Matthew Lewis-Banks, formerly of Homewood-Flossmoor HS rolls to a big win (Tony Jones photo)
The next to the last voyage to the national championship took place in Muncie, Indiana. The site was the Briner Sports Complex on the campus of Ball State University. Specifically, Region 7 competition pits state association qualifiers from Indiana and Illinois come together and vie for top five berths to North Carolina at end of the month.
The first two days of competition consisted mainly of multi-events (Decathlon and Heptathlon) before shifting to the traditional all-age track & field events that encompassed the weekend.
- 17-18 Girls 400H: A deep field that featured several outstanding performers from the high school season. Kynzee Boastick (Urbana HS/Vipers TC) held off the dangerous Karyn Best (Wheaton Academy/Unattached) 1:02.99-1:03.54. Emelia Ness (Monticello HS/Vipers TC) was a distant third in 1:05.36.
- 17-18 Boys 400H: Mason Barr (Ridgeview HS/Vipers TC) cruised to the victory in 56.10.
- 17-18 Boys 800: In a field that featured four sub-2:00 performers, it was Phillip Hall (Danville HS/Vipers TC) that held them all off running 1:57.67
- 17-18 Girls 100: Running into a fierce headwind (-3.5), the emergence of Taylor Gilling (Highland Park HS/TNT Academy) was apparent. Gilling beat Tina Martin (Decatur Eisenhower) 12.16-12.37. Jada Hoffman (Kenwood HS/Windy City Hammers TC)
- 17-18 Girls 4x100 Relay: TNT lit the track up with a blazing 46.49. It was one of the fastest regional performances in several years. Taylor Tillmon and Taylor Gilling were in sequence.
- 17-18 Boys 4x100 Relay: The elder group of TNT blitzed past the Illinois Shockers 41.72-42.06.
- 17-18 Girls Triple Jump: Rachel Rowe (Oak Park-River Forest HS/Midwest Storm TC) beat a solid field on her final attempt 38-2. Sarah Olojo (Chicago Lane Tech HS/CYUP) who led the entire competition, settled for second with a 37-3.25
- 17-18 Boys Shot Put: William Rezny (Rolling Meadows HS) led from beginning to end that included all six throws (57-7.50) that trumped the second place finisher.
- 17-18 Girls High Jump: Taylor Ozimek (Glenbrook South HS/TCBOOST TC) emerged from the shadows to grab a big personal best 5-5. She had several good attempts (all three rushed) at 5-6. Expect to see Ozimek reach big heights in 2019.
15-16 Girls 400: Tesa Roberts (Chicago Brooks HS/Zephyrs TC) continues her winning ways this summer taking the title in 57.13. Ashanti Denton (Homewood-Flossmoor HS/unattached) held form for second in 57.46.
17-18 Girls 400: Taylor Tilmon (Lakes HS/TNT Academy) got out to a blazing start over the first 250m, but several girls reeled her in. The 54.67 was just good enough. Janii Jenkins (Warren HS/Aurora Flyers TC) 55.01 and Jayla Campbell (Rich Central HS/Zephyrs TC) 55.51 gave it a valiant effort.
17-18 Boys 400: Jason Thormo (Grant HS/TNT Academy) equaled his state-leading 47.84 by running away from the competition by over 1.5 seconds.
17-18 Boys 200: TNT finished the long weekend by sweeping the top three spots led by Bobby Nuzzo (Mundelein) 21.81 (+0.5). Cedric Rowzee (Wheaton South) held off his teammate Jason Miller (Dundee-Crown) 21.96 to 21.99.
17-18 Girls 200: Taylor Gilling (Highland Park HS/TNT) rocked the crowd with a sensational 23.82 (0.0). She commanded the lead the entire time against Tina Martin (Decatur Eisenhower) 24.01. Gilling adds her name into the all-time list as well as a new state #1.