Just when you thought it was safe to go ahead and crown a new team champion, 2012 defending state champion has decided to wake up from their season long slumber. The Raiders won their sectional over a tough Decatur (St. Teresa) team 131-130. These two squads will bring a ton of key qualifiers to Charleston. They may have forecasted themselves into the 1-2 title position this weekend. However, there will be several other teams to watch out for in the three-team title chase in Charleston this weekend. Please keep your eyes and ears squarely on Aurora (Christian), Erie, and Clinton for the three team trophies.
Key team capsules-
Moweaqua (Central A&M)-
Head Coach: Todd Rork
Key events: 4x8r, 4x1r, 4x4r, DT, 100, 100H, 300H
Key athletes: Genny Rose Stringer (Sr.), Taylor Adcock (Sr.), Mikah Maples (Fr.), Kaitlyn Corzine (Sr.), Sarah Bailey (Sr.).
Outlook: As it was mentioned in the beginning, Coach Todd Rork’s team appears to be ready to defend their state title against some fierce competition. If he is to head back home with the first place plaque, he will lean on a senior class that has been to the well many times. Genny Rose Stringer will look to replace her former teammate Janie Howse as discus throw champion (Stringer 3rd last yr) and provide her team with ten points prior to the start of the oval events. Taylor Adcock and Kaitlyn Corzine will provide the rest of the Raiders fireworks in the hurdles, short sprints, and relays. Corzine placed seventh in the 100H last year and is a pre-meet favorite along with teammate Adcock. Adcock will take a shot in the 100 dash where she should make the final. If she isn’t too spent from a round in the 300H and on some relay, her trusty mate Corzine will assist in the long hurdles and relay work. Thursday will be a serious business work day for the Raiders, but the prospects should prove fruitful in the end.
Decatur (St. Teresa)-
Head Coach: Todd Vohland
Key events: DT, 4x8, 4x1, 800, 1600, 3200
Key athletes: Ivy Handley (Sr.), Monica Niebrugge (Jr.), Rachel Devereux (Jr.), Lauren Evelti (Fr.), Megan Burgener (Sr.)
Outlook: The Bulldogs have been known for their cross country and long distance exploits, but they may have a little assistance in the discus on the strength of Monica Niebrugge. Niebrugge should be able to make the final and score a few vital points. As well, the 4x100 relay has a prime opportunity to move into the finals and take pressure off of the distance personnel. The bread and butter of Coach Todd Vohland’s group are the middle and long distance. 2012 cross country champion Ivy Handley may be in for a long weekend of running. Don’t be surprised to see run on the 4x800 relay in the prelims and then the 1600. As for Saturday’s final, she may be legging out 4x8, 3200, and 1600 duties. This may be the only viable way for her team to maximize scoring. The same may be said for the stout Rachel Devereux. She is entered in the 800 and 4x800 relay and with her speed she could possibly leg it out on a short relay. Add in upstarts Megan Burgener and Lauren Evelti for quality assurance in the distance and relay areas.
Distance events should be watched accordingly-
Don’t be fooled by the unusual sluggish times this late in the season. The awful weather accompanied by many meet cancellations should be pointed at as the prime suspects. All of that is history as the recent warm climes should greatly aid in what everyone is accustomed to seeing.
The 4x800m relay should see Decatur St. Teresa go coast to coast in this one. The Bulldogs were the “indoor state champions” at Illinois Top Times and they are the outdoor leaders at 9:43.36. Pleasant Plains is the top threat after producing the second best sectional mark by running 10:03.40. It will depend on who Decatur St. Teresa deploys in the final that will determine anyone has a chance of beating them. The guess will be Rachel Devereux and Lauren Evelti as locks. If the prelim goes well, then there will be no need for Ivy Handley to run on the relay. Other figures in the fight will be Champaign St. Thomas More, Henry Senachwine, and of course the distance heavy Eureka Hornets.
Is the reigning cross country champion Ivy Handley a lock to win the 3200m? What if she completes a full load of running on a hot Thursday afternoon? Ahh, but she will have a full day’s rest because 1A will not have to compete until Saturday in the final. But still, will Handley be bold enough to pull a triple on Saturday? Brittany Burmester (Sr., Red Bud) may hope so but she will be ready either way. Burmester, who won the ITT title, is the classification leader at 11:05.70 and more than 15 seconds better than anyone in the field including Handley. It should be a great battle on championship Saturday between the two.
The 800m is always an interesting watch because many of the girls in this event will be doubling back and will be spent. It will be prime pickings for any favorites who have the so-called fresh legs. The Lewistown Sectional has the distinction of having the top three classification marks courtesy of Cassie Mundekis (So., Manito [Midwest Central]), Julie James (Sr., El Paso-Gridley), and Maddison Zimmer (Sr., Delavan) are the class of the field and should have no issues in establishing who is the best. Becca Wert (So., Aurora Christian) has run 2:21 during the season, but she may be a long shot to win a title because of team first duties in order events.
Decatur St. Teresa has three of the four top times in the 1600m but unfortunately for them they can only run two girls. The Bulldogs will be just fine with Handley and Megan Burgener (Sr.). But the seasonal leader Burmester will be a pain to beat. It may just come down to who wants it the most.
Track at state is always sprint dominant-
The pre-season forecast in the 100m called for Danielle Crawley (Jr., Sherrard), Amelia Glueck (Sr., Tremont), Jessica Jump (Sr., Edwardsville Metro- East Lutheran), and Ariel Gibbs (Jr., Momence) as the key figures to watch this season. It is safe to say that all four girls have to advance to Charleston and will have a say in who wins the title. But we must also include sectional leader Chelsea Miller (Sessar-Valier) who has come out of nowhere to surprise the field. Jump has rebounded nicely from the awful lower leg injury she suffered at Illinois Top Times. She will be among the key entrants on Thursday as will Taylor Adcock.
The same cast in the 100m will shift over to the 200m except Amanda McClain (So., Sullivan) will join in the fun. Jump is the defending state champion, Miller is the classification and sectional leader, and McClain is the party spoiler. So what will play out? Stay tuned for Saturday’s final to find out.
Rayanne Wright (Sr., Clifton Central) is the defending state champion and seasonal list leader at 58.08. She will come into the prelims with the eighth fastest time, but don’t fret because she cruised in her sectional final and won by over two seconds. There will be some solid competition if you add the likes of Sophie Fairman (Sr., Staunton), McClain, Jump, and Rachel Rhodes (Jr., Williamsville). This deep field returned all seven finalists from a year ago. It may take more than the 56.94 that Wright produced last year to win it all.
The hurdle races may have less intrigue than one might think. Last year’s 100H champion Madison Renfro of Central A&M has graduated but her former teammates Taylor Adcock and Kaitlyn Corzine are virtually identical when it comes to performances this season. Although they both come from a hurdles rich program, it should not be assumed they will go 1-2. There is a prominent name to consider in Jenny Kimbro (Fr., Jamaica). The newcomer has been all business since entering high school. First, it was the Illinois Top Times 60H and then she ran over the competition outdoors. Kimbro has only one loss on her resume. Guess to who? It was to the dominant Alexus Jimson-Miller (Sr., Danville), who happens to be the best hurdler in 3A.
Kimbro is the only hurdler under 15.00 for the season at 14.95. In the 300H, she will be among the best checking in at 45.47 at the News Gazette meet. Defending champion Adcock has to be considered the favorite though. Molly Smith (Sr., Cambridge) is a name that has rose straight to the top of the list.
Field events galore start with Kandie girl-
Kandie Bloch (Sr., Argenta-Oreana) is the truth in the high jump and that is a fact. The super senior eased up at the sectional round with a solid 5-8 height clearance. But the big mark of 5-11 (good for US#3) has a chance to fall hard! Bloch has made it clear that she is ready to tackle the elusive 6-0 mark. Ms. Bloch has dedicated herself to the sport despite being a basketball star. She enlisted her aunt Karen Bloch to set her up with an Olympic type mindset. Karen was the US Men’s and Women’s Olympic water polo team trainer at Beijing and London. If all goes well, Kandie will be only the second Illinois girl to clear 6-0. The all-time record holder is Denise Daebelliehn (Moline) who eclipsed the sickening 6-1.25 in an all-star competition in 1980. Kandie has Olympic dreams and getting in one of the rarified heights would go a long way to stamping her ticket to Rio, Brazil in 2016.
Amelia Glueck is more than just a solid sprinter; she is the defending state long jump champion. The competition will be stiff but it is nothing that she hasn’t seen before. Her 17-11 season best is more than five inches better than anyone in the field. Glueck will not have the classification’s second best jumper Ariel Gibbs (Sr., Momence) to deal with. Gibbs jumped 17-8 during the season but has decided to compete in the 100m. Chelsea Miller will have to provide the next best fodder for Glueck.
Morgan Zacharias (So., Reed-Custer) has come of age since earning the runner-up medal last May. Zacharias put a lot of heat on then two-time champion Alyssa Applebee (Seneca)- taking her to the brink before bowing out gracefully. Now, she will be the one to beat with a season best of 11-9- six inches better than Kacy Murphy (Sr., Dwight) and Hannah Swift (So., Clinton).
The shot put will be a good affair with Cara Brooks (Jr., Belleville Althoff Catholic), Megan Lauzon (Sr., Rushville Industry), Rachel Clowers (Fr., Pleasant Hill), and Freya Block (Sr., Kewanee) battling it out. Brooks and Lauzon are the only putters with marks over 40-0 this season.
Clowers and Bloch will take their shot at Genny Rose Springer in the discus throw. Springer is the classification leader at 138-10. Block rocked a 136-1.5 during the regular season to prove that she is a major title threat. Clowers was the sectional leader with a solid 135-2.
The triple jump will be an interesting watch for several reasons. Sophie Fairman is the season leader over Paige Rus (Sr., Erie) barely 36-5.5-36-5 but the margin was nearly two feet. The model of consistency is what will win this highly technical event. Add freshman Megan Reed for competitive purposes.
The sprint relays-
It’s going to be incredibly tough for the thin South Holland Seton Academy Sting to repeat in the 4x100 relay. The new kids on the block will more than likely be Erie. They have been solid all season unlike another pre-season favorite Momence who failed to advance to state.
The 4x200 relay will see Erie back to run to victory after posting the sectional best 1:45.74. No other team has run under 1:46.
Most of the fast times in the 4x400 relay has come via the sectional round as they should have. Erie once again leads the way running 4:06.04. Williamsville will give a strong chase with their season best 4:08.
Bob Jelks Predictions (The Messiah of IL Girls Track)
- 100m - Danielle Crawley, Amelia Glueck, Chelsea Miller Darkhorse Taylor Adcock
- 100h - Aspen Steudeman, Jenny Kimbro, Taylor Adcock
- 4x1 - Erie,Aur Christian, S Holland Seton Academy Darkhorse Clinton
- 400m- Amanda McClain,Sophie Fairman,Rachel Rhodes Darkhorse Jessica Jump, Tessa Holland, Sophie Keith
- 4x2 - Erie, Sullivan,Aur Christian. Note if the real Gibson City team runs they win it
- 300h -Taylor Adcock,Kaitlyn Corzine, Jenny Kimbro Darkhorse Molly Smith
- 200m - Chelsea miller, Amanda Mcclain,amelia Glueck Darkhorse Emily Neuhauser, Kalii Hentis, Danielle Crawley
- 4x4 - Erie, Williamsville, Chester Darkhorse Moweaqua, Eureka
- 2013 IHSA Girls State Track & Field Championships Meet Page (Tons of on-site coverage including photos, videos, results and recap to be posted)