This is Katelyn Hutchison from MileSplit Illinois getting ready to give you a recap on this years USATF summer track and field series.
I find it more exciting to start highlights from the association meet to the national meet. After all, who likes the start stories from the end. You have to see where the characters come from first.
Let's start with the Illinois USATF Association meet. This meet was jam packed with talent from athletes all across the state. From teams of 6 to teams of 40 everyone wanted the chance to show that they had what it takes to advance to the Region 7 meet. But like every qualifying meet, only a handful got to show those talents at the next round.
In this handful of athletes we had a few new faces pop up. Jonathan Muller of Paxton Buckley jumped his way into the Region 7 meet with a 22ft 9in long jump, sending a message to Indiana competitors that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Along with new faces we had a couple of old faces race their way to the top of the state meet. Nya Carr of TNT track club took down a flying field of 17-18 200m meter runners to make her way to regionals along with a great deal of her other teammates.
While that chapter of the summer closed. A new began to open. Teams had two weeks off to prepare for the Region 7 championship. Illinois and Indiana went head to head to see which state would have their girl or boy qualify for nationals. While this was going on, the story was only getting more exciting.
John Meyer throwing unattached, threw 58ft 3in in the shot put to represent Illinois at nationals. But Illinois didn't take it all. Indiana showed out as they had Semira Killebrew of Indiana Storm take the track by storm as she ran an 11.73 in the girls 15-16 100m dash. Not only did she show some magic but another Indiana athlete of Fort Wayne, Caitlyn Pentecost, finished the 15-16 division girls heptathlon with 3931 to seal her victory. We see you too Indiana boys, don't think we forgot about you. Jalen Royal of Indiana Blast most definitely blasted his way to the finish line in the boys 17-18 400m dash. He was the only male in this age division and event to run sub 49 seconds to qualify for nationals. Colton Shail, also of Indiana ran unattached in the 1500m qualifying with 4:20.78.
On that day another chapter closed. Many people said farewell to track that day. For a lot of people, the season was over. But their books would be reopened next track season. Until then a lot of them said. Although it was over, there were still athletes with a chapter to finish. 6 weeks of hard work and sweat was pushing them to write this final chapter with there name written on it. They had 6 more days to show that everything they done, every stride, every throw, every tear, every ache, was leading to the big moment on the national stage. They had one shot to write their own destiny, and that's what they did.
50 states. 16 regions. 1 winner. Kynnedy Flannel of Houston Youth Track Club took silver in the 100m dash against ShaCarri Richardson who ran an 11.58 but that didn't stop her from winning the 200m dash with a flying 23.54. Chicago's own Amira Young got 5th in that event giving her the All-American title. We saw John Meyer battling for the National title in shot put but receiving 3rd. The winner of the event was Joshua Sobota of GymTek Academy of Knoxville, Tennessee. He threw 65ft and 1.5 inches to close his Nationals chapter. Aden Baughman of Revolution Running in Oklahoma took the top spot title in the 800m dash 15-16 division boys running a 1:56.72.
Port City Track Club wasted no time taking the 400 relay title. Along with them coming in third place was TNT track club showing that Illinois could do more than make all american, but that they could place top 3 as well.
All in all the National championship was a blast. Athletes from all around the country came to show that backing down was no option. With that the final chapter was finished with a new book ready to be open.
I enjoyed telling you guys their stories and leading you through the road that got them to the podium and all american status. As an athlete, I was running against many of these competitors myself, and I can tell you they are no joke. Being an intern for MileSplit has made the track and field experience more thrilling and I hope to do it again next year. Until next time. Or until they tell me to come back. Have a good one.