University Of Kentucky Invitational Preview: Illinois Boys Squadron Is Small But Strong

Marcellus Moore (in orange) rolled out at the University of Arkansas 60m final last month (Clay Howerton photo)

Schedule and acceptance list

Key athletes: Marcellus Moore (Fr., Plainfield North), Ronald Reed (Jr., Decatur MacArthur), Bret Dannis (Jr., St. Bede), Wyatt McIntyre (Jr., Athens), Kolby Mayfield (Sr., Danville), Jaiden Nelson (Sr., Danville)

The track moment of truth for the very small Illinois contingent is going to be decided right away with the 60HH prelims. Bret Dannis comes in ranked #1 in Illinois and 11th in the United States prep ranks. 8.03 is fast and if Dannis can handle the pressure of his first big time national level race, he should be in the final. To do so he will have to fight the likes of Kentre Patterson (Jr., E. Lansing MI) and Isaiah McCall (Sr., Bryan Station KY). Patterson comes in at US #5 running 7.88 under the guise of Michigan club meets. This will be his first trip outside of the Wolverine state. McCall recently won the Indiana Track Club 60HH in 8.01. His mark puts him just ahead of Dannis and it will be an interesting final come Saturday.

Marcellus Moore will be back in action as he is entered in two events: 60m and 200m. He is already a seasoned veteran of the 2017 indoor season competing in the ultra competitive Texas A&M University and University of Arkansas HS Invite. Moore made his mark in the 60 at Arkansas placing 3rd (6.97) amongst a fleet of national level monsters. What will UK be like for Illinois' top ranked Moore? He will draw US #8 Khance Meyers from East Kentwood, MI. Meyers has blazed 6.84 and will be the one to watch overall. The top seed junior Eric Allen from Bullis, MD has run 6.39 for 55m. Allen ran 6.84 last year at UK in the prelims. However, he is still seething from a 7th place finish. Another Illinois competitor entered in the field is Ron Reed (Jr., Decatur MacArthur). He was undercover during last year's track season until the summer. His 11.07 Century dash was solid and the 7.09 this season is the 6th fastest time in Illinois. Moore will jump into the 200 later in the meet where he is best. His 22.13 ranks as the #3 freshmen mark in the country. The #2 ranked frosh speedster is Ashton Allen from Bullis, MD. He will be Kentucky to duel against his older counterparts as well. Top seeded Brian Herron is a sophomore from Dekalb, GA. He has the 3rd fastest time this indoor season with a scorching 21.22.

Wyatt McIntyre will be the lone Illinois wolf among the 30 runner field in the 2 mile. McIntyre is coming off of a great cross country season in which he placed 2nd in 1A classification. McIntyre has a personal best of 9:40 in the 3200m. However, he has never run in an indoor meet before. Regardless, he should come out with a personal best. Top seed Titus Winders (Jr., Henry County, TN) ran 9:22 last weekend at Vanderbilt University.

This could be a big season for Kolby Mayfield in the shot put. He advanced to state with a personal best 52-4. The key will be getting off to a solid start and continue building on throughout the season.