Janile Rogers was among several performers who broke all-time meet records on Saturday
Depth reigns supreme at the Illinois Top Times-
The meaning of the word depth is characterized as the quality of being deep. There is not much to it as you can see until you look into the Illinois Top Times meet program and realize how many big names and teams that opted out of competing in this grand meet. The truth of the matter is when you are one of the biggest states such as Illinois depth will rear its head.
Depth can also mean stepping up in the absence of others. This fact was very true inside the massive but cozy Shirk Field House on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Normal-Bloomington. With the absence of Oak Park-River Forest and East St. Louis Boys teams meant there was the presence of Harvey Thornton who entered the fray for the first time under head coach Vince McAuliffe. His Wildcat crew made a memorable impression on the competition as the indoor campaign fades out.
How about Lincoln-Way East and Evanston girls either in Texas or hibernating until mid-April? Well that means speedsters from Homewood-Flossmoor and St. Charles East get to sharpen their blades for the stretch run of May. It also means that competitors like Briyahna Desrosiers (Sr., Chicago North Lawndale and Cole Henderson (Sr., Pekin) get to repair reps in time for rematches in the post-season.
The transition between the 2A and 3A competition is always an interesting sight to watch. The final track events are in the process of finishing up and the 3A field event kids are going through their final warm-ups and run-throughs. The head meet announcer Matt Pieschinski is at a fever pitch in bringing excitement to the masses. As well the 3A crowd has gathered in their familiar places on the upper level seating and along the track side. This is indoor track and field at its best. Let the action begin!
Janile Rogers makes the first splash-
Who could have predicted that a senior from Minooka named Janile Rogers would do something as amazing as set the all-time long jump record of 19’10.75”? The 3A crowd was barely in their seats when this young lady touched the board for the springy leap on her fourth attempt. “I knew when I hit the board that it was a far jump because I had more speed and more height than usual, “said Rogers with a glowing smile at the conclusion of the 3A competition. The day did not start well for Rogers though as she fouled on her first two attempts. On her third jump she got a mark of 19’7.5”. That was the set up for the next record jump. Emma Spagnola (Sr., West Aurora) kept her honest with her 19’2.75. Now the next milestone would have to be something an Illinois school girl hasn’t thought of in a very long time: Alexandria “Alex the Great” Anderson. “Do you think I can get… like 20-feet, 8-inches?” Rogers certainly has done some studying of her predecessors and what it takes to get to Mount Olympus. It’s going to be a fun ride for Rogers and Minooka during the outdoor season.
The best of the rest-
- Patrick Perrier (Sr., O'Fallon) made his presence felt eventhough some of his good buddies didn't show up to run in the 3200m. Perrier went out and set a pace that he knew no one could touch and put it on auto pilot. He hit the first mile in 4:32 to be exact on his way to a 9:13.22 final decision. Peter Schaible (Sr., Chicago Jones) placed second in a lifetime best 9:24.14. Here is what Perrier had to say about his experience: "Haha yeah. Umm the race didn't exactly go the way I wanted to time wise because I ended up doing all the work again, but I feel like mentally it went fantastic. I was focused for all 16 laps and I never mentally broke down in the middle. For a taller guy, it is just harder to run on those flat 200 tracks, but I feel like that I kept with it well. The laps were just about a second off each time. I feel like I am in a great spot heading into the Arcadia Invite in two weeks."
- Thornton's debut at Top Times: The first Wildcats had a pretty solid day in their first Top Times meet under coach Vince McAuliffe. His charges won several events led by hurdler Ti'fonte Hunt (Sr.) in the 60H (7.95) and 4x200 relay (1:31.64). As good as the overall performances were, coach McAuliffe is ready to get his team outside. "We need to start working on the 4x100," he said among other things. One of his main sprinters Cavion Clayton (Sr.) went down with a hamstring injury on the 4x2. McAuliffe said that Clayton is sore but the injury is not too serious.
- All hail goes to Yorkville in the 4x800: The girls got the ball rolling with a third place finish in 9:34.65. Sophomore Skyler Bollinger led off with her front running ways that netted a split of 2:17.6. The boys took it a step further with a huge win over Lane Tech 7:58.14-8:00.11. This was the second meeting between the two teams in which the Foxes finished third in the first go round. This time the Foxes would not let Lane Tech shake them on any of the first two legs. Nolan Tweedy got the lead on the third leg and sped away from his opponent Oswaldo Lorenzana to set up Luke Hoffert nicely for the anchor carry. Hoffert ran out front with tremendous confidence and strolled home with the win. The splits for Yorkville were 1:58.3, 1:59.8, 2:00.4, 1:59. 3; Bollinger and Jake Hoffert returned later to win 1600m titles 4:56.09.and 4:22.71 respectively.
- Cole Henderson is back: The senior star from Pekin is ready to roll this season after posting a blazing 6.85 60m in his prelim. He followed it up with another 6.85 clocking in the final prompting some heads to say, "Cole is back!" He indeed is back with another winner in the long jump- the effort was 23-1.50. Henderson also won his 200m section in 22.46 (second overall).
- Minooka plays the showstopper role again: If they don't leave the Shirk with at least one victory of some sort then it's considered a disappointment. The Minooka trio did not have their grand haul of medals but they won the 4x4 again in 3:25.49. Anchor Chris Wilson (Sr.) once again brought home the gold.
- Banki Oginni (Sr., Hoffman Estates): Admittedly all eyes have been placed on Lena Giger (Sr., Highland) this indoor season for good reason. But lurking on the 3A scene for the past several years has been Oginni. It doesn't help that she comes from a distance crazy school and MSL conference. However, the fact is she can throw the shot put very far and that was evident on Saturday when she copped the meet record/all-time record of 48-0. Oginni also outputted Giger's performance of 47-4.
- Lauren Van Vlierbergen (Jr., Jacobs) won the 800m in an all-time record 2:11.80. She got out fast in 63.5 for the first 400m and was never in jeopardy of losing. She was shooting for the record and double winner but fell a bit short in the 1600m (4:59.68). It was a good test to see if the grueling feat could be accomplished during the state meet.