It was a gorgeous day at St. Ignatius High School in downtown Chicago. With the temperature just right in the lower 70s and the massive city skyline as a back drop, nothing could have been better.
The under card races took place first and the times produced led to a belief the main event (s) would be something to see.
First off was the coaches race featuring Palatine girls track and cross country Joe Parks. Parks was an accomplished runner at Southern Illinois University in the 1990s. Unlike many of his brethren, Parks has been able to stay incredibly fit and well ahead of the curve at the age of 39. For the 24th straight year he has broken 4:30. Coach Park's feat is especially tough because it is almost like a Joe Dimaggio hitting streak. Parks got out well and hit the bell in great shape. His overall time of 4:24.94 would have placed respectively in all of the elite races.
The Torpy twins on the move at Magis Miles
If this meet were to forecast something for the future, then you better watch out for Jacob Kluckholm. He is a recent 8th grade graduate from Hubble Middle School In Warrenville. Kluckholm is the son of coaching parents. His mother Kari Netherly-Kluckholm is the Head Women's Track & Field Coach at North Central College. Aside from the pedigree he inherited the young man is built like a young man and good. He ran in control the entire way despite having company on his back. The end result was a 4:43.52 win. Look out high schoolers in two years when he climbs to the top of food chain for Wheaton-Warrenville South.
Jorge Corona won the middle-school mile last year. This time the Palatine freshman made it 2 for 2 in capturing the freshman boys race in 4:35.02. Corona displayed great finishing speed over the first 150 to hold off Marist's Eddie Slack who would not relent.
The first under card elite race featured Dan Palmer (Jr., Lyons Twp.). Palmer was a bit under the weather coming into the meet but he decided to give it a go anyway. The reward was a personal best 4:25.45 over his teammate Matt Begeman (Sr.) who clocked 4:29.97. Palmer is expected to be a part of another great Lyons team this fall. The Lions placed second in last year's 3A state meet and finished 8th in the nation at NXN.
In the penultimate race, Connor Madell (Sr., Lyons Twp.) closed out a solid high school career with a personal best 4:13.52. Dylan Jacobs (So., Sandburg) led early before fading and that's when Madell took over. The U of Illinois bound distance standout ran away from the pack for the sizable victory over his teammate Danny Kilrea who clocked 4:16.15.
The main event featured the Torpy twins Sean and Chris. The pace setter would be former York standout Matt Plowman who now runs for the University of Michigan. The pace went out just right in 60-61 seconds for 440y. Things stayed consistent through the half in 2:01 and change. Plowman stepped off the track and Division III 1500m champion Jake Campbell of St. Olaf College took over. Campbell would not let the high school duo get a step on him. Instead he put a charge into the pace and motored away. The gun lap was 3:03 and he was in the clear. The Torpys' were in full flight as well and if they could hold on they would run great times. Campbell crossed in a meet record 4:02.05. Sean Torpy came home strong in 4th and the first high school runner in 4:05.10. His twin was next in 4:07.13. The crowd was buzzing and Sean's time would over take Jon Davis (Oakwood) and effort from the night before in St. Louis. Sean also crossed the in personal best effort to the tune of 4:07.13. Sean took over the #1 spot at both check ins. He will next meet up with Davis in Seattle at the Brooks PR meet in two weeks.
Kelly O'Brien (#6) is closing in on Emily Grapinski near the finish line
The first key race was a solid one in which York freshman Sarah May used her good 800m speed inside the final lap to beat Madison Romig (Sr., Grant) 5:01.35-5:04.87. May broke 5:00 through the regular season running 1600m with a 4:59.63. May indicated that she has big plans for 2017 and it will begin this fall.
The main race of the day would feature pre-race starlet and reigning girls 3A state 1600m state champion Kelly O'Brien of Palatine competing in the Elite Women's race. The Northwestern University bound O'Brien made amends from a year ago when things did not go quite her way. Things have went O'Brien's way in 2016. Illinois has not seen a range as deep as O'Brien's who could have competed for a state championship in the 3200m or cross country. It is especially sweet redemption after finishing dead last in the cross country state meet. Neither O'Brien or her camp issued an excuse. They went back in the lab and got to work. This race itself unfolded with pacer Hope Schmelzle of Northern Illinois University (former Wheaton-Warrenville South 4x8 record holder fame). The pace went 72 and 2:25y. It was then that Schmelzle and a fleet of collegiate runners stayed intact. O'Brien was running great in the middle of the pack and not falling victim to the torrid pace on the gun lap. Schmelzle would win in 4:43.96. But all eyes would be on the high schooler O'Brien who had all of the talent in the world. She sped home in a whooping 4:48.01 (4:46.30- 1600m). The impressive time would be US #7 for the mile and US #15 for the metric equivalent. It is also reportedly the third fastest 1600m in IL history. McKenzie Altmayer (Sr., Geneva) set a school record and IL #3 converted 4:53.18.