High-SchoolTrack-and-XC: mike newman

Last laps for Later a winning one at Senior All Star Meet

June, 10, 2012
Meet Results

Joliet, Ill --- The Senior All-Star Spotlight Meet at Joliet’s Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon gave senior athletes from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin one more chance to run in high school competition. For Leland Later, it was a 2 lap “victory lap”.

Recently graduated in the last week from New Trier High School, Later completed a successful senior campaign winning the 800 Meter Run in near 90 degree temperatures like he has the past nine months. He was content to let Reed Schmidt (Racine Park, Wisc) to take the pace as this small field of five runners passed the 400 in 57 seconds. With 300 meters to go, Later put his head down and charged away from the pack like he has done so many times this year. He finished in 1:54.55. It was a PR for Later in an open race, but he had run a 1:51.8 split for New Trier’s 4x8 relay at the Loyola Academy Sectionals three weeks ago.

“It felt great. I was looking for a faster time but I was satisfied,” Later said after his run. “I thought it would be fun to run one more race low keyed to end my high school career.”

Right behind Later was Tommy Meister (Craig, Janesville Wisc) who had completed an incredible double within 24 hours. Friday evening on the same track at the Inaugural Midwest Distance Festival, Meister finished fourth in the 2 Mile Run with a 9:07 PR. Seventeen hours later, a 1:55.10 was good enough for second.

David Timlin (Lane Tech, Chicago Ill) had graduated from his school the night before. Through all of the excitement, Timlin had forgotten that he had left his spikes in his gym locker. With no way to enter the school on Saturday morning, Timlin journeyed down to Joliet with the expectations of competing the 1600 Meter Run in his training flats.

Fellow Chicago Public League athlete and 3A 200 Meter Champion Darvell Harris came to the rescue. Both wear the same size spikes. It was probably the longest continued time that those spikes had been on the tracks.

With that problem solved, Timlin settled in behind the fast early pace of Jeff Espeset (Ames, Iowa) for the first two laps. Espeset was two seconds ahead of Timlin at the 800 but you could tell the fast early pace was taking its toll. Timlin took the lead with 700 meters to go and cruised to over a three second win over Jeff Meitler (Wisconsin Lutheran, Milwaukee Wisc).

“I would not recommend running the mile using sprinter spikes,” a smiling Timlin said after the race. “My concern was that I wasn’t trying to go out too fast but him (Espeset) going out that fast put a little pressure on me.”

James Harrington (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) was the only double meet winner on Saturday. The Iowa 4A champion in the 100 & 200 duplicated that winning both races (10.94 / 21.78). Next up for Harrington is the University of Alabama.
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.
Class A Photo Gallery



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.
Jamison DaleBob Geiger/ESPNHSJamison Dale (2) sets an AA record in the 1,600 prelims.

Charleston, Ill --- Jamison Dale (Jones College Prep, Chicago Ill) used an old school approach to get himself ready for the balmy weather at O’Brien Field Friday morning. All during the week, Dale and his teammates trained in full sweats to get themselves acclimated to weather that they would be running in this weekend at the state meet.

“We were running up and down the lake front in Chicago and people were giving us weird looks,” Dale said. “We are pretty happy with the way we prepared for this heat.”

And it worked.

In his qualifying heat of the 1600 Meter run, Dale led Will Brewster (Central, Grayslake ill) take the pace through the first 800 meters. Right after that point, Dale took over and with Brewster, opened up a 5 second led approaching the bell lap. With about 450 meters to go, Dale made a surge. Brewster at that point looked back to see what kind of gap he had. It was big and decided to fight the battle on Saturday. Dale’s final 63 second lap brought him home in 4:15.97 and a new 2A record. Brewster broke the record in that heat running 4:18.13.

“I went out in perfect pace, exactly as we wanted,” Dale continued. “We ran negative splits. It worked out phenomenal. It was a great race.”

It sets up a great matchup in this race tomorrow with two time cross country champion Michael Clevenger (MacArthur, Decatur Ill), who ran 4:19.77 to win his heat. “I am looking forward tomorrow. It is going to be one of the biggest days in my running career at MacArthur.”

The two will meet up early in the day on Saturday in the 3200 Meter Run.

~~ The team battle ~~

Cahokia led all schools with most qualifiers advanced to Saturday’s final with 12. Glenbard South is the next closest with 9, five schools are tied with six qualifiers.

Cahokia does have some work to do if they want to repeat their team title. Chris Moore and Gary Hickman are currently in fourth and ninth in the Long Jump. Moore is currently in second in the Triple Jump with teammate Jalon Monigan eleventh. The Comanches did one other setback in their 4 x 100 Meter Relay just missed qualifying for the finals.

Cahokia did have some great things happen for them. Darren Payton broke the 800 Meter 2A record set by Michael Simon (Springfield Ill) last year. Payton just edged out Mark Pedziwiatr (Lincoln-Way West, New Lenox Ill) 1:54.84 – 1:54.95. Cahokia had the fastest qualifying time in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay (7:49.76), 4 x 400 Meter Relay (3:20.15), and second in the 4 x 200 Meter Relay (1:29.19).

Glenbard South will make things interesting for Cahokia. The Raiders have the fastest qualifying time in the 4 x 200 Meter Relay (1:29.09), along with qualifying their 4x1 (42.56) and their 4x8 (7:53.74). Elven Walker qualified in both hurdle races. Nick Boesso qualified in the shot. South did have some close calls. John Wold missed qualifying in the 800 Meter Run by 2 hundredths of a second. Torey Fobbs missed making the Shot Put final by one inch.

~~ One more record ~~

There was one more record set in the 2A morning session on the track. Jacksonville smashed the 2A record of Rock Island (42.27) running a 41.91 to have the top qualifying time. Jacksonville may sneak up on the trophy stand. They have the top 2 times in the 100 Meter Dash ( Reggie Bratton – 10.85, Nick Schippel – 10.93) along with qualifying two to the 200 Meter final.

~~ It just was not meant to be ~~

Joseph Jones (Plano, Ill) settled into the blocks of the third heat of the 110 Meter Hurdles having the fastest sectional time. The gun went immediately followed by another. Jones stood by the first hurdle with his head leaned down on it. He knew what was going to happen. After a three minute officials deliberation, they determined that his leg twitched before the gun went off. He was disqualified from the race.

He walked back to the tent, shaking his head while he looked at the ground and then immediately came back to the blocks for the first heat of the 100 Meter Dash. He ran 11.41 to place sixth in his heat. His day ended when he was the tenth qualifier in the 200 Meter Dash just missing qualifying by one place.

“I kind of hurt my leg during a workout on the track on Tuesday. But that is not an excuse for what happened today,” Jones said after his 200. “It did not effect the DQ. And when I ran the 100, my head was still thinking about the DQ.”

~~ Other news and notes ~~

  • Caleb Fricke (PORTA, Petersburg Ill) had the longest throw in the preliminary competition of the Discus. His throw of 188-2 set a new 2A record previously held by Brendan Duncan (Waterloo, Ill) at last year’s state meet. Duncan is currently third in the event, almost 16 feet behind Fricke

  • The pack is bunched up in the Long Jump. The first four places are separated by three inches which will make Saturday’s final fun to watch. Travon Diggins (Galesburg, Ill) jumped 22-3 for the lead.

  • It will be a dog fight in the Shot Put. Sectional leader Joshua Augusta (Peoria, Ill) hold a one foot lead over Tyler Roche (Triad, Troy Ill). Joel Valdivia (Central, Grayslake Ill) is one half inch behind Roche.

  • Devin Valentine (Freeport, Ill) has the lead heading into the finals of the Triple Jump. The sophomore jumped 46-8 for a half foot lead over pre meet favorite Chris Moore (Cahokia, Ill).

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).
Charleston, Ill --- The winds whipped up strongly from the south and affected most athletes Thursday in the first day of the prelims of the IHSA Boys State Track Meet. It did not affect Steve Schroeder (Monticello, Ill) and Grant Nykaza (Beecher, Ill) as they ran in the final heat of the 1600 Meter Run.

To them, it was just a rehearsal for Saturday’s final. Schroeder and Nykaza traded off the lead for the first three laps before Schroeder took the lead just before the last lap. He came across the finish line effortlessly running 4:21.28 while Nykaza jogged in a second behind (4:22.55).

“Everybody in the stands today thought I wanted to beat Steve today. The plan today was to just qualify. That was it,” said Nykaza after his run. “I did not want to run the last lap in 73. I wanted to come in nice and easy. I have some thoughts in my head about Saturday but I will keep them to myself.”

Thursday’s prelims for Schroeder set him up for a busy day on Saturday. He opened up the prelims by anchoring his school to the fastest time in the prelims in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay (8:10.29). Schroeder’s split on the anchor was 1:56.8 just ahead of St. Joseph-Ogden. He finished the day by anchoring his schools 4 x 400 Meter Relay running a 53.5 anchor. Monticello ran the 23rd fastest time in the relay and did not advance.

After he finished his 1600 meter heat, he announced that he would run the 4x8, 3200, and the 1600. Big plans for the state cross country champion. “He is the strongest distance runner in 1A,” said Nykaza.

“My plan today was test the field on the last lap. I think I executed my plan,” said Schroeder. “Saturday is going to be a lot of fun. Getting to run on this track so much? I want to dell well in everything I can. It is all about heart and guts and doing whatever it takes.”

The triple that he plans to do is not for his own self gratification. He wants to do it for his teammates. This is his last chance to that.

“I want to do this for my teammates. They have given a lot of the summer, over the winter. I just want to give back to them. They have been there for me through all my struggles. They are great teammates. We just want to bring a trophy home with us.”

Monticello is in good shape heading into Saturday’s finals. The Sages are tied with 6 qualifiers along with Oregon, Chicago Leo, and St. Joseph-Ogden. Newton leads all of Class 1A with 8 qualifiers including all 4 relays. Sparta qualified all of their relays and has 7 total qualifiers.

Leo chances of repeating took a little bit of a hit when they bobbled the final exchange of the 4 x 200 Meter Relay. They finished 26th and did not advance. Their 4 x 100 Meter Relay had the fastest qualifying time (42.67).

Other news and notes from Thursday’s prelims:
  • The athletes in the 100 Meter Dash and the 110 Meter High Hurdles took advantage of the consistent 20 MPH south winds at their back. Colin Carver (Casey-Westfield, Casey Ill) just held off George Wayda (Pleasant Plains, Ill) to run the fastest time in the High Hurdles (14.54). Wayda was four hundredths back. Carver came back to run the fastest qualifying time in the 300 Intermediate Hurdles (38.35). In the 100 Meter Dash, Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill) was the fastest qualifier running a 10.59. Defending champ Jonathan Hutchison (Peoria Christian, Peoria Ill) qualified by winning his heat in 10.83. Pryor is also the leading qualifier in the Long Jump (23-0.75).
  • There was one record set on Thursday. In the final heat of the 4 x 200 Meter Relay as Leo Catholic was having their handoff problems, Tuscola won the heat in an electrifying 1:27.93 breaking the record set by Lombard Montini seven years by one hundredths of a second. Considering how strong the wind was, it will be interesting to see if they can lower their record.
  • Daniel Farmer (Johnston City, Ill) had a great day on the track. He opened up by qualifying eighth in the 100 Meter Dash (10.81). In his best event, the 400 Meter Dash, Farmer charged around the back curve and finished with fastest qualifying time in the event (48.97), almost a second and a half ahead of Devin Johnson (Erie-Prophetstown, Erie Ill). He led all qualifiers in the 200 Meter Dash running a 22.46 into the strong wind on the home straightaway. “I got a slow start in the 100 again. The 100 did not affect my legs in the 400.”
  • Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph, Ill) set himself to a busy day on Saturday similar to Schroeder. He qualified in the 800 Meter Run (1:59.54). Thirty minutes, later he was back on the track in the blocks in the 400. He qualified sixth in that event (50.57). He anchored his team into the finals running a 50.3 anchor placing St. Joseph-Ogden into the finals.
  • Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day occurred in the 800 Meter Run when Michael Brown (White County, Carmi Ill) had the fastest qualifying time in the event (1:56.56). What makes it so eye-opening is that a week ago at his sectional, he ran 2:06.87 to win the West Frankfort Sectional which was the second slowest time heading into Thursday’s race. So who is this guy? That is what people were asking. I can tell you he ran in the 1A State Cross Country meet last fall finishing 32nd. He did come back and was the eleventh qualifier in the 1600 (4:33.31). This is the beginning of a story in which we will see this young man back in the finals again and again. A star in the making…
  • The weight events looks like they will be heading to an exciting conclusion on Saturday. Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manlius Ill) had the longest mark in the Shot Put (57-10.75), only 7 inches ahead of Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill). Pearce is also leading the discus heading into the finals (166-11), three feet ahead of Jake Mahin (Staunton, 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.

Quantity could be the deciding factor this weekend in the 3A state meet at O’Brien Field. With the weather supposed to be oppressively hot, it will come down to the schools that are deep to get the state championship. There is some good quality in this field with any number of five schools in the hunt to replace Lake Park as the state champion. The question will be whether or not Lake Park will be replaced? They bring into the meet 12 qualifiers that could bring the top trophy back to Roselle.

Here is a look what to watch for in the team battles this Friday and Saturday. The schools are listed by number of total qualifiers with the highest number going first.

Oak Park-River Forest

Qualifiers: 13 Individuals, 4 Relays – 17 Total

Outlook: The Huskies have gone after three goals this season. In the last two weeks, they have accomplished two of them by winning conference and sectional titles. Now on to goal #3: the state title. This team put themselves in a good position by qualifying 17 to Charleston. Some of you may say the numbers are high because of the sectional they were in. There is quality within those numbers.

Carl Heinz is the defending champion in the high Jump and will look to go after another on Saturday. He could also score in the Triple Jump. Malachy Schrobilgen is one of the elite distance runners in the state. He will be out for a championship in either the 3200 or 1600. Evan Fisher could score some major points in the 800 and will be a part of a couple of their relays.

The short sprint relays are comprised of all underclassmen. How will they stand up to the state meet pressure? They have looked good so far. Coach Tim Hasso’s team has been pointing for this moment. If they come out of Friday with 9 qualifiers to Saturday, this team will be in great shape to win a championship.

Wheaton North

Qualifiers: 11 Individuals, 4 Relays – 15 Total

Outlook: Don Helberg’s team was not in the team title discussion at the beginning of the year. In the last 3 weeks, this team has emerged as one of the elite squads in the state. Last Friday at Wheaton-Warrenville South, they backed up that claim qualifying 15 to Charleston.

The Falcons can score in many ways. They will get points in both the weight events from Christian Hollinger and Mac Spaulding. Zach Gordon popped a Long Jump that is longest in the state. He will look to go after the title this weekend. Gordon also could score points in the 200 Meter Dash and will be part of their 4 x1 and 4x2 relays.

Wheaton North could get points from Brett Kohler in the 300 Intermediates. The same can be said from Aidan Askin in the 1600. This squad could be towards the top if they can get 3 of their relays to Saturday. This is a team with deceptively good quality. They could show that this weekend.

Roselle Lake Park

Qualifiers: 10 Individuals, 2 Relays – 12 Total

Outlook: Those of you that are saying “Here we go again with Lake Park and their field events”…stop it! Last year the Lancers did it scoring points with basically three athletes. This year is a different team. And this squad could repeat through the field events, but it will be totally different than last year. At the Wheaton-Warrenville South Sectional, they qualified both of their individuals in 5 out of the 6 field events. Shot Put was the only event they did not get through. There is more depth on this team than last year and it could show this weekend.

Scott Filip has qualified in three events. He could place high in both horizontal jump events. It would be a bonus if he scored in the High Jump. Kevin Spejcher has been on the last couple of weeks. He won the IPTT Indoor State championship. He would like to get the one that has eluded him the last couple of years.

Shawn Koch enters the Triple Jump with the longest effort in 3A. He could score big points in this event. Marcus Jegede will be a favorite in the Long Jump. The talented sophomore was also anchor their 4 x 1 relay. The Lancers could get points in the Pole Vault from either Derrick Smith or Tim Ehrhardt.

Lake Park qualified 2 relays as well. Both the 4x8 and the 4x1 could make it to the Saturday finals. Coach Jay Ivory is smiling because the majority of the squad that qualified for the state meet are underclassmen. They are a young and talented squad that could bring back another championship trophy.


Qualifiers: 9 Individuals, 2 Relays – 11 Total

Outlook: The Tigers have the parts to stop Lake Park’s title express. They qualified 11 from the ultra tough Belleville West sectional last Friday. They will combine speed and strength to go after the state title and duplicate what the girl’s team did one week prior.

It may have been a blessing in disguise that star sprinter Cameron James hurt his hamstring during the indoor season. It gave Bennett Gray a chance to step into the sprint spotlight. The junior has the second fastest time in the 100 and could be one of the favorites. James also qualified in the 100. Put those two sprinters together and you have a dangerous 1-2 punch. That showed in the 4x1 where the Tigers have the fastest time in the state.

Edwardsville is strong in the field events. So much that it may neutralize Lake Park’s strength. Josh White will be one of the favorites in the Triple Jump. Tom Schuette will score some good points in the Pole Vault. Julian Harvey could get some bonus points in the High Jump. Vincent Valentine has been the big surprise for coach Chad Lakatos in the Shot Put. This is Valentine’s first year in the event, yet he will be one of the favorites.

Garrett Sweatt opted out of the 3200 /1600 double due to a sore knee. He will only run the 3200, but will be a big threat to win it.

Edwardsville will know where they stand after the 4 x 2 when they are done competing for the day. It will be a sit and wait proposition for them. But the waiting is the hardest part and the waiting could get them a state trophy.

Harvey Thornton

Qualifiers: 9 Individuals, 2 Relays – 11 Total

Outlook: Last year the Wildcats tied for third place in the team race due to the strength of Timothy Faust who won the 100 & 200. It could have been higher if it were not for a phantom dq in the 4x2. The makeup of this year’s Thornton team is different where it does not rely on one individual for points. It is more of a well rounded team that could surprise.

Jonathan Anderson has the possibility of scoring points in both of the hurdle races. Demetri Smith has taken over the role that Timothy Faust had in 2011 and will be a factor in both the 100 & 200.

Thomas Taylor will compete in both the Long and Triple Jump. He could score some big points in both those events. Thornton has 2 good sprint relays. Both could place high even win on Saturday.

There is not much room for mistakes from this team this weekend. But it is a team that has flown under the radar most of the season and could come away with a trophy on Saturday.

Elmhurst York

Qualifiers: 9 Individuals, 1 Relay – 10 Total

Outlook: This is not your typical York state meet team where they will score points in either the relays or the distance events. This Duke team is powered by a couple of field events that if they score high in them, York could sneak away with a trophy.

Nick Sgarbossa and Shawn John have been towards the top of the boards in the Pole Vault most of the season. Sgarbossa has the highest clearance in the event (16-0) and will be the favorite. They will need big points in this event. Paul Golen has qualified in both the Shot and Discus. He could score big points in the Discus. He needs to find the consistency that he had indoors to score high in the Shot Put. The big surprise in the field events for York could be High Jumper Adam Kosecki. Two weeks ago, his PR was 5-11. It is now 6-5 and he could sneak in a couple of points.

York will have its normal entrants in the distances and could get a couple of points from either Chris May & Billy Clink in the 1600 or Nathan Mroz in the 3200. The Dukes do have a 4x8 relay that qualified. Hard to say if they will make it to Saturday. They have the talent but whether they will run to the potential or run scared will be the big question. It could score points that this team could use to get into the top 3 by the end of the day.

Naperville Neuqua Valley

Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 3 Relays – 9 Total

Outlook: Not much wiggle room for errors for the Wildcats if they want to place in the top 3 at state. Neuqua will score big points in the 3200 with Mark Derrick and Taylor Soltys. Derrick could even get points in the 1600. Their 4 x 8 is the big story for this team. The quartet ran 7:52 last week at Naperville North. It has the potential to run faster this weekend and place high.

Jacob Bender tweaked his hamstring towards the end of the 400 last week at sectionals. He still placed second and has the second fastest sectional time in the state. He has had all week to rest. He will be the man to watch in that event and will score big points. Bender will also be part of the 4x1 that could make the finals and score bonus points.

Andrew Peterson vaulted to a PR last week. He could score some points in the Pole Vault. Carlos Varela-Hernandez is another athlete that could score points in the Discus.

Evanston Township

Qualifiers: 5 Individuals, 4 Relays – 9 Total

Outlook: This team is running with a heavy heart with the passing of long time Coach Willie May last month. This team used the same formula that Coach May used in the past in putting emphasis on teamwork within the relays. All 4 relays could score on Saturday putting them in shape to score some major points. The 4x 4 surprised by running 3:20 last Thursday and will be in the mix for the crown.

Xavier Levy has not been in the spotlight in the 100 & 200 Meter Dashes. He could score in both of those. Adonis Jones and Demonte Hill are entered in the Triple Jump and Long Jump respectively. It would be bonus points for the Wildkits if either could score in those.

Aurora Waubonsie Valley

Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 2 Relays – 8 Total

Outlook: Kevin Rafferty’s team has been overshadowed most of the season by Lake Park and Neuqua Valley within their conference. Now with state meet this weekend, the Warriors have enough quality in their qualifiers that they could place in the top 3.

Waubonsie have two qualifiers in both the Shot and Discus with Riley Kittridge and Jamal Bearden. Both weight men have the potential to score big points in both events. James Travis was a surprise qualifier in the Triple Jump. If this sophomore scores in the event this weekend, it would be a bonus.

Kyle Schafer has been among the elite in the 300 Intermediates all season. He gets his chance to score big points as he will be one of the favorites. He is also a part of a 4x4 relay that has been towards the top of the leaderboard all season. They will be in the top 3 in this event on Saturday.


Qualifiers: 7 Individuals, 1 Relay – 8 Total

Outlook: Could be among the top at the end of the meet, but the Panthers will need no mistakes. O’Fallon could score some big points in the 1600 Meter Run with Alex Riba and Patrick Perrier. O’Fallon could score points in the 4x8 if either two of these guys run. At this time, it looks doubtful that either will on Friday. If the relay makes it to Saturday, we may see both.

O’Fallon could get some points in the Pole Vault with Jack Klopfenstein. Senior Discus thrower Nick Barrett is among the top 5 sectional performances in that event. He could go higher this weekend.

Chris Wiggins is peaking at the right time in the 100 meter Dash. He could score some points there as well.


Qualifiers: 5 Individuals, 3 Relays – 8 Total

Outlook: With only 8 qualifiers, this team does not have much room for mistakes. But the quality that they have is strong and could be in the mix for a trophy on Saturday. Their 4 x 4 relay has been tough all season. It will be in the hunt for a top finish on Saturday if they can stay away from the mishaps that haunted them in the indoor season.

Minooka’s 4x8 relay is back to defend the title that they won last year. It could. They have great senior leadership in Dan Popek and Joey Santillo. Popek also qualified in the 800 and could place in the top 5 in that race. Look for points from Ethan Cane as well in the Long Jump.

Belleville West

Qualifiers: 3 Individuals, 4 Relays – 7 Total

Outlook: Not much room for mistakes for the Maroons, but Patton Seagraves came into this meet last year in the same position and left with a top 3 finish.

All 4 relays are quality relays. The sprint relays at Belleville West have the tradition of stepping up big at the state meet. Don’t expect anything less than that. Do not be surprised if they win all three. The 4x8 relay is rated 20th on the leaderboard and could get bonus points if they make the finals.

Jamion Nash will need a good meet to place in the Triple Jump. Taron Johnson could get bonus points in the Shot Put.
The 3 class system has been a success regardless of what some say. It has given a chance for the schools in the middle a chance to shine and succeed. The performances that have been achieved in this four year time period are not too shabby either. Friday morning will begin another chapter in the story of this new class 2A. Some of the bigger schools have moved up to 3A and have given some other athletes a chance to enter the spotlight.

New stars will be born under the hot sun baking the O’Brien Stadium blue oval.

Here is a look at each event and what we see happening this weekend.



Outlook: Travon Diggins (Galesburg) enters into this event with the longest jumps in the sectional competition and overall in Class 2A this spring. The junior is undefeated this year in 2A competition outdoors. His only two losses in this event came from 3A jumper Derrick Ellis (Rock Island). He placed sixth last year at state. He would like to go five better this time around.

This is a good field with any number of jumpers with the possibility of winning this event. Chris Moore (Cahokia) has come on strong the last couple of weeks. At the Collinsville Invitational, he jumped 22-8.5, showing that he will be a chief challenger to Diggins. The same can be said of Dion Starnes (Bremen, Midlothian Ill). He has improved 2 feet over the last month jumping 22-7 last week at sectionals. If he is on, he could go over 23’.

Other jumpers that I would keep an eye on include Glynn Chatmon (Walther Lutheran, Melrose Park Ill), Steven Eldridge and Pierre House (Murphysboro, Ill), Delano Samuels (Bishop McNamara, Kankakee Ill), and Bradley Wright (Central, Champaign Ill). With the hot conditions, I think it will take well over 23 feet to win this event.


Outlook: Cahokia wants a 1-2 finish in this event and they just might get it. Chris Moore (Cahokia, Ill) popped a 47-8 last week at the Mascoutah Sectional and will be the big favorite in this event. In fact, he has the best jump in the sectional by over two feet. His teammate Jalon Monigan needs to get in the 46’ foot range in this meet. His last two meets he has been in the upper 44 foot range. His PR is 46-2.25.

The one jumper that could break up the 1-2 is Devin Valentine (Freeport, Ill). The sophomore has come on strong the last few weeks where he is now consistently close to 46 feet. Maybe this will be the meet where Valentine goes over that barrier. Also watch for D’armond Lee (Hillcrest, Country Club Hills Ill) to be in the mix for the championship. Lee has been in the upper 45’s like Valentine and is ripe for a PR in this meet.

Other jumpers that I would watch are Carlos Harris (MacArthur, Decatur Ill), Cody Leach (St. Rita, Chicago Ill), Chiko Zintambila (University, Normal Ill), and Tra Mond Lewis (Southeast, Springield Ill).

If Moore is off his game, it will take in the mid 46-s to win. If he is on, Moore has the ability to go over 48 feet in this meet.


Outlook: Out of all the field events, there are any one of 6 jumpers that could pull of the win. Justin Kretchmer (Waterloo, Ill) has the best height in this event in 2A (6-9). Last week, he was defeated by event newcomer Alex King (Massac County, Metropolis Ill). He will look to rebound this week.

Mike Monroe (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill) enters the event undefeated competing against mainly 3A jumpers. His best was early in the season (6-8). The sophomore is capable of going higher and just might on Saturday. Another sophomore, Devante King (Jacksonville, Ill) cleared 6-6 last week at his sectional and could threaten for the championship.

Other vertical jumpers to watch for in this event include Ian Briscoe (Prairie Central, Fairbury Ill), Scott Goad (Dixon, Ill), Chris Williams (Rochelle, Ill), and Dwight Snowden (Hillcrest, Country Club Hills Ill).

Monroe is the hot jumper and could win this event. It will take at least 6-9 to win on Saturday.


Outlook: This event could be incredible. Six vaulters have cleared 15 feet or better this outdoor season. The one that has been hot as of recently is Tyler Ginger (Olympia, Stanford Ill). He has gone over 15 feet in four meets this outdoor season with his best (15-9) two weeks ago at the Mahomet-Seymour Invitational. His only loss came last week at the Dunlap sectional where he was defeated by Charles Fenner (Metamora, Ill) who went 15-3.

Jon Walsh (North, Woodstock Ill) has been the biggest surprise of this outdoor season. He entered the season with a PR of 12-9. Three weeks ago at an invitational at Rockford East, he defeated 3A indoor champ Joe Ward (Jefferson, Rockford Ill) by clearing a PR of 15-6. Last week at sectionals ,he cleared 15-3. He will be among the vaulters chasing for the championship. Andrew Roney (Mahomet-Seymour, Mahomet Ill) has been hot as of late. He has been over 15-3 twice this season, the latest was at a win at his own sectional.

Chad Weaver (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill) was over 15-3 indoors. Outdoors he has cleared 15-0 the last two weeks. He is very competitive. He will be in the mix for the top prize. Brandon Carrel (Urbana, Ill) has also been over 15-3 twice this season. Count him also into the mix of competitors.

It is very hard to chart this event to see who the favorite is. It will take at least 15-9 to win on the blue runway Saturday afternoon, but which vaulter will it be?


Outlook: Last year, Joshua Augusta (Peoria, Ill) made this meet his coming out party by pushing defending state champion Kevin Farley (Lanphier, Springfield Ill) to the limit. He set the 2A record and held it for 45 seconds. Farley entered the ring and took it right back. This year, this event could be Augusta’s. His PR was in April at Dunlap where he went 61-0. His next closest challenger is nearly three feet behind him (57-11 – Derek Bunch of Mahomet-Seymour).

If Augusta falters, there are a number of athletes that could jump in. Watch for Bunch, Joel Valdivia (Central, Grayslake Ill), Rashad Campbell (Centralia, Ill), Brendan Duncan (Waterloo, Ill), Torey Fobbs (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill), and Luke Vaughn (Centennial, Champaign Ill).

Farley set the record last year going 62-4.5…Augusta could surpass that this weekend.


Outlook: This looks to be the best field event in 2A. It pits the defending 2A champion , Brendan Duncan (Waterloo, Ill),against last year’s 1A runner up Caleb Fricke (PORTA, Petersburg Ill). Fricke currently has the 10th best effort in the country in the Discus throwing 195-0 last week at the Dunlap Sectional. Duncan threw 192-7 two weeks ago at his conference meet which is currently ranked #13 nationally.

There are two other throwers that could threaten the above two athletes. Jacob Armbrust (Metamora, Ill) threw 188-5 two weeks ago at his conference meet. Last week at the Mahomet-Seymour Sectional , Luke Vaughn (Centennial, Champaign Ill) went 184-7 for the win. Do not dismiss these two throwers.

The field is deep. Other quality throwers include Patrick Long (Herscher, Ill), Coleman Nelson (Christian, Rockford Ill), and Michael Jean (Mattoon, Ill). These three will be in contention for an all state finish, but I do not think they can touch the first four.

I think we could see a throw of epic proportions to win this event, perhaps over 200 feet. Fricke and Duncan will push each other to the limit. Wish the event was inside of the stadium, but it would be worth it to venture outside of the walls to see the competition.



Outlook: Cahokia enters the event with the fastest sectional times by over six seconds. It could make them the favorite, but we have to look back at past history. In recent years they have had the fastest time coming into the meet, but have not performed at that level. This year could be the exception. Darren Payton will be a part of this quartet. If he is anchoring and with the lead, it may be tough to catch him.

There are two schools that I think could chase Cahokia. The first is Burlington Central. The Rockets have a great tandem leading them in Clint Kliem and Michael Gulik. Both are capable of running sub 1:55. If their other two can get under 2 minutes for their split, they will challenge Cahokia. The other school to watch is Glenbard South. They have a swift anchor in Sophomore John Wold. Even though they have run only 8:04, this team could drop their time at least 10 seconds this weekend.

Plenty of quality teams in this event. Watch for Normal University, Galesburg, Mahomet-Seymour, Dunlap, Riverside-Brookfield, and Aurora Central Catholic to challenge. It could take the winning team to go under 7:50 to win the final race.


Outlook: Jacksonville has took this 2A event by storm the last couple of weeks. At their conference meet two weeks ago, they ran 42.27. Last week at their own sectional, they ran a sectional best of 41.91. Led by Reggie Bratton and Nick Schippel, this team could run in the 41.6 range.

This relay is the high wire event on the track. One slip up and you are done, the action moves so quickly. If Jacksonville does slip up, watch for Midlothian Bremen, Country Club Hills Hillcrest, Chicago Fenger, Glen Ellyn Glenbard South, Melrose Park Walther Lutheran, New Lenox Providence, and Cahokia could all be good enough to get the win.


Outlook: With the temperatures expected to be in the mid 90’s by race time Saturday afternoon, it would be safe to say that this race could be a tactical affair. Not so fast on that prediction. There could be many factors to could go into that with that to be determined after the prelims on Friday. Several of the favorites will be racing in the 1600 prelims. If they make it to the Saturday finals, the strategy could change.

Michael Clevenger (MacArthur, Decatur Ill) is the defending champ in this race and will be the big favorite on Saturday. Clevenger ran 8:54.12 in California in April. Last week, he ran a controlled 9:18 to win at Jacksonville. Will Brewster (Central, Grayslake Ill) has been one of the most consistent runners in 2A, Brewster has run 9:17 outdoors, two weeks ago at his conference meet, and could be one of the runners to push him.

There are two others that I think that could also force the pace. The first is Jamison Dale (Jones College Prep, Chicago Ill). Dale has only run 9:28 this year, but he has the ability to push this race in adverse conditions, The second is hometown favorite Riley McInerney (Charleston, Ill). He ran 9:22 at the beginning of the month at his conference meet.

Other runners that I would watch are Marc Maton (Glenwood, Chatham, Ill), Joe Singleton (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill), Jonathan Schaap (Mahomet-Seymour, Mahomet Ill), and Tyler Morse (Limestone, Bartonville Ill).

Brewster may be the only runner that could match Clevenger’s 4:13 mile speed in this race. At the same time, no one is as strong as Clevenger. I do not know if there is a strategy in this field that can beat this three time state champ. The only thing that could beat him is the heat, but I think he is smart enough to weather that.


Outlook: Joseph Jones (Plano, Ill) is the defending champ in this event in 1A. Plano moves up a class and so must he. Jones came into this event with the fastest time in 2A, running 14.07 at the Seneca Sectional. The only other hurdler close to him in time this year is Spencer Allen (Mt. Vernon, Ill), who ran 14.12 at Edwardsville in April. They are in a class by themselves in this event.

Other hurdlers that could come up on these two include Elven Walker (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill), D.J. Duncan (Harrisburg, Ill), Dion Starnes (Bremen, Midlothian Ill), and Andrew Helmin (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill).

Jones will be running the 100 right after this race. He has been doing this his whole career. He is used to the time frame. He will take business in the hurdles first and that could take him under 14 seconds with Allen’s help.


Outlook: In the Dyestat TFX leaderboard, there are eight sprinters that are within 3 hundredths of a second between each other. You could sneeze and miss a runner going across. They will be moving that fast. Wesley Sanders (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill) has the fastest time from the sectionals running 10.81. The two sprinters I would watch are Jamal McNeeley and Brian Carter (Kelvyn Park, Chicago Ill). The two pitted against each other at the Chicago Public League Championship with McNeeley winning. The junior McNeeley came back at the Marshall Sectional and only defeated Carter by one hundredths of a second. This kind of follows the theme I was describing.

Like I said, this will be close, close, close. Other sprinters that I would definitely keep an eye on include Joseph Jones (Plano, Ill), Reggie Bratton & Nick Schippel (Jacksonville, Ill), Jonathan Boey (MacArthur, Decatur Ill), Troy Sheppard (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill), and Anthony Taylor (Montini, Lombard Ill).

This will be a fast final. That is to be certain of. I can see the winning time between 10.65 to 10.70, but it is anyone’s guess who will sprint away with the win. Let’s go to the photo….


Outlook: Darren Payton (Cahokia, Ill) enters this event as the prohibitive favorite. He has the fastest time in 2A running 1:54.72 three weeks ago at Collinsville. He is undefeated against Illinois competition this spring. His only loss of the season came at the Marion Freeman Invitational against Missouri super soph Charles Jones (Cardinal Ritter, St. Louis MO). He has 50 second 400 speed and the desire not to lose.

Two runners that I would keep a close watch on are Grant Inskeep (Notre Dame, Peoria Ill) and Darius Thomas (Macomb Ill). Last week, Inskeep bested Thomas by two tenths of a second at Dunlap. Cale McCormick (Mahomet-Seymour, Mahomet Ill) ran 1:55.20 at a home invitational two weeks ago. He could be chasing Payton.

Other runners that I would keep a close eye on include Luke Zygmunt (Central, Grayslake Ill), Mark Pedziwiatr (Lincoln-Way West, New Lenox Ill), John Wold (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill), and Luke Horton (Harrisburg, Ill).

It will take 1:54 or under to win this race. It depends what Payton runs on Friday, but he could be the favorite here if he survives the races he runs in with the heat. Otherwise, it could be any of the above runners.


Outlook: Hillcrest enters the meet with the fastest time in this race by over a half a second. In this relay, that is not a safe cushion. There are a number of teams that could go just as fast as Hillcrest.

Keep watch for Cahokia, Glenbard South, Murphysboro, Walther Lutheran, Kaneland, Fenger, and Chatham-Glenwood. All could best Hillcrest in this race. Can any of these quartets run in the low 1:28’s? If so, they could win this race.


Outlook: Remember last year the great race we had with Garret Payne (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill) besting D.J Zahn (Morton, Ill) 47.31-47.45 in a record race? Fans walked away thinking that it would be a long time before we see that again. One year is not a long time. But we could see the same type of race on Saturday.

In that same race last year, Brandon Penrod (Triad, Troy Ill) false started. He’s had a year to think about that. Rewind to last week at the Mascoutah Sectional. Penrod dueled Marlin Brady (Cahokia, Ill) down to the last meters with Penrod nipping Brady 48.11 to 48.25 seconds. With Mac Melto (Northside Prep, Chicago Ill) no longer running this season and the only other runner that would be able to challenge, it will come down to these two southern Illinois runners to challenge for the championship.

Runners to watch also in this event include Demetrius Shelton (Bremen, Midlothian Ill), Deandre Law (Galesburg, Ill), Kevin Ward (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill), and Leroy Chapman (Antoich, Ill). The record we thought would not be touched could get a sniff on Saturday.


Outlook: Could be a close battle in this final race. Andrew Helmin (Providence Catholic, New Lenox Ill) has the fastest time in 2A this year (38.16). He could be the slight favorite. He has lost only to Rashad Hulbert (Crete-Monee, Crete Ill) and Dion Starnes (Bremen, Midlothian Ill). Those happened early in the year. In May, he is undefeated. D.J. Duncan (Harrisburg, Ill) is one of the hurdlers that could get Helmin. Duncan finished third in the 1A finals last year. Starnes also is on Helmin’s radar.

Other hurdlers to watch include Chris Cheatham (Evergreen Park, Ill), Elven Walker (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill), Brandon Lindley (Peoria, Ill) and Donte Arnold (Woodstock, Ill).

It will take a sub 38 to win this race. Duncan could surprise in this race.


Outlook: The weather will definitely have an effect on this race with temperatures being in the upper 90’s by that point and some of the runners coming off of earlier races. The favorite is going to be Michael Clevenger (MacArthur, Decatur Ill) regardless of the weather. Clevenger has been under 4:20 six times this season, 3 outdoors and 3 under the roof. His best is 4:13.34.

William Brewster & Luke Zygmunt (Central, Grayslake Ill) will both be coming off of doubles, Brewster the 3200 and Zygmunt the 800. Brewster has been running off of doubles well this season. The question will be if he has enough left in the tank. The same can be said with Riley McInerney (Charleston, Ill) and Jamison Dale (Jones College Prep, Chicago Ill). Both will be racing earlier in the 3200. How much will they have left?

The one runner who will be fresh and could be a threat is Murphy Affolder (Mascoutah, Ill). His best this season is 4:24.83, which he ran at the beginning of April at Belleville West. In that race, he was leading Garrett Sweatt (Edwardsville, Ill) and Patrick Perrier (O’Fallon, Ill) until the last 100 meters. The sophomore has not been in a fast race situation since that point. He is capable of going well under 4:20.

Other runners to watch include Scott Wurtz (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn, Ill), Marc Maton (Glenwood, Chatham Ill), and Shawn Milhauser (Pontiac, Ill).

Like I said earlier in the 3200 preview, it is hard to think of a strategy that Clevenger could not beat. This race is a different animal, though, and it could work to the advantage of either Brewster or Zygmunt in this race. Both have killer kicks. So does Clevenger as he showed with the final 200 at the IPTT indoors where he let loose a 26 second last lap.

The probability of doubling in nearly adverse conditions will work against Clevenger in this race. He does have a heart of a champion and that could prevail in this race. He wins and he could cement himself as one of the all-time distance greats to run at the state meet.


Outlook: Just like the 100, this race could be that tight. Jamal McNeeley (Kelvyn Park, Chicago Ill) has run only 21.95 this season, but he would be my pick for the one sprinter to watch in this race. Brandon Penrod (Triad, Troy Ill) is another hot runner that could push and pass McNeeley in this 200.

Nick Schippel & James Jackson (Jacksonville, Ill) have come on strong the last couple of weeks and will do some damage in this event as well. Other runners to keep an eye on include Joseph Jones (Plano, Ill), Joey Giovannelli (Glenwood, Chatham Ill), Wesley Sanders (Glenbard South, Glen Ellyn Ill), Jonathan Boey (MacArthur, Decatur Ill), and Trey Story (Cahokia, Ill).

It will probably take 21.8 or better to win this class race.


Outlook: It will be Cahokia in this race. Need I say more? Unless something happens during the meet where their quartet cannot get to the line, this team will be the favorite. Their sectional time of 3:18.74 is the best in Class 2A by nearly three seconds.

Burlington Central, Galesburg, Hillcrest, and Lincoln-Way West could all challenge the Comanches in this race. But when you head into battle and you have all the generals, like Cahokia does, it will be hard to defeat this defending champion.

Cahokia left O’Brien Stadium last year at Eastern Illinois with the state championship and ambitions of repeating that in 2012. Flash forward one year and we have almost the same scenario. Cahokia comes into this meet as the favorite with fourteen qualifiers. They have quality and quantity within their numbers.

Here is a look at the teams that will contend for the 2A title this weekend in Charleston. They are listed by number of total qualifiers.

Glen Ellyn Glenbard South

Qualifiers: 12 Individuals, 3 Relays – 15 Total

Outlook: If there is any school that could take down Cahokia, it could be this school in the west suburbs of Chicago. What a way for Coach Andy Preuss, who is retiring after this meet, to go out. The Raiders have 15 qualifiers in 13 events. Most of the qualifiers have a chance to place on Saturday. Wesley Sanders will lead the way in qualifying in the sprints and also the 4x1 and 4x2 relays.

South has a strong distance squad led by Sophomores John Wold (800) and Joe Singleton (3200) that could score as well. Nick Boesso will be in the mix of scoring in the Shot and Discus. Elven Walker will be in contention for points in both hurdle races. It’s a deep team that can afford to make a few mistakes. But not that many to leave with another trophy. Last year it was third. They would like to go higher in 2012.


Qualifiers: 10 Individuals, 4 Relays – 14 Total

Outlook: It is going to be hard to refuse the Comanches a return trip to the top of the podium for the state championship trophy. Coach Leroy Millsap has 14 qualifiers ready for Friday. Their 4x4 & 4 x 8 relays have the fastest times in 2A this year. Chris Moore has the longest distance in the Triple Jump this year along with Darren Payton having the fastest time in the 800.

Also expect big points from Sophomore Marlin Brady in the 400 and also Gary Hickman in either of the hurdle races and the Long Jump. The one thing that Cahokia will need is their big guys getting to the finals on Saturday and no mistakes in the relays. If that happens, it will be tough for this team to be stopped.

New Lenox Providence Catholic

Qualifiers: 10 Individuals, 3 Relays – 13 Total

Outlook: Another team that could challenge Cahokia. They have the numbers that could match them, but will they advance to Saturday’s final? The Celtics dove have quality athletes that could score big points. Start with Andrew Helmin in the 300 Intermediate Hurdles. He has the fastest time in that event. Also Mike Monroe in the High Jump and Chad Weaver in the Pole Vault. Both of these athletes could score big on Saturday.

Troy Sheppard will need to have a big day in qualifying in both the 100 and 200. Providence will also be strong in both of the short relays. It could be a bonus if Kevin Ward makes the finals in the 400 or Jesse Long places high in the Shot Put. If they get their big guns to the finals on Saturday, it could make things very interesting for the team crown.


Qualifiers: 9 Individuals, 4 Relays – 13 Total

Outlook: The Bulldogs could make it interesting for the above 3 schools With 13 qualifiers, this is a team that could score big in the finals. Look for big points in the Shot Put with Derek Bunch and Luke Roush. Mahomet could also get points in the Pole Vault from Andrew Roney and Austin Armetta.

On the track, this team could score points in a number of ways. All four relays have good chances of making it to Saturday’s final. Jonathan Schaap and Lucas Prather could score in the 3200 along with Cale McCormick in the 800. Marshall Graham getting in the 100 would be a huge plus.

Decatur MacArthur

Qualifiers: 9 Individuals 9, 1 Relay – 10 Total

Outlook: Even though they lost at the Jacksonville Sectional, this squad could place in the top 3 in this meet. Michael Clevenger will be the favorite in both the 3200 and 1600 Meter Runs. Jonathan Boey will challenge in both 100 & 200 Meter Dashes. Carlos Harris could play a big factor in the Generals’ success if he scores in the Triple Jump.

A big plus could be Nathan Allyn and if he can score in the 800. Also watch for Aquintis Williams in the 400 Meter Dash. He could surprise and make the finals. With both making the finals could mean a good chance a trophy returns to Decatur.

Grayslake Central

Qualifiers: 7 Individuals, 3 Relays – 10 Total

Outlook: Not much room for mistakes for this team this weekend. The main points will come from the distance races and from two athletes , Will Brewster & Luke Zygmunt. Both will be doubling. The big question is how will the adverse heat that is forecast for Charleston will affect the 2. Brewster will be one of the favorites in the 3200 and then he will come back later in the day in the 1600. Zygmunt will be up towards the front in the 800 and will return in the 1600, the tougher of the two doubles.

The Rams could also score points in the Shot Put and the Discus from Joel Valdivia. They could get a big bonus if either the 4 x 1 or the 4 x 2 make the finals.


Qualifiers: 7 Individuals, 3 Relays – 10 Total

Outlook: The Redbirds could get away from Charleston with a top 3 finish. A few things need to occur to make the trophy happen. Charles Fenner will be one of the favorites in the Pole Vault. Also watch Fenner to score points in the 300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles.

Metamora could score points from Jacob Armbrust in the Discus and maybe also the Shot Put. Eric Inman could get some points in the High Jump as well as long as the 4 x 4 relay team scoring points.

Midlothian Bremen

Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 1 Relay – 7 Total

Outlook: A small number of qualifiers but could score some big points. Dion Starnes is the one that could possibly do that for the Braves. Starnes has the second longest mark in the Long Jump from the sectionals. He also will be in the mix in the 110 High Hurdles. He has the fifth fastest time in the 300 Intermediate Hurdles.

There is really no room for mistakes if this team wants to capture a trophy. Bremen has the second fastest time in 2A for the 4x1 relay and will need to place in the top 3. Demetrius Shelton will also need to score high in the 400 Meter Dash.


Qualifiers: 5 Individuals, 1 Relay – 6 Total

Outlook: Absolutely no room for mistakes. A small number of qualifiers but could score some big points in such low numbers. Reggie Bratton will be in the mix for the 100 Meter Dash. Nick Schippel has the fastest 2A time in the 200 and will be the favorite. Jacksonville’s 4 x 1 has the fastest sectional time and will be favored in that race also.

Devante Clark could surprise in the High Jump. Like I said, there is no room for mistakes for this team. No mistakes = a trophy heading back to Jacksonville.
Perhaps the most dominant distance runner in Class 1A in the last year has been Monticello’s Steve Schroeder. He won in the fall at Detweiller Park and dominated the IPTT Classic 3200 indoors. He is scheduled to run in the 3200 and the 1600. He could also run in the 4 x 8 relay for Monticello, at least in the prelims.

The weather will play a BIG factor in this state meet this weekend. Temperatures are forecast to climb near the triple digits making it tough to pull off a double, especially in the distances.

Here is a look at the individual events and what to keep an eye on:



Outlook: Michael Geary (Polo, Ill) has the longest jump in the sectional competition (22-5.5) but it will be a pair of jumpers that most spectators will keep an eye on. Kyle Landon (Chester, Ill) is one of the favorites in the High Jump and could pull off the double here. The junior jumped 22-9 in April at his county meet and is itching to go over 23-0. The one I would keep an eye on is Devin Johnson of Erie. He placed ninth last year at state and is looking to greatly improve on that. He currently has the longest jump in 1A (22-11) which he did at his conference meet two weeks ago.

Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill) jumped 22-4 in the same meet as Johnson and could be in the mix at state for this title in this event. Also watch for Tay Shanklin (Winnebago,Ill) and Myles Kettelson (Flora, Ill) to be in the mix for the top spot as well.


Outlook: This event could be the most wide-open of all the field events in this class. Heath Byom (Knoxville, Ill) got the longest performance in this event last week at the sectionals and will be the favorite heading to Charleston. He will get his chief competition from 3 jumpers. Alex Walter (Central, Camp Point Ill) had the second longest jump at sectionals. Juniors Nick Hundley (Momence, Ill) and Kyle Kleeman (Carlinville, Ill) will also challenge.


Outlook: Could we see a 7-0 jump in this event? If so, how many will go over. This could be one of the highlight events in the 1A competition. 3 of the top finishers from the 2011 meet return. Not much has been heard from last year’s champ Oumaru Abdulahi (Mooseheart, Ill). But we said the same thing last year and look what he did. Abdulahi is a tough competitor that rises to the occasion and the pressure of a big meet.

Kyle Landon (Chester, Ill) has cleared 6-11 this outdoor season and is looking for that 7-0 barrier on Saturday. He has the sectional best of 6-7. The second place finish of last year has been pushing him higher. It could happen on Saturday.

Bill Weissinger (Big Rock, Hinckley Ill) will be the other chief jumper in this event. He placed third last year and will push both Landon and Abdulahi. Others to watch include Daniel Welling (Monticello, Ill) and Kolten Postin (Central A&M, Moweaqua Ill).


Outlook: Mitch Mammoser (Newton, Ill) is the defending state champion and is a good bet to repeat that on Saturday. He has cleared 15-0 twice this season, with his best coming at the Shelbyville Open (15-6).

If Mammoser has an off day, there are several other vaulters that could surpass him. Sophomore Jack Denby (Carlinville, Ill) cleared 14-7 earlier in the year and could be his chief competition. Also watch for Dalton Plumer (Rushville-Industry, Rushville, Ill), Brandon Goode-Tolliver (Newton, Ill), Josh Blome (Westfield, Casey Ill), and Austin McCourt (Oregon Ill) to be in the mix for the top spot.


Outlook: This event could come down to any of 5 athletes that could win on Saturday. O’Shay Smith has the longest throw in 1A and the sectionals (58-3) and will be one of the weight men to watch. Senior Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manlius Ill) will be close having gone over 57 a number of times this year. Also watch for Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill), who was only 3 inches behind Smith’s sectional mark and could be peaking at the right time.

Other weight men to watch include Jake Mahin (Staunton, Ill), Brandon Williams (DuQuoin, Ill) and Gabe Manning (Williamsville, Ill).


Outlook: With Caleb Fricke (PORTA, Petersburg Ill) having moved into 2A for this season, there will be a new champion in this event. Just like the Shot Put, there will be five athletes that could seriously contest for the event title. Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manlius Ill) had the longest throw in sectional competition (160-3). Jake Mahin (Staunton, Ill) has the seasonal best (163-8). Another thrower that will be in the hunt for the title could be Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill), who has thrown 163-4 this year.

The big surprise in this event is Hakeem Chatman (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill). Not even in the discussion at the beginning of the year, this senior has emerged as one of the elite men in this event in this class throwing 161-0 at the end of April.

Also keep an eye on Cory Long (Paxton-Buckley-Loda, Paxton Ill), Dawson Hillis (Carrollton, Ill) and Alec Dutton (Catlin, Ill). All three of these athletes will be in the hunt for a top finish.



Outlook: Tolono Unity enters this competition with the sectional best time (8:14.00). They could not be the favorite. Niantic Sangamon Valley, led by Eric Leonard, will be the one team to watch out for if it comes down to the final leg. Sangamon Valley has run 8:07.05 this season. The fastest team in 1A is Macon Meridian, led by Brock Snarski (8:05.99).

Two teams that could win include Sparta and St. Joseph-Ogden. Zeke Elkins looks like he could be anchoring for the Spartans and with the quartet they have, St. Joe could score some big points. Sparta has a strong duo in Jon Hill and Wes Bradshaw that could push them towards the front.

Do not know if any teams can go under 8, but it could be close. Do not forget these other quartets that could make things interesting: Monticello, Heyworth, Oregon, and Ottawa Marquette.


Outlook: In the heat of Charleston that is expected this weekend, there could be some fast times in this event. Leo Catholic has the fastest time in 1A this year running 42.48 two weeks ago at Chicago Catholic League. They have a strong quartet led by Keith Harris Jr. and Theodore Hopkins. Peoria Christian could be in the mix with defending state 100 champ Jonathan Hutchison anchoring.

Lena Winslow is peaking at the right time and could be in the chase for the title. They will have a great anchor as well with Tevin Sellers. Also watch for Pleasant Plains, Momence, Newton, Madison, and Rockford Lutheran also to challenge.


Outlook: Steve Schroeder (Monticello, Ill) will enter this race as the big favorite in this event. The big key will how hot will it be and what kind of tactics will Schroeder use. Last year will definitely be in the back of Schroeder’s mind. Last year, he had a big lead entering the final lap and Westmont’s Henry Arndt caught him in the final meters. This is Schroeder’s race to lose. He will make sure that this title is his.

The one person that could push the pace is Jesse Hahne (Schlarman, Danville Ill). The junior pushed him at the IPTT Classic indoors before Schroeder pulled away in the last 800. The same happened last week at Monticello’s Sectional. He may be the one not to late the pace lag.

Others to watch in this race include Scott Woodard (Unity, Tolono Ill), Dan Plunkett (Pleasant Plains Ill), Nate Novota (Westmont, Ill), and Andrew Hanselman (Monticello, Ill).


Outlook: There has been one hurdler that was looked as the favorite most of the year, but on Saturday, it could be one of two Catholic League rivals that may steal the show. Colin Carver (Westfield, Casey Ill) finished fourth last year and has been under 15 in May. Carver has the second fastest time in the sectional competition (14.76).

Joe Morrow (Hales Franciscan, Chicago Ill) has been on fire the last two weeks. Last week, he sizzled a 14.40 at the Chicago Christian Sectional and could be in contention for the win. Marlon Britton (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) lost to Morrow at Chicago Christian last week, but barely defeated him two weeks ago at the CCL Meet and will be looking for the repeat on Saturday.

Other hurdlers to watch include George Wayda (Pleasant Plains, Ill), Jake Hooker (Timothy Christian, Elmhurst Ill), Noel Yarngo (Mooseheart, Ill), and Spencer Cooper (Prairie City, Bushnell Ill).


Outlook: Will this race be as tight in 2011 when Bruce Gray (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) and Jonathan Hutchison (Peoria Christian, Peoria Ill) finished in a dead heat for the title. Hutchison is back and does not want to share the championship on Saturday. Looking at the top times, it will be close again.

Keith Harris (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) enters this meet with the fastest sectional time (10.85). Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill), Tevin Sellers & Quinn Haas (Winslow, Lena Ill), Broc Smith (Tuscola, Ill) and Martel Hunter (Monmouth-Roseville, Monmouth Ill) will challenge. Also keep an eye on Theodore Hopkins (Leo Catholic, Chicago, Ill), Nick Rude (Newman Catholic, Sterling Ill), and Cameron Walter (Greenville Ill). They will be all in the hunt to win at O’Brien Stadium.


Outlook: Blake Hale (Robinson, Ill) dominated the indoor season with a win at the IPTT classic. He enters the state meet with the fastest sectional time (1:55.71). He will face some hot competition from Brock Snarski (Meridian, Macon Ill) and Eric Leonard (Sangamon Valley, Niantic Ill). Both faced each other two weeks ago at the Shelbyville Open, where Leonard won by less than half of a second (1:54.51).

Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) could be in the mix, depending if he runs on his team’s 4 x8. The heat could wear him down just a little if he is in that. Also watch for Adam Crutchley (Villa Grove, Ill), George Gunther (University, Urbana Ill), Nick Jones (Oregon, Ill), and Aaron Kennedy (North Boone, Poplar Grove Ill). It should be a fast race. Under 1:54 could win this race.


Outlook: Leo Catholic comes into the meet with the fastest time in the event (1:28.94) so far this season. This quartet looks like the big favorite.

Watch also for Newton, Chicago Hales Franciscan, Momence, Aurora Christian, Monmouth-Roseville, and Sterling Newman Catholic to contend.


Outlook: Sophomore Tim Doll (Westmont, Ill) has the 1A fastest time in the state after sectionals (49.96). It may go lower, especially with Dan Farmer (Johnston City, Ill) close behind. The senior was the best in this event indoors and he will look to be the best outdoors as well. Farmer’s fastest time so far this year is 50.08.

Watch also for Tevin Sellers (Winslow, Lena Ill), Tommy McCormick (Oregon, Ill), and Jonathan Harrell (Christian, Aurora Ill) to contend. Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) is entered in this event and will be doubling back in the 800. Will he have enough left on this tough double?


Outlook: This looks like it could be Colin Carver (Westfield, Casey Ill) in this race. Carver has the fastest time coming out of sectionals by almost a second over George Wayda (Pleasant Plains, Ill) and Noel Yarngo (Mooseheart, Ill).

Jake Hooker (Timothy Christian, Elmhurst Ill), Matt McCoy (Lewistown, Ill), and Alex Arteaga (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) will all be in the hunt for the championship.


Outlook: Could be the best of all the races in 1A on Saturday with two of the best distance runners in 1A. Steve Schroder (Monticello, Ill) two weeks ago at the Mahomet-Seymour Invitational ran a 4:15.48. Last week at the Seneca Sectional, Grant Nykaza (Beecher, Ill) ran the 1A sectionals best time of 4:17.36. Schroeder will be running earlier in the 3200. Nykaza will be running fresh. This could be a fast pace with maybe 4:14 or under winning it.

Also keep an eye on Adam Crutchley (Villa Grove, Ill), Cole Dill and Connor Ehnle (Tremont, Ill), Jesse Hahne (Schlarman, Danville Ill), and Matt Vermeersch (Pleasant Plains, Ill).


Outlook: Could be a fantastic final especially with the warm weather complimenting the sprinters. Keith Harris (Leo Catholic, Chicago Ill) has the fastest sectional time (22.22). Broc Smith (Tuscola, Ill) and Dontae Pryor (Kewanee, Ill) have both ran faster times during the season and will be with Harris in the finals.

This is a deep field. Also watch for Dan Farmer (Johnston City), Myles Ketelson (Flora), Jesse Cardenas (Princeville), Nick Rude (Newman Catholic, Sterling), and Jonathan Hutchison (Peoria Christian).


Outlook: Last race of the day…could decide the team title. The question will be who the hot team of the meet is because that could be your favorite. First 10 teams from sectionals are all within three seconds of each other with Aurora Christian having the fastest time (3:24.53). They do have the fastest time in 1A for the entire season.

Also keep an eye on Monmouth-Roseville, Lena-Winslow, St. Joseph-Ogden, Niantic Sangamon Valley, Williamsville, and Sparta.

At the beginning of the season, Leo Catholic HS in Chicago did not look like they had enough talent back to defend their 1A state championship that they won in 2011. But, as we look at the contending teams for the 1A crown, there are the Lions in good position to take home another trophy.

There are schools that think they have the talent to take the title away from Leo. Monticello, St. Joseph-Ogden, Peoria Christian, and Aurora Christian all have the talent that could walk away from O’Brien Stadium with the championship trophy in hand.

It will be a close team battle.

Here is a look of what to watch for from the individual teams that we think have a shot to challenge for the state championship. They are listed by number of total qualifiers.


Qualifiers: 9 Individual, 4 Relays – 13 Total

Outlook: The Sages enter the prelims in good shape to do some damage during the qualifying stages. Steve Schroeder, the 1A cross country champ, will do double duty where he will be the favorite in both the 3200 & 1600. You could also watch for him on Thursday possibly running in their 4 x 8 relay.

Monticello will depend on the distances to score points. Andrew Hanselman in the 3200 and Tim Easton in the 1600 could give much needed support to Schroeder. Also expect points in the 4 x8 and 4 x 4 relays. Watch for Sophomore Daniel Welling in the High Jump. The event is highly competitive. Welling could place in the top 5.

Pleasant Plains

Qualifiers: 9 Individual, 3 Relays – 12 Total

Outlook: It could be hit or miss for the Cardinals. They do have the quantity for the state meet, but a few of their athletes may need to step up to secure this team with a chance for a trophy. Most of the weight of this team will fall on multipurpose athlete George Wayda, who has qualified for 3 individual events. He will be one of the favorites in the 300 Intermediate hurdles and should place high in the High Hurdles.

The Cardinals could also get points in the distance races. Watch for Dan Plunkett in the 3200 and Matt Vermeersch in the 1600 to get some points in those events.

Leo Catholic

Qualifiers: 8 Individual, 3 Relays – 11 Total

Outlook: The Lions once again step up to the state meet as the favorite to defend their title, but will need a few things to happen. Leo will depend on two sprinters that they will have to rely on for points. Both Theodore Hopkins and Keith Harris Jr. are seeded high in both the 100 & 200 Meter Dashes. Both sprinters need to get through to the finals. They will also be a big part of the success in the 4 x 1 and 4 x 2 relays. Leo Catholic will be one of the favorites in both of these races.

The Lions will need to get points outside of these four events if they want to win. Expect a high place from Marlon Britton in the 110 High Hurdles and Hakeem Chatman in the Discus. If these two can place high, Leo could be heading back to Chicago with another state championship.

St. Joseph – Ogden

Qualifiers: 9 Individual, 2 Relays – 11 Total

Outlook: If this team is going to win a trophy at this meet, it will come down to the legs of Zeke Elkins. The senior is rated in the top 5 in the 800 Meter Run. He also will be coming back on short rest in the 400, where he has the fifth fastest sectional time. Weather will be very warm in Charleston this weekend and it will play a huge factor on him.

Elkins should also be a part of the 4 x 8 and 4 x 4 relays. Both will be in contention to win in this meet. Alex Arteaga could also score points in the 300 Intermediate Hurdles and the Pole Vault. The Spartans could also get some points from Dave Knipfer in the 1600.

Aurora Christian

Qualifiers: 8 Individual, 3 Relays – 11 Total

Outlook: The Eagles could sneak in to get a trophy in this new look 1A, but will need a few things go their way. Billy Howorth will be towards the top in a loaded Pole Vault competition. He will need to get some big points there. Also look for Jonathan Harrell in the 400 Meter Dash. The sophomore is ranked 6th after sectional performances and could grab a top 3 place in this event.

Also watch for Aurora Christian in the 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4 relays, especially the 4x4. The Eagles have the fastest seed time in that race. If it comes down to the final event, this would put Aurora Christian in great shape to catch a trophy.


Qualifiers: 9 Individual, 2 Relays – 11 Total

Outlook: The Indians do not have the fire power that they have had in recent years in the sprints. This school, however, could sneak into the top 3 at this meet. Tay Shanklin has been out for the portion of the year with an injury. He is healthy as evidenced by a 21-10 Long Jump at Sectionals. Winnebago will also be strong in the Pole Vault hoping to get points from either Alex Finley or Max Bradfield.

Michael Jack could also score points in the Discus. The Indians will need to get both of their qualifying relays, the 4 x 1 and 4 x 2, into the Saturday finals.


Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 4 Relays – 10 Total

Outlook: The Hawks could sweep in and land with a top 3 trophy. They will need plenty to happen. Oregon qualified all 4 of their relays to Charleston. All are ranked in the top 10. If they could get all into the finals, it would be a great start.

Tommy McCormick has the fourth fastest time in the 400 and will be a favorite in that event. Senior Nick Jones will be a part of some of those relays. He will also be in the open 800, where he could snare a couple of points. Austin McCourt and Mark Schmidt both qualified in the Pole Vault. Both are in position to score some big points.


Qualifiers: 7 Individuals, 2 Relays – 9 Total

Outlook: Not a lot has been heard from this small school in western Illinois. The Panthers could make some big noise this weekend in Charleston. There big points could come from sprinter Tevin Sellers. The junior came up big last week at the Winnebago Sectional where he won the 100 in 10.97, the third fastest sectional time in 1A. He will also be a part of the second fastest 4 x 1 sectional team that could win as well. Sellers also has the third fastest 400 Meter time. He could challenge for the win in that event.

The Panthers have only 1 field event qualifier. O’Shay Smith has the longest put in the Shot in 1A coming out of sectionals and will be heavily favored there. This team does not have much space for mistakes. If they are all on, they could upend Leo to capture the team title.


Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 3 Relays – 9 Total

Outlook: The Eagles are another one of those teams that could make things uncomfortable for Leo Catholic. Newton could score some big points in the Pole Vault. Mitch Mammoser will enter the event as the favorite. Teammate Brandon Toliver-Goode will also be in the mix for a high finish as well.

Newton traditionally places high in the relays that it is entered in. This year will be no exception. The 4 x 2 relay, led by Ridge Finn, has the 2nd fastest time in the sectionals and could win here as well. All 3 relays need to get to the finals for this team to have a shot at a trophy.


Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 1 Relay – 7 Total

Outlook: The Sentinels could sneak into the top 5 in this meet, but will have to be clicking in every event entered. Sophomore Tim Doll has the fastest time in the 400 and will be one of the favorites in that race. Nate Novotna could score points also in the 3200. He has the fifth fastest sectional time.

Manlius Bureau Valley

Qualifiers: 6 Individuals, 1 Relay – 7 Total

Outlook: With the weather supposed to be sizzling this weekend, this squad could suffer. Adam Weidner should place high in both the Shot Put and the Discus. Derrick Johnson is entered in all three distance events, but with the way the weather will be, he will probably be in two. He could score high in either of those.

Peoria Christian

Qualifiers: 4 Individuals, 1 Relay – 5 Total

Outlook: In a meet where a low point total could win, this team could sneak in for a trophy. Success for this team revolves around one individual: Jonathan Hutchison. The senior is the defending champion in the 100 Meter Dash. He will also be in the mix in the 200 Meter Dash and will anchor their 4 x 1 relay, which has the fastest sectional time. They need three wins and they could bring a trophy back to Peoria.

IL Boys Track - 1A Sectional Recap

May, 21, 2012
Here is a brief look at the action of each of the sectionals in Class 1A that happened last Thursday and Friday. To those athletes that made it to Charleston for the State Track & Field Meet, congratulations. To those that did not, congratulations on a season that you competed to the best of your abilities.

~~ Chester Sectional – May 17 ~~

Sparta qualified 12 for the state prelims by winning the Chester Sectional Thursday night. Sharvel Austin led his team with a double win in the 100 (11.48) and the 200 (23.37).

There were two other athletes that were double winners at this meet. Jason Bliven (Trenton-Wesclin, Wesclin Ill) won both hurdles races (110 HH – 15.87, 300 IH 40.50) and Brandon Williams (Duquoin, Ill) won both the Shot (54-2) and the Discus (142-10).

Kyle Landon (Chester, Ill) who placed second last year in the High Jump, proved he was up to this year’s challenge by winning the event clearing 6-7.

~~ Chicago University Sectional – May 17 ~~

Defending 1A team champion won the sectional championship by 36 points over Westmont. The Lions qualified 11 for the state meet led by 1-2 finishes in both the 100 & 200 by Keith Harris Jr. and Theodore Hopkins. Harris had great times in his double win recording 10.85 / 22.22.

Britt Henderson (The Latin School, Chicago, Ill) won both the 800 (1:58.99) and the 1600 (4:32.64).

Sophomore Tim Doll (Westmont, Ill) showed he may challenge for the 400 Meter championship with a 49.96 win.

~~ Moweaqua Sectional – May 17 ~~

We could some future state champions coming out of this sectional. Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove, Ill) won both the Shot (57-0.25) and the Discus (159-7). Colin Carver (Westfield HS, Casey, Ill) won both the 1110 HH (14.76) and the 300 IH (38.93). Broc Smith (Tuscola, Ill) won both the 100 (11.06) and the 200 (22.39) and was part of Tuscola’s winning 4x1 (43.95) and 4x2 (1:32.29) relays. Tuscola qualified 7 in winning the sectional by 31 points over Shelbyville.

Perhaps the best race of the evening was the 800 Meter Run where Brock Snarski (Meridian, Macon Ill) held off Adam Crutchley (Villa Grove, Ill) to run 1:56.16 for the win. Crutchley came back to win the 1600 (4:32.25).

~~ Staunton Sectional – May 17 ~~

Litchfield qualified 5 in winning this sectional with 80 points, 19 better than second place Greenville.

Jake Mahin (Staunton, Ill) conquered both the weight events winning the Shot (56-4) and the Discus (158-1). Cameron Walter (Greenville, Ill) was the only other double winner taking first in both the 100 (11.06) and 200 (22.75).

~~ Erie Sectional - May 18 ~~

This could have been the most exciting end of all the 1A sectionals. Coming into the 4x4 relay, only three points separated the first three teams. Eureka, in third entering the relay, won the race (3:26.94) over Sterling Newman thus winning the sectional. In winning, Eureka qualified 7 to Charleston.

There were three double winners in this meet and one athlete that won three.

Adam Weidner (Bureau Valley, Manlius Ill) won the Shot (56-5.5) and the Discus (160-3). His teammate Derrick Johnson controlled the distances with a triple win in the 3200 (10:06.16), 800 (2:02.15), and the 1600 (4:36.26)

Sprinter Nick Rude (Newman Catholic, Sterling Ill) won the 100 (10.99) and the 200 (22.45) and also a part of Newman’s winning 4x2 relay win (1:30.98). Devin Johnson (Erie Ill) won the Long Jump (22-0.5) and the 400 Meter Dash (51.20).

~~ Lawrenceville Sectional – May 18 ~~

Newton High School won 5 events and will send 10 to the state meet after winning the sectional in Lawrenceville with 127 points. Wins came in 3 relays (4x1 – 43.38, 4x2 – 1:30.05, 4x4 – 3:28.70) and from Mitch Mammoser in the Pole Vault (14-0) and Dylan Davidson in the Triple Jump (41-2.25).

Myles Ketelson (Flora Ill) was the big winner of the evening. The senior won the Long Jump (21-10.75) and both sprints (100 – 11.13, 200 – 22.33).

Blake Hale (Robinson, Ill) proved that he will be one of the favorites in the 800 Meter Run. He ran 1:55.71 for a convincing eight second win. Hale also anchored Robinson’s winning 4 x 8 relay (8:23.27).

~~ Lewistown Sectional – May 18 ~~

Pleasant Plains qualified 11 to the state meet on Thursday in winning this sectional scoring an astounding 137 points. George Wayda led the way with a double win in the 110 HH (15.37) and the 300 IH (40.02).

Defending 100 Meter 1A champion Jonathan Hutchison (Peoria Christian, Peoria Ill) won both the 100 (10.9), and the 200 (22.52) along with anchoring his school’s 4x1 relay (42.87).

~~ Monticello Sectional – May 18 ~~

The most competitive of all of the1A sectionals. Host Monticello captured the sectional crown scoring 132 points, 27 better than St. Joseph-Ogden. Both schools will be in the hunt for a state trophy. Monticello advanced 13 to Charleston while St. Joseph-Ogden will bring 11 to EIU. Seven runners advanced from this race.

State 1A cross country champion Steve Schroeder (Monticello, Ill) had two close battles with Jesse Hahne (Schlarman, Danville Ill) in the 3200 & 1600. Schroeder won the 3200 by four seconds over Hahne (9:31.01 – 9:35.73), then came back in the 1600 to win by less than a second (4:26.38 – 4:27.16).

Zeke Elkins (St. Joseph-Ogden, St. Joseph Ill) had impressive wins in a tough double. In a very competitive 800, Elkins won by two tenths over Eric Leonard (Sangamon Valley, Niantic Ill). He came back 30 minutes later to win the 400 (50.55).

~~ Paxton-Buckley-Loda Sectional – May 18 ~~

Host Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Downs Tri Valley tied for the sectional crown scoring 84 points each.

Ben Bakaitis (Lexington, Ill) was the only individual double winner. Bakaitis won the 110 HH (16.18) and the 300 IH (41.96).

~~ Rushville Sectional – May 18 ~~

Pittsfield qualified eight to the state meet and held back host Rushville to win the sectional title by six points.

The only individual double winner was Alex Walter (Central, Camp Point Ill) winning the Triple Jump (43-5) and the 300 IH (41.28).

~~ Seneca Sectional – May 18 ~~

Aurora Christian stamped itself as one of the team favorites by qualifying 11 in winning the sectional. They had 5 individual wins led by Bill Howorth in the Pole Vault (13-6), Jonah Walker in the Shot Put (47-8), C.J. Schutt in the Discus (146-2), Jake Gehman in the 800 (2:01.27), and Johnathan Harrell in the 400 (50.58).

Defending High Jump 1A champion Oumaru Abdulahi (Mooseheart, Ill) won that event with a 6-3 clearance. He also won the Long Jump (21-6.5).

Grant Nykaza (Beecher, Ill) showed he is fit and ready to challenge Steve Schroeder in the 1600. In his first race in almost a month, the Beecher junior sizzled off a 4:17.36 to win that race by almost sixteen seconds.

~~ West Frankfort Sectional – May 18 ~~

Carterville won the sectional by over 50 points over host West Frankfort while qualifying 11 to Charleston.

Daniel Farmer (Johnston City, Ill), who was the indoor state winner in the 200 and 400, showed that he is in peak condition by winning all three sprint races (100- 11.41, 200 – 22.40, 400 – 50.08).

~~ Winnebago Sectional – May 18 ~~

Winnebago was a rude host in winning their sectional by nine points over Lena-Winslow. The hosts advanced 11 to the state meet in Charleston.

Tevin Sellers was a double winner for Lena-Winslow. He won the 100 (10.97) and the 400 (50.14).

IL Boys Track - 2A Sectional Recap

May, 21, 2012
11 sectionals determined who would be competing in the state meet beginning Friday in Charleston. Here is a look at what happened last Thursday and Friday.

~~ Chicago Marshall Sectional – May 17 ~~

Jamal McNeely (Kelvyn Park, Chicago Ill) could be one of the athletes favored in the sprints after a strong performance at this sectional. The junior looked tough winning barely over teammate Brian Carter in the 100 (10.82-10.83) and a win in the 200 (22.34 – 22.68). The duo was part of the 4x2 relay that won (1:31.12) and also the 4x1 where they placed second to De La Salle (43.45).

Jamison Dale (Jones College Prep, Chicago Ill) was the only other double winner, winning the 3200 (9:33.64) and the 1600 (4:31.53).

De La Salle won the team sectional title qualifying 9 to the state competition.

~~ Mahomet-Seymour Sectional – May 17 ~~

The host Bulldogs qualified 12 to Charleston winning the sectional doubling the score on second place Mattoon. Mahomet had four individual winners with Andrew Roney in the Pole Vault (15-3), Derek Bunch in the Shot Put (55-8), Marshall Graham in the 100 (11.04), and Cale McCormick in the 800 (1:57.38). They also won the 4x8 (8:21.48) and the 4x4 (3:26.86) relays.

Riley McInerney (Charleston, Ill) will not have to travel far after qualifying for two events at state. He had a convincing double winning the 3200 (9:24.69) and the 1600 (4:22.88).

Luke Vaughn (Centennial, Champaign Ill) will be one of the favorites at state in the Discus after winning in this sectional (184-7).

~~ Lincoln-Way West Sectional – May 17 ~~

Providence Catholic will be one of the schools to challenge defending team champions Cahokia by advancing 13 to Charleston in winning this sectional. The Celtics were led by a double win by Troy Sheppard in the 100 (11.05) and the 200 (22.49), and individual wins by Chad Weaver in the Pole Vault (15-0), Mike Monroe in the High Jump (6-7), Jesse Long in the Shot (52-6), and Andrew Helmin in the 300 IH (38.36).

Dion Starnes (Bremen, Midlothian Ill) was the meet’s only other individual double winner. Starnes won the Long Jump (22-7) and the 110 HH (14.74) He was also a part of the Braves’ winning 4x1 (42.37) over Hillcrest (42.44). Hillcrest came back to run a 1:28.08 for a dominating win in the 4 x 2.

~~ Rochelle Sectional – May 17 ~~

Kaneland qualified 11 to this Friday’s state meet in winning this sectional by 31 points over Burlington Central. The Knights did this with wins by Dylan Nauert in the 300 IH (40.18), Sean Carter in the 200 (22.67) and relay wins in the 4x1 (43.30) and the 200 (1:29.80).

Scott Goad (Dixon, Ill) qualified for three events last Thursday. He won the 400 (49.86) and qualified in the Long Jump and the High Jump.

~~ Chicago Robeson Sectional – May 18 ~~

St. Rita had a convincing win in this sectional scoring 148 points. The Mustangs qualified 10 for the state meet.

Cody Leach led St. Rita with a double win in the Long Jump (21-9) and the Triple Jump (44-1). Pete Schaible also had a double win in the 3200 (10:45.04) and the 1600 (4:51.28).

~~ Dunlap Sectional – May 18 ~~

Metamora qualified 10 in winning this high powered sectional in Dunlap. Charles Fenner led the Redbirds winning the Pole Vault (15-3).

Tyler Morse (Limestone, Bartonville Ill) was the only individual double winner of the night winning the 3200 (9:35.28) and the 1600 (4:28.26).

Caleb Fricke (PORTA, Petersburg Ill) unleashed the longest performance in any class in Illinois in the Discus. His throw of 195-0 won the event and is currently ranked #10 in the United States. Joshua Augusta (Peoria, Ill) will be the favorite in the state Shot winning that event last Friday (58-1).

Grant Inskeep (Notre Dame, Peoria Ill) won an exciting 800 holding off Darius Thomas (Macomb, Ill) by two tenths of a second (1:55.23 – 1:55.43).

~~ Jacksonville Sectional – May 18 ~~

Springfield Southeast surprised pre-meet favorite Decatur MacArthur by winning this sectional by one point. The Spartans qualified 7 to this Friday’s state prelims. Southeast had two individual winners with Tra Mond Lewis winning the 110 HH (15.58) and Jamal Sims in the 300 IH (40.56).

MacArthur is still considered a contender for a state trophy after qualifying nine to Charleston.

Defending 3200 champ and two time cross country champ Michael Clevenger (MacArthur, Decatur Ill) tuned up for this weekend’s state meet with easy wins in the 3200 (9:18.67) and the 1600 (4:17.35).

Jacksonville is developing a great sprint squad after this sectional performance. The Crimsons got wins in from Reggie Bratton in the 100 (10.89), Nick Schippel in the 200 (21.86), and the fastest sectional 2A time in the 4x1 (41.91).

~~ Lisle Sectional – May 18 ~~

Glenbard South dominated this sectional by qualifying 16 and winning by over 100 points over Walther Lutheran. The Raiders could leave Charleston with a trophy for retiring head coach Andy Preuss.

How dominating was their win? They won all but two races on the track (400 – Matt Ruff, Wheaton Academy , 4 x 4 – Benet Academy).

There were two double individual winners, both from Glenbard South. Wesley Sanders won the 100 (10.81) and 200 (22.36) and Elven Walker won the 110 HH (14.70) and the 300 IH (38.72).

~~ Mascoutah Sectional – May 18 ~~

Defending 2A champion Cahokia flexed its muscles qualifying 14 in winning this sectional. The Comanches won all 4 relays and had individual wins from Darren Payton in the 800 (1:55.04) and a double win from Chris Moore in the Long Jump (22-2.5) and the Triple Jump (47-8).

Brandon Penrod (Triad, Troy Ill) was a three event winner in the sprints. He won the 100 (11.01) and the 200 (22.14). In the 400 in what could be a preview of the state final, Penrod just nipped Marlin Brady (Cahokia, Ill) 48.11 – 48.25. Those times are the top 2 times in the state in any class.

~~ Ottawa Sectional – May 18 ~~

Joseph Jones (Plano, Ill) is transitioning well to the move his school made to 2A. Last year’s 1A 110HH champion won the sectional short hurdles race with the second fastest time in the state (14.07). Five minutes later, he was back in the blocks for the 100 Meter Dash, which he won in 10.83. He came back later in the evening to win the 200 (22.14).

Rock Island Alleman won the sectional title by two points over Pontiac. The Pioneers got a double individual win from Scott Schib in the Shot (53-8) and the Discus (166-5), and individual wins from Kylee Dorsey in the High Jump (6-3) and Ethan Adlfinger in the 3200 (9:44.58).

Aurora Central Catholic dominated the relays winning all four : 4x1 (43.87), 4x2 (1:31.65), 4x4 (3:27.97), and the 4x8 (8:10.48).

~~ Richmond-Burton Sectional – May 18 ~~

Grayslake Central could be in position to get a state trophy after winning the sectional with 123 points and advancing 9 to this Friday’s prelims.

The Rams had two double winners in Joel Valdivia in the Shot (55-2.5) and the Discus (144-7), and Will Brewster in the 3200 (9:35.54) and the 1600 (4:20.48). Central also received individual wins from Davonta Jennings in the 100 (11.20) and Luke Zygmunt in the 800 (1:56.73).

Jon Walsh (North, Woodstock Ill) qualified in three field events. He won the Pole Vault (15-3) and the High Jump (6-1) and qualified in the Triple Jump.