This is the last hurrah for Prairie State runners venturing out of state… at least until after the state championships are conducted at the end of May. At any rate, the Frankfort Lincoln-Way East Girls 4x100m relay team and Shamier Little (Sr., Chicago Lindblom College Prep) ventured east to Philadelphia to compete in the 119th Penn Relays- the world famous Penn Relays.
Little entered in just one event- the 400H- and all she had was revenge on her mind after tripping and falling over the final hurdle last summer in the World Juniors final in Spain. Little has admitted that has been on her mind for about a year now.
Ms. Little got out in her standard slow start in trailing the field over the first few hurdles. It wasn’t until the end of the backstretch that Little began to make her assault on the field. She ran the curve well and worked herself into the lead. As Little moved off the final curve, she lost her step pattern and skimmed over the next hurdle. However, this time she stayed upright and motored home ahead of a hard charging Gwen Shaw (Wooten; Rockford, MD) who was in lane one. Little prevailed in 58.80. Shaw took second in 59.97. The world junior leader Kimone Green of Jamaica faded to fifth place.
Little was very confident in preparation of her biggest race of the year, but it didn’t quell the feelings she was feeling inside. “I was super nervous. I really don’t remember [the start]- I just knew that I had to get [well],” she said of her race. She also had an explanation of the hurdle stumble. “I was doing well and then I started studder-stepping. I guess I was scared to clip a hurdle and fall again, “she chuckled afterwards. Well, Little can chuckle all the way back to Chicago with the championship gold watch…
Lincoln-Way East has torn apart the competition where ever they have traveled this season. Their mission started in January at the Texas A&M HS Invite then moved over to the Arkansas HS Invite. The Griffins skipped the Illinois Top Times to refuel before heading out to the Texas Relays. In Austin, Aaliyah Brown and company turned out the faithful with two wonderful relay wins- one of which produced an all-time Illinois best- the 4x200m relay in 1:37.55 and US#1 at the time.
However, the feather in every athlete’s cape is the Penn Relays. If you compete at Penn you have arrived. If you win at Penn you become legendary. Lincoln-Way East will have that opportunity on Friday afternoon after they posted the 4th fastest preliminary time (46.88) of the 29 heats. The quartet of Alexis Hyshaw (Jr.), Asia Brown (Fr.), Alexis Pierre-Antoine (Fr.), and Aaliyah Brown (Sr.) won by nearly four seconds over Lenape, PA.
The biggest test will come from the Jamaican heat on Friday afternoon in the final. Coach Angelo Brown believes his team can get the job done despite witnessing the smoking 45.41 produced by the Jamaican merchants Edwin Allen. “We draw lane four [for the final] so we will see everyone! Anything can happen in the FINALS! Don’t count us out,” he proudly exclaimed.
Penn Relays Meet Page
IL Teams Slated to Compete
East St. Louis - Boys 4x100m (Friday @ 11:35 AM)
Boys 4x400m (Saturday @ 11:25 AM)
Marcus Green - 400 Hurdles (Saturday @ 9:00 AM)
St. Charles North - - Boys 4x100m (Friday @ 11:35 AM)
Boys 4x400m (Saturday @ 11:25 AM)
Lincoln-Way East - Girls 4x100m Championship of America (Friday @ 2:15 PM)