Behind The Lens With Colin Boyle: Illinois Top Times

Korrion Session of Cahokia toting the baton

Images by Colin Boyle

This weekend, I had attended my second Illinois Top Times meet, and this year was an even better experience for me than my first time. Now don't get me wrong, last year's meet was quite exciting and particularly entertaining, but this year, there was definitely something different. In fact, there were actually many things that made the extensive hours of working, running, throwing, jumping, vaulting, and reporting that went down in Bloomington, Illinois even more pleasant.

If you are in the mood to read an article rather than fulfilling your craving of pouring over every time, distance, and height cleared from last weekend, then you are in the right place. Here, I will portray this weekend's last meet through my eyes, "behind the lens," as I saw those record breaking performances. From a particularly quiet field of reporting it seems, I will put a voice to the experiences of a photographer at the past meet. And it was one great experience this weekend let me tell you- presumably nearly as exhausting as the day of those competing in the meet, yet great.

Now if there is one thing that I enjoy just as much as racing, it is witnessing the racing from the sidelines. As a fellow student athlete, I am familiar with the many emotions that come about before, during, and after competing in a meet. The photo above is a perfect example of these emotions: right before the Class 3A Boys 400m dash, I watched as the second heat got into their blocks. I captured that photo right as a runner was saying a prayer, which really resonated with me. I remember the feeling of anxiety before the starter gun would go off, and the thoughts that raced through my head. Given, that is not the best of quality of photos as it was taken in a rushed manner, but it has a stronger meaning to it.

Especially at Saturday's meet, emotions were highly prevalent. Excitement was in the air and the pride of the athletes was very noticeable.

Another great part of Saturday's meet was seeing repeat performances from last year. The commitment in these performances is always astonishing, with the effort put in by each athlete. With this being my second time working at the meet, I noticed a handful of familiar faces. The names of these faces were not always easy for me to recall, but there definitely were performances that were hard to forget. As I mentioned in my last article, I have had the pleasure to meet these students and communicate with them as peers rather than just as a photojournalist. These relations that I build with the athletes and those working at the meet are debatably the highlight of each job I have with MileSplit.

Now that indoor season is finally through, here's to a great outdoor season!

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