Noah McIntyre will compete in the 1600m for Athens HS on Friday
Speed is the name of the game-
1A has historically been one of the biggest toss-ups in history in terms of trying to predict winners. New top speedsters for the classification seem to pop up every week of the season. One of those kids that came up out of the blue is freshman Aidan Laughery of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley who will be looking to come home with a 60m and 200m Top Times title. Laughery had a very successful middle school track career winning a few IESA state titles and has transitioned well into one of the best freshmen in the nation in terms of the sprints event group. Laughery will have a long-awaited battle with summer track teammate and good friend senior Mason Barr of Ridgeview who has been a staple of the 1A scene for the past few years now. Barr will have a full plate it seems as he is scheduled to run the 60H, 4x200m, and 200m.
Barr is the favorite to win the 60H already. With the 200m being his final event, will he have what it takes to defeat the freshman phenom? The two will also have to watch out for Barr's teammate and fellow senior Tate Walcott who was a major factor in the 200m at the state meet last season. Laughery put a hurting on Walcott at the Heart of Illinois Conference Conference, expect Walcott to not allow that to slide this go around.
Distance races will add value to meet as they usually do-
With former two-time 800m state champion, Riley Wells of Rockford Christian, moving up to the 2A classification this spring many wondered if distance would be any good at all? A few names have already put those doubts to rest. Senior Shane Yamco of Riverton has taken over as the reigns in the 800m and has the fastest seed time in the field. Yamco has won on the big stage before with a win in the undercard section of the 800m at Distance Night In Palatine. Can he rekindle that same magic with a win here?
The 2018 1A XC State Champion, senior Christopher Collet of Seneca, will be looking to drop some more fire times in the 1600m and as part of his school's 4x800m team. Watch out for him especially in the 1600m as he recently showed at the Batavia Distance Madness Meet that he can even hang in there with some of the best of class 3A. He should find himself far in front of the chase pack this Friday.
The 3200m is where the distance squad should be the most interesting with three athletes all being very close together. Negus Bogard of Robinson had a breakout xc season and has already gained an all-state honor in the 3200m before then. He sits on the year with a 9:43.93 and is the top seed in the field, but isn't far in front of Cort Ross of Casey-Westfield. Ross is another runner who had a breakout xc season and is already having a career year on the track. He ran a 9:46.42 in his first race of the season last weekend and will definitely be right next to Bogard throughout the entire race. Miles Sheppard of Warsaw is the final of the three as well as being the most inexperienced runner in the field as he is only a freshman. After taking 7th place at xc state though, Sheppard showed that he isn't afraid of the spotlight and actually flourishes in it.
Relays will be fun-
Morrison enters as top dogs in all three races. We already knew that their 4x400m and 4x800m would be great this year, but few expected them to drop a 1:35.22 in the 4x200m. For the past two years, Ridgeview has won the state title in the 4x200m, have they finally found their match in Morrison? The teams will go head to head this Friday so we won't have to wait long. In the 4x800m, Morrison ran the fastest frosh 4x800m time ever recorded in Illinois history with an 8:00.59. The team has not run that fast this year as they are only seeded at 8:44.80, but that was the first time they ran it and had no one around them. We could possibly see around a sub 8:10 performance for the team. The last race of the day will be the 4x400m and the team to beat will be Morrison who has a four-second advantage on the field at 3:33.09.
Field Events will actually kick things off-
The fields are loaded with a few state champions trying to prove their dominance. Jorden Tedford of Warrensburg-Latham had a surprising win in the high jump at state last spring and with a PR of 6-6. He sits atop the field and ready to take on Will Tedford be able to hold of Michael Douglas of Carlinville who is close behind him with a 6-5?
Tedford has also been a surprise in the triple jump this year holding the top mark in the field with a 44-7. He will have to watch out for Ramsey Hunt of Shiloh and Dasani Edward of DuQuoin as both were in the top three at the state meet last year.
Kyle Kruthoff of Erie was the state champion in the pole vault last year. Kruthoff has been very experienced in big events in the past like winning at the AAU Junior Olympics, State, and Top Times. He actually took third here so expect Kruthoff to be chomping at the bit to win it all.
Walcott shocked the track community with a huge win over defending long jump state champion, Connor Artman of Illini West, at the state meet last year. As he heads off to Illinois State University in the fall, Walcott will be looking to prove some big things to end his high school career. He has already gone 23-5.75 early in the year with a bad landing. Just wait to see what he does when he fixes up his technique a little bit.
The shot put field will be a fun one with two returning all-staters going head to head. Ghage Lambasio of Knoxville enters as the number one seed with a 52-1 with Brad Olysav of Williamsville being close behind him with a 51-10. The two are favorites to win the title outdoors, who will get the momentum over the other?