Hersey's Josh Methner will be one of the heading athletes in the 51st Wanner Knights Invite
Last year was the Golden anniversary of a track and field invite that stood the test of time. The Wanner Knights Invite usually is a sign that there is approximately one month remaining in the IHSA calendar. Also signaling things are the birds chirping early in the morning, that means Spring is working its way to the northwest part of Chicagoland. For a portion of the meet, the temperatures are expected to be in the low 60s. Anything above that would be a bonus.
Milesplit IL 4x800 is first on the agenda-
The state best is 8:04.10 by Batavia. And for the first time in recent memory, this has been the latest that Illinois has been outside of the top 50 or not have a team under 8:00. The Wanner Invite is the site of the fastest time in state history. York had the pleasure of breaking the national record with a rousing 7:34.1 in 2000. Hopefully, this is the time we see some real sparks fly on the track. For the first time outdoors we will get a loaded Naperville Central squad. The Redhawks return all four legs from last year's 9th place all-state performance. But that's without top dog senior Thomas Shilgalis in tow. Well, they actually have the fastest time from indoors at 7:57.92. The odds are we are going to see a fast winning time and some good chasers for the palate. A rejuvenated Lane Tech squad is fresh off of a good winning Distance Medley Relay performance at last weekend's Distance Night In Palatine. The Indians hope to run to be in the mix with Minooka, Prospect, Lyons, Lakes, and Downers Grove South.
The best of the rest-
HJ/field: Defending champion Michael Shafis (Sr., Prospect) went on to become an all-stater but that means nothing with a solid group of hungry performers in the field. Jimi Taiwo (Jr., Whitney Young) has jumped 6-5 and will not go away easily. There are five others listed who have eclipsed 6-3.
Distance: The main staple of the invite will begin with the 3200m. Josh Methner (Jr., Hersey) and Sam Rivera (Sr., Whitney Young) will battle for the second weekend in a row. They indirectly battled last week at Distance Night in Palatine. This one will be more of a head to head battle. Methner needs more 3200s under his belt and Rivera is doubling to test his fitness for a possible state prelude. They are both under 9:10 and will be the heavy favorites for the gold and silver medals.
Rivera is entered back in the 1600m and his 4:13 is 10 seconds better than the next runner. But Drew Dilcher (Sr., Lyons) ran 4:23 last weekend at DNP and will be looking to improve on his personal best. Erik Snell (Jr., Prospect) is another name to watch out for. He ran 4:23 in a league meet recently.
Speed category: Robert Williams (Sr., Springfield) will make his return and is the featured athlete here. Williams will contest both hurdle races (110/300H) and will be the heavy favorite in both. His 38.69 for the long version is currently the fourth best time in the state.
Katrell Askins (Jr., Proviso West) can salvage his season with a tremendous effort in the 400m. The Panthers have been riddled with injuries this season. Askins was the anchor on last year's winning 3A 4x400 relay.
Zion-Benton and Prospect are the top seeds in the 4x100 with Prospect running 43.11 on the season thus far. Prospect is again the top team to watch in the 4x200 at 1:29... it is anyone's guess as who is the best team in the 4x400 but look for Minooka, Prospect, and Springfield to battle for the win.