick Craig SR Niantic Sangamon Valley
41.62 Alex Arteaga SR St. Joseph-Ogden 9th - A
41.77 Zach Kleindl SR Winnebago
41.78 Luke Stockman SR Elmwood
41.80 Braden Barton SR Oregon
41.85 Quentin Austin SR Vandalia
41.94 James Miller SR Bushnell Prairie City
41.98 Andrew Vahling SR Teutopolis
42.00 Jacob Fanshier SR Edwardsville Metro-East Lutheran
42.05 Dominic Vahling SR Teutopolis
42.14 Luke Tucker JR Argenta-Oreana

Just as in the 110 Meter High Hurdles, Colin Carver of Casey (Westfield HS) will be the marked man in this event. He has the fastest time returning and also is the highest returnee from last year’s state meet placing 2nd. He will have company in this race.

Austin Semplowski of Gillespie (Gillespie HS) has the talent to challenge Carver. Could be a close race at the state meet. He finished 4th last year. Other state returnees include Noel Yarngo of Mooseheart (Mooseheart HS), and Alex Arteaga of St. Joseph (St.Joseph-Ogden HS).

Other hurdlers to watch that could make a difference in this race are Nick Retherford of Gibson City (Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley HS), Nick Craig of Niantic (Sangamon Valley HS), and Zach Kleindl of Winnebago.

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