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).