Oak Park-River Forest will be out to dominate the sprint relays this weekend
There have not been too many days in the 2014 calendar season to celebrate when you consider the bulk of the discussion has been on the record cold and snowy winter that Chicago-land had experienced over the past three months. But over the ten days to two weeks Mother Nature has been very kind to us all. In fact, we are all thankful for the 70+ degree climes mixed with sunshine that she has bestowed upon us.
Relay meets are supposed to be fun but often times they can be a bore when many silly meet directors attempt to make them like a regular invitational with more open events than actual relay ones. The 16th Edition of the Hinsdale-Hornet Relays hosted by Central High School is a true relay invitational that features 14 track events of which 13 are of true relay form.
2013 MEET RECAP
The 4x1600m will lead things off-
This race will make most fans feel like its cross country season in April because the length of time it will take to run this affair. Each runner is required to run four laps which is the equivalent of a mile. However, it is an event that is fun to watch because it allows evenly matched teams to jostle back and forth with lead changes over the course of 18-plus minutes. The coaches actually break a sweat in urging on their teams for the duration it takes to complete this grueling race. The meet record of 17:35.9 is held by Naperville (Neuqua Valley) from 2008. The legend Chris Derrick outputted 4:10.7 on his anchor leg. That record should stand firm despite some formable teams in Hinsdale Central, Lyons Township, and Chicago Lane Tech entered.
The race of the day could be the Distance Medley Relay. This seldom ran event in Illinois should pack a strong punch as several teams have agreed to load their squads in an attempt to capture a national ranking and possibly compete in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals after the IHSA season. Hinsdale Central- the reigning 3A state cross country champions- possess a formable unit led by senior Billy Magnesen. Lyons, Lane Tech, and Downers Grove South should be in the running for top honors and hopefully fast times. The wind is supposed to be gusting up to 25 miles per hour during the latter portion of the meet though.
Relays, relays, relays-
Lyons won the team title last year with their tremendous depth by racking up big points all over the track and in the field. In this meet, the frosh-soph points are computed in with the varsity team stats. Oak Park-River Forest is a dangerous team when it comes to relays though. The Huskies have assembled some of the state’s finest sprint corps within the past several years. That trend will continue with senior leaders Jamal Baggett and Lionel Towns. “Baggett and [junior Desmond] Bird-Murphy are running for the first time this year,” said head coach Tim Hasso. “We will load the 4x100m and possibly the 4x200m. We are going to ease them back so we’ll see where they are after the first race.” Oak Park won both races in convincingly easy fashion last year.
Keep in mind that it's only April and the real fast times will come later in the month and into May. But nevertheless, it is competitive nature of the athletes and especially the coaches that shine bright. "I think we plan on putting together a competitive 4x1600 and DMR," said Hinsdale Central coach Jim Westphal. He added a good luck sentiment to the mix: "Let's hope for decent weather."
Winder will lead the field event charge-
Sometimes the field events get lost in a relay meet. But such will not be the case with pole vault genius Luke Winder. The Plainfield Central senior has taken this event by storm during the undercover season several all-time records clearings. He holds the all-time mark of 17-5 that he established indoors. He may not get up to that territory if the predicted wind readings come into play. Still, Winder is going to be a draw for the onlookers.