New Balance Outdoor Nationals Meet Program Preview

2016 national champion Jelena Rowe (Sr., Chicago Heights Bloom) reacts to a "surprise" victory

The featured athlete here is Jelena Rowe better known as "Jelena 6.0." because of her record breaking season and exploits indoors and outside clearing the 6-foot high jump barrier numerous times. Her personal best 6-1 has a great opportunity fall. Stay tuned. 

Imani: Unless something changes for national elite talent Imani Carothers (Jr., Chicago Brooks), she will be running the Emerging Elite 100HH and just the long jump. There is no triple jump for the state's all-time all conditions triple jump leader. It is plausible that Carothers wants to make sure she does not overwhelm herself with a ton of high pressure events. Be as it may she should be the overwhelming favorite in the short hurdles. Her 13.72 best is US #1 among entrants. 

400: The 3A 400 runner up Kylie Welch (Sr., Bloomington) has her work cut out for her in the championship section. Before Welch heads off to the University of Iowa in the fall, she would like to drop a new personal best and possibly overtake the state leader Mariya Hudson's 53.98. 

Distance: Grace McLaughlin (Jr., Rockford Boylan) makes her national track debut in an attempt to impress those will be watching closely like media pundits and college coaches. McLaughlin is entered in the two-mile and 5k. It's a tough double but she is well capable of completing it and possibly earning All-American honors. 

Three vaulters led by Aliyah Welter of Monticello and her 13-1 has an opportunity to be an All-American. Lauren Seaver (Normal U High) and Josie Held (Mt. Zion) is also entered into the field.


Clayton Mendez (Jr., Chicago Whitney Young)- Mendez has had one of the best turnaround seasons of any athlete in the country. Consider that he placed 76th in the 3A state cross country championship. That along with several other issues dropped Mendez to his lowest mental and physical well-being. Fortunately, Mendez was able to regroup over the long winter training block and put up some amazing marks. The first stamp was a US #5 3200m indoors at Proviso West where he blazed a top field in 9:01.89. Outdoors Mendez clocked an IL#2 8:59.46. He would eventually finished 3rd in the state meet. 

Zach Bradford (Jr., Bloomington) has literally vaulted himself into one of the premier vaulters in the country. The indoors All-American is now poised to be an outdoor one as well. Bradford set an IL all-time best 17-4 at the state meet last month. Bradford is ready to scale big heights this weekend in Carolina.

Can Glenbrook North improve their state finish and go for broke in North Carolina like previous great state teams? North finished 4th with a solid time of 7:47.26. With just one race and in the high stakes championship race, we all could see a monster time under 7:44. 

Bloom Township has entered their 4x400 into the meet but will be shorthand a leg, but still should be able to go 3:17. Initially the goal was to dip under 3:15.

Super thrower John Meyer (Sr., Lockport) will put his 67-2 to the test this weekend. He could win it all.