The Joy and Pain Of The Proviso W Valentine's Day Relays

The best was saved for last with the boys 4x400 Section 9 relay that produced a state-best time 

Proviso West HS Fieldhouse-

It wasn't an actual invitational or a quad meet like the Panthers played host to just hours prior to the 9am Saturday start time. An overflowing crowd followed by 40+ teams waltzed into the newly renovated track down that may soon be stamped "P-Dub." As for anyone's thought process of what the times would ultimately be for the co-ed action, it really did not matter- just an opportunity for many to compete in a Grade A facility.

Girls-

4x200: It did not take long for the first team to break 2:00 among the 7 sections. The host Panthers "B" team which consisted of mostly underclassmen clocked 1:59.93 to take section 3. It was in section 5 that Evanston ran 1:49.39 to put the pressure on the remaining two races. The Wildkits "A" team was disqualified leaving the "championship" section one last opportunity to come through. Chicago Kenwood and Bolingbrook would duel through each leg, but it was the Broncos who copped the win by less than a nose 1:48.79-1:48.80.

4x800: The distance oriented raced was moved here several years ago to create a buffer for speed adapted athletes to return for the final event somewhat "fresh." The first two of three sections were yawn fests as only one team was able to crack the 11:00 barrier. Evanston got out well in the final stanza with a strong second leg by junior Gabby Horton. She motored under 2:25 and it was virtually daylight the rest of the way for her teammates. The winning time of 9:58.30 was more than 30 seconds better than runner up Mundelein. It was also the second fastest time in the state.

4x400: Evanston "B" was the first to go under 4:20, coasting past Chicago Lindblom by over 11 seconds in 4:19.17 to take section 4. In the next section, the Wildkits "A" squad dropped the time to beat to 4:16.21. The final section of the day put up a tough fight but it was not quite good enough overall. The consolation prize went to Kenwood in 4:17.55.

Boys-

4x200: The first five of eight sections was like the runners competing in cement blocks. No one could break 1:40 on the lightning fast Mondo X track. Finally, Warren broke through at 1:37.80 in section six. Of course with two more races remaining, that mark would be toast. As expected the final "championship" race would be a rock and roll affair filled with some slapstick and messy running. Chicago (St. Rita) came in as an underdog to Chicago Morgan Park according to the seed times. However, it was the Mustangs of St. Rita who ran away from the field after the first leg. They were undoubtedly satisfied to be in the clear after an incidental trip between Proviso and Morgan Park, which resulted in a Morgan Park Mustangs runner going down face first and out of the race. St. Rita enjoyed the smell of roses and the #2 time in the state: 1:33.85.

4x800: Just like the girls, things did not get interesting until the third section. 3A cross country power Mundelein appeared to bring a pretty solid group to town. The Mustangs have some fine runners and splitting the team into "A" and "B" was strategic. Both units stayed closed to first leg leader Deerfield who clocked around 2:02. It was all over after that though as the Mustangs put together a consistent string of strong laps and won in a state-best 8:21.85. The first four finishers now hold the best marks in Illinois.

4x400: Once again there were rumblings from the earlier events. The talk was of suspect seed times was evident with teams winning races from the middle of the pack. Would that notion play out again? Nine sections were on the docket and finally, it was the seventh stanza that Lyons Twp broke through under 3:40 at 3:35.80. That mark appeared as though it would stand up with the final section remaining. Top-seeded Morgan Park got out well with St. Rita and Thornridge right on their tail. St. Rita and Thornridge moved out in front of the field and opened a gap that would not be deterred. Thornridge senior Davon Bolden has been a trackster to watch over the past few seasons. This may have been his coming out party because he took the weight of a close race and won it for his team with room to spare with a smooth 50.6 tote. The Falcons took down the #1 time in 3:32.09- more than three seconds faster than the Mustangs 3:35.27. 

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