Wyatt McIntyre just edges Andrew O'Keefe out for the 1600 title last week at U of Illinois
Distance running has always been a big piece of championship racing in Illinois and it will do so at the 2017 Illinois Top Times. At the recent Champaign Centennial ABC Invitational, Logan Hall (Jr., Arthur) said that after setting a big 12 second personal best in the 3200m, "I will have to rethink it.... maybe run close to 9:10... I think Jon Davis [Oakwood] ran 9:05 as a junior." Obviously Class A does not have the depth or talent of distance runners of say Class 3A, but it is refreshing to know kids of all classifications have the same "bulldog mentality" in terms of running FAST.
The fans are going to get a treat when Wyatt McIntyre (Jr., Athens) and Hall lock jaws on the track in the 3200. McIntyre indicated that he merely "jogged" 9:40 last weekend at U of I after going 4:43 for the first mile before taking his foot completely off the gas when the victory was well in hand. The 9:21.70 that Hall dropped is Class A #1. The 9:08.26 that Davis ran was an inspired effort which ultimately landed him a spot in the Arcadia, California Invitational 3200m field. Davis' record appears safe but a new class leader time should fall.
Riley Wells (So., Rockford Christian) may be the next star for the Royal Lions. As a freshman he ran in the 3200m here. This season he has changed tunes experimenting with the 800m. His 1:59.17 is a school record/classification best/ranked in the top 20 overall. The overall field of 12 is solid ranging after Wells 2:01-2:05. There is only section and that means we should expect a fast race from the front runners. So expect the pace to go out fast to avoid traffic issues. Tyler Pasley (Sr., Shelbyville) and Jason Landon (Jr., Carlinville) will lead the chase pack.
Chris Ahlers (Sr., Sterling Newman Central Catholic) has the top seed in the 1600m despite running a very limited schedule. His seed mark 4:26.60 is just ahead of Wyatt McIntyre's 4:26.88. It should be a good one with the chance of someone cracking 4:20. Ahlers placed 3rd a year ago ahead of McIntyre's 10th place. Justin Phillips (Sr., St. Joe Ogden) is another key figure to factor in here and could steal the race.