-Championship Section Competitors-
Dajour Miles (Jr., West Aurora) 400m
-It will be interesting to see how Cinnamon does in this very competitive race. It's weird to think that in three years Miles has only been defeated three times. The major reason this race will be interesting is because of Dajour hurting herself at her sectional meet. Dajour only ran the 400m at state and still dominated the field, we will have to see if she still has lingering issues with that injury.
Joshua English (Sr., Eisenhower HS) 800m
-This young man emerged on the scene in the most urgent way possible in the latter half of the season. Only having a PR of 1:56.36 going into sectionals, English defeated the favored Ryan Birkmeier of Downers Grove North to claim the Downers Grove North Sectional title. English would go on to claim the state title in a big personal best and then state-leading 1:51.94. English has an opportunity at earning All-American honors provided he is still in reasonable shape.
MiKenna Robinson (Jr., Neuqua Valley HS) 800m
-Coming out of the shadow of her championship level running big brother Isaiah Robinson, Mikenna has shed the "Baby Robinson" moniker. We will get a glimpse as to what type of race does the future of Illinois' half-mile deploy. A solid mix of speed and distance are in order and Robinson is close to breaking into sub-2:10 territory. Robinson is more of a long shot to be an All-American, but don't count her out as she has seemed to step up when the lights are bright.
Thomas Shilgalis (Jr., Naperville Central HS) Mile
Shilgalis has been out to prove something during his junior year since he got injured over the second half of the cross country season. We can't forget his upset win over Zach Kinne of Neuqua Valley at the Naperville Twilight Invitational during the cross country season. Shilgalis took 3rd at state for the 1600m just a few weeks ago. And then the follow up was a state-leading 800m at the St. Louis Festival of Miles where he clocked a blistering 1:51.84. Now with one last opportunity at burning the track under 4:10, it should be a slam dunk.
Matthew Lewis-Banks (Sr., Homewood-Flossmoor HS) 110HH Championship/400H EE
Lewis-Banks lifted a huge weight off of his shoulders as he finally made his college decision by signing with Indiana State University recently. With the weight of making a college decision behind him, he can focus solely on NBNO. Lewis-Banks is entered in two events: 110HH and Emerging Elites 400H. Look for one of the state's elite hurdlers to show and prove.
Section 1 Timed Finals (400H)
2 2844 Morris, Cathrina 19 Morris-Cathr, Au
3 1683 Reiner, Caroline 19 Glen Head RC, Gl
4 140 Angerman, Isabelle 19 Angerman-Isa, Du
5 4349 Christian, Imani 18 St Thomas Aq, Fo
6 1769 Facey, Nyile 18 Greensboro P, hi
7 359 Bieber, Halle 19 Bieber-Halle, Na
8 17 Cernej-Garcia, Tiffany 18 Aay Tc-Mi, Ann A
Halle Bieber (Jr., Naperville North HS) 100H Championship/400H Championship
The short hurdles race has provided Bieber her greatest improvement over the last year. It will be a challenge though, to score big at the national level. The key is to gain valuable experience for the next year. The race of interest is the longer version where Bieber is expected to shine. The two-time state champion in the 300H ranked inside the top 100 nationally. Keep in mind that 400H is a different race where tactics have to be planned out accordingly. Bieber is a complete novice here and like the 100H, she will be racing to gain experience and confidence for a big run in 2019.
Charlie Parrish (Sr., Freeburg HS) 2k Steeplechase
-If Parrish stays consistent then he will take 3rd place in this race. In Parrish's two previous steeplechases he has taken 3rd place in both. He ran a 6:09.78 at Texas Relays which is a US#11. It wouldn't be surprising to see Parrish run a sub 6:05 and be a national champion in the steeplechase. With Evan Jager tearing up the world's steeplechase fields could we see two Illinois exports be great steeplechasers?
Proviso West 4x200m Championship/4x400m (Gregory Williamson, Tyrek Anderson, Derrick Crosby, Katrell Askins)
-This is Proviso West's big moment to represent themselves and the state of Illinois on the nation's biggest stage. The Panthers are the only relay team from the land of Lincoln entered. They will start Saturday morning with the 4x200 championship. Though they have run only 1:29.06, it was with a makeshift relay that did not include one top speedster Derrick Crosby. This team if focused and good with the transitions can dip into the low-1:28s... let's see how the 3A state 4x4 champions operate on the big stage. There are four sections and Proviso West is in #2. The lead team is Rush-Henrietta, NY and they sport a time slightly faster at 3:19.15. If the Panthers can win their section and go 3:16 like head coach Johnny Jenkins suggests, then a tense waiting game for All-American status is in order. The top team is Colonial Forge, VA who won their state championship in 3:15.17.
Zach Pluff (Jr., Freeburg HS) High Jump
-Pluff has been able to jump 6-8 two times this season, which is a great mark, but it is not an All-American type of mark. To be an All-American Pluff will have to jump into the realm of 6-11. Gaining experience on the national stage is perhaps the most important thing and everything else after is a plus.
Josie Held (Sr., Mt. Zion HS) Pole Vault
Held is looking to redeem herself after a less than stellar performance at NBNI, which saw her take 23rd place with an 11-8.50. Held didn't have her best indoor campaign this season as you can argue that her younger sister Rhiannon Held was the better Held sister. Josie has redeemed herself during this years outdoor season by winning the 2A Pole Vault state title after coming so close the previous three years. Josie will be looking to go out with a bang, she is a stretch to be an All-American, but there is still a possibility that she may.
Aliyah Welter (Sr., Monticello HS) Pole Vault
Welter was unable to retain her 2A state title as Josie Held beat her for it, but Josie was rested as she only had to do pole vault. Aliyah, on the other hand, had pole vault, 300H, and 4x100m. With Welter not having to worry about multiple events it will be interesting to see how great she can jump. She came close to being an All-American last year when she took 13th place in pole vault. Will she have what it takes?
EJ Burruss (Sr, Homewood-Flossmoor HS) Long Jump
-EJ Burruss is feeding himself to the sharks by entering himself into this field. After taking 3rd place at the state meet with a 23-3.75 showed he is able to improve and compete with the best of them.
Imani Carothers (Sr., Chicago Brooks Prep) Long Jump Championship/Triple Jump Championship
Imani Carothers has decided to focus on the jumps here and worry about the hurdles in college. The multiple state champion has all-American credentials as well. Carothers could possibly be trying to finally break the 20-foot barrier in the long jump and go 43+ feet in the triple jump. She has a good chance at both and she can certainly be an All-American in both events.
Sam Liokumovich (Jr., Deerfield HS) Shot Put Championship
Liokumovich has been a very quiet breakout star this year in shot put. With the likes of John Meyer Jr, Clayton Hannula, Brad Warmen, Hunter Woodard, Hunter Hendershot, etc. Sam kind of got lost in the shuffle. He took 6th place at the 3A State Championship behind 5 seniors and was the only junior to be an all-stater in the 3A Shot Put. The crazy thing is he improved from a 48-1.25 his sophomore year to a 59-4.50. Sam might be the future of Illinois Throwing next year.
Chloe Lindeman (Jr., Fulton HS) Shot Put Championship/Discus EE
Lindeman is almost a lock to be an All-American. She took 3rd place at New Balance Indoor Nationals with a 47-2.50. Lindeman had been laying low for the entire meet until the state meet where she popped off with a 47-3.75 to win the 1A title. If Lindeman throws like she did at the state meet, she will be on the medal stand in Greensboro?
Jasmine Mitchell (Jr., Thornwood HS) Shot Put Championship/Discus Championship/Hammer Championship
Mitchell is a rising star in the throws. Only a junior, she is already a multi-decorated athlete who is looking for bling in NC. The 2x 3A state SP champ will perhaps follow the lead of Mitchell and compete for a top six position in both throws. The unknown element here is the hammer which should be fun and might be an event at the next level for her.
Jordan Johnson (Jr, Quincy HS) Discus
If you have a conversation about most improved Illinois track athletes this season and you don't include Jordan Johnson's name, you are crazy. Johnson had to have been waiting so long to get back outdoors and show the world what he could do. In his first meet of the year, he threw a 194-3 at the Quincy Triangler which is amazing when you think about it because this kid was an All-Stater as a Sophomore with a 160-7 and a PR of 161-2! That is a massive jump! If Jordan can continue to throw the way he has been all season then he will be a for sure All-American.
Alexander Babbington (Jr., Plainfield East HS) High Jump
Babbington has been at this level before and he will continue to rise. He has a personal best of 6-6 which he achieved at state this year. Now is the time to step even more among the big boys. This has been a great year with 17 guys over 17 feet. Some of those competitors will be on the tarmac this weekend.