The chess game is on for the 47th Annual Wanner Knight Invite hosted by Prospect High School. Last weekend the Chicago land area was checked mate by unseasonably cold temperatures that caused many meet directors to cancel meets. The forecast for Friday evening is ticketed to be in the upper 60s, sunny and light wind.
The 4x800 field could be deceptive-
The 4x800 relay is usually the coming out party for many of the state's top relay squads. The race at least in recent years featured top notched marks. For example, Chicago Lane Tech snatched the #1 time in the state with a 7:49.57 and pulled three under teams under 8:00 enroute to the deepest finish of the 2014 regular season. Things may be a little different this time around if seed times and personnel hold true. Lane Tech is not the same blitzkreiging crew from last year. The Indians have lost two key legs to graduation and one of their new fill-ins senior Arturo Cardiel is on the shelf. Will Lyons Township unveil their strong unit featuring seniors Alex Lima and Ben Gawthrop? The heat sheets say differently and their camp has been tight lipped about the matter. If the Lions go with a B-team then Hersey and Chicago Whitney Young have to be considered the early favorites. Hersey always compete well at Prospect Wanner and will have senior David Rodriguez ready to lead his crew. Whitney Young is a fast emerging team that broke 8:00 indoors. How about York? If 1600m state leader senior Matt Plowman stays fresh for his gem then it may be tough for the Dukes to overcome loaded up Hersey and Whitney Young units.
Sprint action will be highlighted by Shandall Thomas-
Of course there will be more to look at than just Schaumburg senior all-state speedster Shandall Thomas. There are the likes of Alex Teague (Sr., York), Corey Hertz (Sr., Lakes), and John Roberts (Sr., Zion-Benton). But Thomas is the man here. Remember he and his Saxon crew demolished the Prospect meet a year ago with two meet sizzlers in the relays. Thomas won the 100 and finished second in the 200 on one leg after dog tiring day. Roberts got the best of him in the latter race. There will not be any wind gauges to truly tell the legal aspects of the short dashes but you can go with the old school barometer: fast is fast!
The race of the day will be the 1600-
Prospect Wanner traditionally is where distance running lives. It is the so-called pre-state meet litmus test to see what individuals will be the top players in Charleston a month later. There is no doubt if the solid weather predictions hold true, this race is going to be something special. Let's start with Zach Dale (Sr., Hoffman Estates Conant). Dale has enjoyed a great last two seasons when he hasn't raced his future teammate Jesse Reiser (Sr., McHenry). Dale is a world beater in which Reiser is not present. Or is he? Dale won last year's affair burning the field on the last lap to run 4:12.09. Matt Plowman was not in that field though. Plowman competed in the 800m and won. Plowman did face Dale in last June's St. Louis Festival of Miles and bested his friendly foe 4:09.13-4:09.96. This is really not a rematch between them though. Dale has insisted that he is running against the clock. "I don't know how many people would be willing to go out in 2:03," Dale said jokingly ahead of the big event. Well, the fact that he is capable of popping a sub 4:10 time is not a joking matter. Stout runners like Pavlo Hutsalyuk (Sr., Lane Tech) ran 4:16.68 at the Dan Horyn Invite is well aware of Dale and is looking for the challenge. Add in IL #2 Bryce Richards (Sr., Mundelein) at 4:13.73. He placed third in the Kansas Relays and two seconds behind Plowman's top state mark of 4:11.43. The remaining portion of the field will feature Charlie Kern Jr. of York, Heath Warren (Springfield) and David Rodriguez. The entire field below:
Section 3 of 3 Championship Finals
1A Hutsalyuk, Pavlo 12 Lane Tech _________
1B Kern, Charlie 09 York _________
1C LaLonde, Jack 11 Downers Grov _________
2A Dale, Zach 12 Conant _________
2B Warren, Heath 11 Springfield _________
2C Anderson, Mike 12 Prospect _________
2D Mohammed, Nebil 12 Niles North _________
3A Richards, Bryce 12 Mundelein _________
3B Santino, Daniel 11 St. Ignatius _________
3C Christiansen, Jared 12 Hononegah _________
3D Cozine, Matt 11 Prospect _________
4A Plowman, Matt 12 York _________
4B Madell, Connor 11 Lyons _________
4C Zona, Vince 10 Lyons _________
4D Rodriguez, David 12 Hersey _________
- 4x100r: Niles North burned a 43.13 last weekend in slick and windy conditions at the Dan Horyn Invite. Lane's A team clocked 43.40 and 43.49 earlier this season. It should be a close battle between all three teams.
- 800: Torrain Haughton (Jr., Maine East) is the one to watch here. He busted out of no where with a 1:54.04 IL #2 clocking recently at York. We will see if he for real Friday evening. Alex Lima (Sr., Lyons) should be another favorite in this one if he lays off the 4x8 duties.
- 3200: This event is the barn burner of past seasons but it still should be a good one. Khallin Khan (Sr., Chicago St. Ignatius) may be the favorite here but there is no super standout. Whitney Young freshman Clayton Mendez is starting to come into his own now. He has run 9:48 so far this season.
- 400: Corey Hertz and Barrington Wade (Sr., Niles North) could push each other under 49 seconds.
- 4x200r: We may not see the 1:26s or 1:27s dandies from a season ago but their may be a surprise somewhere. Schaumburg ran 1:30.07 at their divisional meet.
- 4x400r: Lakes is the head of the class with a solid 3:23.60. Lyons and Zion-Benton will chase hard for the gold medals.
- Field: Ryan Mullen (Sr., Lakes) IL#2 in the discus at 184-9.5 will be the heavy favorite to rock the field; Mullin has also hit on 55-5 in the shot put; Carmeron Ruiz (So., Lakes) is ready to win the long jump. He has leaped 22-4.5 this season