Whitney Young Boys and Girls Sweep Varsity Titles On Mega Meet Day

Morgan Park and Whitney Young boys battled for the 4x4 relay crown (Colin Boyle image)

The Chicago Public League has been called a lot of things over the years- most of it negative in the big scheme of things. But one thing the sports administration has done is been innovative at times. In 2003, the powers that be decided to merge boys and girls varsity championships together mostly because the coaches were in charge of both genders. Over time several other conferences have adopted this format.

On Saturday another innovation was created by default inside the dank Hanson Stadium on the northwest side of Chicago. The frosh-soph boys and girls championship which was supposed to be conducted on Friday was postponed to Saturday due to weather. So the youngins would have an opportunity to compete simultaneously with the varsity. On paper this seems like a great idea- one would that signals winner for all. However, there was a mis-judgement made by the track and field co-ordinator Desire Wheeler. With all due respect for Ms. Wheeler, but it would have behooved her to run the frosh-soph races followed by the varsity. Sporting events are suppose to provide excitement and drama all the way to the very last event. In track and field there is nothing more exciting than the 4x400m relay that ends with a bang. It was obvious to the vast majority of coaches during Saturday's morning committee meeting, they all simply wanted frosh followed varsity event wise. It would have been nice if there was more fan appreciation such as an unofficial race clock, meet programs for sell, better concessions (not allowed to bring in outside food into stadium), and meet announcements throughout the contest. These are minimal requests for a track and field field... oh sorry a championship track and field meet.

Whitney Young Boys and Girls pulled off a double sweep of the team titles. In the process, the Dolphins men stopped Lane Tech cold in their tracks which halted their multiple year winning streaks. The Dolphin young men won with a mighty 91 points. Morgan Park took second with 75 points to Lane's 63. It was the first time since 2003 that Lane has finished outside of the top two teams. On the girls side, the Lady Dolphins pulled away late in the meet and prevailed 131-114.5. The sign of the times could be closer than one wants to admit as upstart Westinghouse Prep finished third with a mighty 90 points.


Demoria Harris (Dunbar) was hard to catch at the CPL Championship (Colin Boyle image)

Boys highlights-

  • Dunbar senior Demoria Harris comes from a very strong lineage in that his two older brothers were excellent athletes in high school. Most recently it was big brother Darvell Harris that stole the show in the CPS meet three seasons ago and then of course at the state championship. Demoria came out of his brother's shadow last year and the state 200m crown. He aims to do more like winning more titles and breaking his brother's school records. Demoria got this started by easily winning the 100m in 10.87. In his second race, Harris nearly caught the Phillips anchor in the 4x100 relay but ran out of real estate. Harris continued his assault on the field with a sizzling 4x200 leg that seemed to electrify a freezing crowd. Harris pulled even with Phillips on the final curve but once he hit the straight-a-way it was a wrap. Dunbar powered away for the win 1:29.19-1:29.99. Harris completed his long day with an easy victory over Morgan Park's Greg Howell in the 200. The solid 21.82 served notice that Harris would be a major force at state in a few weeks.
  • Pavlo Hutsalyuk (Sr., Lane Tech) won the 800m in a personal best 1:54.67. It was the second varsity title for Hutsalyuk who has displayed his massive versatility. Hutsalyuk also placed third in the 400m (51.46) and anchored his team's 4x8 relay to a second-place finish (8:25.45). Hutsalyuk was the CPL cross country champion last fall. He and his coaches have decided to concentrate on middle-distance races to get ready for the grind of college. Hutsalyuk owns a personal best 4:14.81 time in the 1600m.
  • The young gun Whitney Young tandem of Keduse Worku (So.) and Clayton Mendez (Fr.) put on a clinic in the 1600m that reminded everyone of experienced varsity running traits. Worku and Mendez took flight against a well-balanced field on the bell lap to finish 1-2 in 4:28.14 and 4:28.40.
    • Sam Wishnewsky (Jr., Whitney Young) surprised the favored Walmer Saavedra (Jr., Lindblom) with a very strong final lap in which he clocked 63.0 and won the 3200m in 9:44.67.
    • Matt Fleming (Sr., Simeon) won his second long jump title in a row with a solid 22-2.25

    Freshman sensation Imani Carothers of Brooks won the LJ & 100HH (M. Capapas photo)

    Girls highlights-

    • Imani Carothers (Fr., Brooks) made her first city championship a memorable one with a fantastic win in the 100HH with a solid 14.93.
    • Chelsea Billingsley (Sr., Chicago Bulls) surprised the 800m field and won with ease in 2:23.49
    • 400m: A mostly junior laden field led by Jasmine Smyles (Prosser) and Imani Davis (Lane Tech) battled all to the way to the finish line before Smyles prevailed 59.14-59.24
    • Yakira Love (Sr.., Westinghouse) strutted her stuff in the 100m and won with one of the fastest times in meet history 12.02. Love copped the state best legal time (+1.6) in the process.
    • Jocelyn Mendoza (Sr., Taft) spotted Lane Tech's Maggie Scholle (So.) a big early lead in the 1600m to only reel her in and win going away in a big personal best 5:10.64. Scholle had previously won the 3200m by a football field in 11:33.76
    • 4x1 relay: Westinghouse got by Morgan Park 48.16-48.77. Both units will be vying for all state spots in two weeks at the state championship in their respective classes.
    • Morgan Park took the 4x2 in 1:45.26
    • Jada Laye (Fr., Morgan Park) has emerged and shown the promise of the pre hyped reports by winning the 200m in a good 24.68