Jaimie Robinson positioned herself well in an epic triple jump battle against a deep fieldriple jump battle
If you had the pleasure of attending the New Balance Indoor Nationals you would easily recognize Sunday as the "championship" day. It is a day that is highlighted with an extra shot of expresso if you will. Everything kicks off with a blend of speed and distance races in a form of lead up or penultimate appetizers for the championship final sections (all sections ran but the final). Then there is a pause for the opening ceremonies that takes 10 minutes. This is what makes track and field exciting to watch on the big stage.
Jaimie Robinson made her second trip to New York City a memorable one. As one of the nation's top triple jumpers , the U of Alabama bound senior from Homewood-Flossmoor, was right at home against some of the best competition in the history of the game. Robinson is battled tested after collecting a bevy of national accolades within the past two seasons including a fourth place medal her last year. Coming into the final there were three girls whose season bests was over 42-feet including the top three. Jasmine Moore (Texas), Tara Davis (California), and Titiana Marsh (Virginia) were the key targets. There was no mention of Robinson by the pundits despite her US #8 status coming in. It did not matter. Robinson went right to work hitting on her first attempt with a 40-7 effort. The meat grinding field would not let up as the top 8 girls toppled over 40-feet. Marsh, who was the previous sophomore record holder, took fourth with a 41-7.75 leap. The new sophomore record is held by Moore who twice broke the old mark with a winning 42-6.75. Davis, who was still glistening from her outstanding 60HH performance, copped second with a 42-3.25. Robinson escaped with an indoor personal best and all-time best for an Illinois girl with a touching 41-8.5.
Danny Kilrea made the most of his opportunity in the championship section (Kyle Brazeil photo)
The 2-mile standard was set in the morning session by Thomas Fafard of Quebec, Canada with a solid 9:11.83. It meant that anyone who wanted to be an All-American could not coast. As for Danny Kilrea (Jr., Lyons Twp.) he was slated to participate in that session. He had a lapse in time management and missed his race. Fortunately, he was able to be reinstated and run in the championship section for the afternoon. Kilrea did not let down the meet management. The lead pack went to work right away with a fast first mile in 4:21. Kilrea ran with the second pack most of the race before breaking late and finishing 7th overall in a personal best 9:07.25. He crossed the 3200m line in 9:03.xx which means he is ready to challenge the likes of Clayton Mendez (Jr., Chicago Whitney Young) who crushed him several weeks ago. Look for Kilrea to step up his game at the famous Arcadia Invitational next month. It should be mentioned that Kilrea's partner in crime teammate senior Vince Zona placed second overall in the emerging elite mile. Zona ran an indoor personal best and IL #1 converted 4:17.34.
Perhaps the big deal of the day was Marcellus Moore competing in his third day in a row. The super freshman from Plainfield North made it to Sunday's 60m semi-final against the nation's best. He did not disappoint when he earn the final berth to the final in 6.93. Moore would eventually place 9th in the final with a solid 6.92. Although tired from the long trip and competition, Moore has to be satisfied with his newfound status. He was the first Illinois boy to make a national sprint final.
Rounding up the final remaining statewide kids was KD Young (Sr., Warrensburg) in the weight. She placed 11th in an emerging event for her. David Oluyadi (Sr., Chicago Lane Tech) fouled on all three of his triple jumps. Though Oluyadi has mired in a month long slump he was still able to take something positive out of the big time competition. He knows moving forward that he that the sharks are here and he must step up and be ready.... two Illinois girls placed 15th in the championship pole vault. Josie Held (Jr., Mt. Zion) and Lauren Seaver (Jr., Normal University) cleared 12-2.5.