NBON Day 2: Prairie State Athletes Compete Well On Saturday
Thursday was the first day of the New Balance Outdoor Nationals and it was anything but tame. Jack Keelan (Sr., Chicago St. Ignatius) ran the toughest race in his high school career when he valiantly finished fifth in the championship 5k. So how would day two open up?
Saturday morning opens with an odd request-
It would actually open up with a morning text exchange with Lincolnshire Stevenson’s Brendan Wood (Sr.) asking to borrow a baton for his team’s 4x800 relay to be run later in the day. Fortunately, for the Patriot crew they were able to obtain a baton from Palatine Fremd who happened to have one since they ran in the emerging elite 4x800 relay on Thursday.
IL athletes compete in a variety of action throughout the day-
Harry Winter (Jr., Palatine Fremd) kicked off the afternoon by placing 29th in the boys 2k steeplechase. His time of 6:28.52 wasn’t as fast as the effort exhibited at the Midwest Distance Festival a week before, but the experience gained will be one to build on for the future.
Maddie Perez (Jr., Glen Ellyn Glenbard West) got back into action after nearly a five-week break from competition with the first section 2-mile. In fact, she had not raced since her state championship on May 18. Regardless of the training involved there would be a little rust because of no racing in that time frame. Perez got well by going to the front of pack as she usually does with yard splits of 76.8, 2:33.1, 3:51.2, and 5:10.03 through the first mile.
Perez led a small contingent for one more lap past the 2k mark before Catarina Rocha (Sr., Peabody, MA) took over. Stephanie Jenks (Fr., Linn-Mar HS; Marion, IA) put on a late surge to win over Rocha 10:26.20 and Perez 10:30.03. Perez didn’t have her late race spark but she didn’t offer any excuses. “I felt pretty good until 600 to go… it definitely felt weird not racing in [five weeks],” she said in regard of the last portion of her race. Overall, Perez’s 12th place effort should be one of great quality and something to measure herself against next year.
Four Class 3A boys got one more opportunity to compete against one another in the first section of the championship 2m. Patrick Perrier (Jr., O’Fallon), Alex Gold (Sr., Deerfield), Nolan McKenna (Jr., Wheaton-Warrenville South), and Jonah Hanig (Sr., Highland Park) took to the track in search of some quality efforts.
Perrier and Gold were among the leaders in the opening 440y (68.77 and 68.90). However, it would be Perrier who took over from there and lead the yard checkpoint marks 2:17, 3:25, and 4:33. Perrier appeared to be on his way to a new personal best as he looked smooth with each step on the track. The next two laps did not indicate the pending trouble that he would face. Perrier gave way to five runners on the bell lap as he began to fade badly. Vincent Ciattei (Baltimore, MD) eventually won in 9:09.50. Gold passed Perrier as well to finish fifth in his heat (9:20.78). Perrier finally came home in sixth (9:20.82). McKenna placed seventh in the heat (9:23.13) and Hanig was 11th in 9:39.09. The story after the race was about Perrier who needed medical attention. He apparently was suffering from some heat related ailment. After about 10 minutes, he was released and able to walk back to his team camp. “I was feeling great until that last lap,” he said walking gingerly back to his team. There is a strong suspension that Perrier would have won easily in a personal best time had he not succumb to the tough North Carolina heat.
Wheaton-Warrenville South girls finally got an opportunity to compete in the championship section of the 4x800m relay. The Tigers went into affair seeking a solid effort. They came away with a 9th place finish in 9:15.79. The splits count featured Erin Herrmann (Sr.)-2:21.75, Helen Majer (Sr.)- 2:24.80, Hope Schmelze (Sr.)- 2:13.36, and McKenna Kiple (Sr.)- 2:15.86. The quartet got themselves in a big hole out of the gate against a deep field. However, they showed tremendous poise and gradually fought themselves back among the elite forces. The ultimate result was great character among themselves and a proud feeling for their coach Rob Harvey.
Luke Vaughn (Sr., Champaign Centennial) placed sixth in the championship shot put heaving a personal best 60-6.75 winning flight 2. His throws coach said that Vaughn was able to maintain his high level of conditioning with a myriad of workouts during the period from state to nationals. It appears as though that work paid off.
Brendan Duncan (Sr., Waterloo) rebounded from a poor performance in the shot put to place 5th in the hammer throw (211-8). It is a foreign event in the state of Illinois and that fact was evident among field littered with Georgia athletes. Duncan stated that he learned the event at U of Illinois Head Coach Mike Turk’s throws camp. “I learned the hammer by working on the indoor weight implement.”
“I just didn’t have it today for whatever reason,” said Sarah Bell (Sr., Bloomington Central Catholic) referring to her 10th place effort in the girls pole vault that netted 12-2.75. Bell had an uphill climb from the start when she missed on her first two attempts at the opening height (11-5) before barely making the third one. Perhaps, there was a little tension from being among a star cast but hopefully she will rebound at Junior Nationals in two weeks.
3A state triple jump champion Jasmine Brown (Sr., Dekalb) quietly went about having a great regular season. Now, she can add an All-American plaque to her mantle with a thrilling flight 2 winning 40-6 (1.9) on her first attempt. Brown would finish third overall and exhibited a giant smile for the faithful on the awards stand. Brown’s effort was the first legal mark over 40-feet in several years.