The landscape of this season is going to look incredibly different than it has in recent years. For the first time in three years the classification will not have Shamier Little or Charday Crawford to look forward to. There will not be a speedster or hurdler from East St. Louis Senior High School to project in the team scoring. So, who should the fandom look out for during the 2014 campaign? There are a number of emerging names out there to choose from. As the season unfolds, someone will step forward and be heard from. They always do in the world of Illinois girls track and field.
Note: The rankings are based off of the top returning marks from the 2013 outdoor season and do not include wind-aided times.
2013 State Champion: Charday Crawford (Springfield Southeast) 11.72 [+1.5]
Key returners: Ryan Preacely (Sr., Chicago Noble Street/Charter Johnson), Ebony McClendon (Sr., Chicago Brooks), Tyjuana Eason (Jr., Kankakee), Jemiya Bates (Jr., Kankakee), Anna Sloan (Jr., River Forest Trinity), Lauren Zick (Sr., Maple Park Kaneland), Ladaisha Steen Yates (Sr., Peoria Richwoods).
Outlook by the B-Side: The great Charday Crawford of Springfield Southeast has graduated and moved on to Kansas State University. I think this year’s Century race will come down to Ryan Preacely and Ebony McClendon. They both went third and fourth respectively. It would appear as though there will be a season long rivalry because they are Public League rivals. Please keep an eye on the two upperclassmen from Kankakee named Tyjuana Eason and Jemiya Bates. The Lady Kays title hopes will depend on their strength and vitality. Also, moving down from in classification is Ladaisha Steen Yates. She blazed a wind-aided 12.13 for fifth place in last year’s 3A final.
2013 State Champion: Shamier Little (Chicago Lindblom) 54.37
Key returners: Mariya Hudson (So., Cahokia), Ferguson (Sr., Chicago Morgan Park) and Bertha Frazier (Sr., Champaign Centennial), Christyle Smith (Sr., Midlothian Bremen), Lunden Henry (So., Springfield Southeast), Ninaa Edwards (Sr., Richton Park Rich South), Zoe Mead (Sr., Princeton), Karina Liz (So., Aurora Central Catholic).
Outlook by the B-Side: Last year’s final and I mean all lanes were filled with seniors. One of those moving on was Shamier Little. You can’t replace a legend but someone has to try. On paper it would appear that Kelsey Ferguson and Bertha Frazier are the two to keep an eye on. Also, Christyle Smith is a threat to wear the crown. If Frazier, who has so much untapped talent can put all the pieces together she may shock the world. Mariya Hudson is an incoming freshman that the sneaky good Cahokia team is trying to mirror like their boys squad. Hudson ran a swift 57.45 during the summer track circuit and may be a person of interest as the season unfolds.
Ebony McClendon/athletic.net photo credit
2013 State Champion: Shamier Little (Chicago Lindblom) 24.05 [NWI]
Key returners: Ryan Preacely (Sr., Chicago Noble Street/Charter Johnson), Ebony McClendon (Sr., Chicago Brooks), Tyjuana Eason (Jr., Kankakee), Jemiya Bates (Jr., Kankakee), Anna Sloan (Jr., River Forest Trinity), Mariya Hudson (Fr., Cahokia), Ladaisha Steen Yates (Sr., Peoria Richwoods), Dominique Lewis (Jr., Champaign Centennial), Lauren Zick (Sr., Maple Park Kaneland), Anna Sloan (Jr., River Forest Trinity).
Outlook by the B-Side: My heart is heavy as I write this. Is there any way we can watch former Chicago Lindblom superstar Shamier Little just one more year? Oh how she will be missed. Again the name Preacely and McClendon who got third and fourth last year command the attention- unless someone new is lurking- which there always is.
2013 State Champion: Shamier Little (Chicago Lindblom)
Key returners: Chante Stonewall (So., Normal University), Dasha Thomas (So., Cahokia), Taylor McCammon (Sr., Kankakee McNamara), Katelyn Hill (Sr., Glen Ellyn Glenbard South).
Outlook: This event minus Shamier Little and seven other graduated state finalists equals hard times. Ironically, at the same time it is an opportunity for someone to step forward and become the face of this event. Chante Stonewall is the only state championship returner with her seventh place finish. However, by no means will she be considered a favorite in this event. Dasha Thomas of Cahokia is an emerging force that is slowly but surely moving along. She was able to produce a 14.97 time, which happens to be the fastest returning time regardless of conditions.
2013 State Champion: Markita Rush (E. St. Louis Sr.) 42.14
Key returners: Katelyn Hill (Sr., Glen Ellyn Glenbard South), Chante Stonewall (So., Normal University), Tyra Buss (Sr., Mt. Carmel), Peyton Sledge (Sr., Charleston), Grace Cronin (So., Oak Park Fenwick).
Outlook: Once again the hurdles are in fact in decline, but at the same time someone has to emerge and step forward. Katelyn Hill is in fact the top state returner with a third place finisher in 43.71. Chante Stonewall may be better in the long hurdles in that she placed fourth at state with the ninth fastest time in the state regardless of classification.