They say championships are not won on paper. In reality that is true. #1 Homewood-Flossmoor are not paper champions. The Lady Vikings have faced and conquered pundits, pressure, and predictions all season. They traveled to the grandest invitational in the country at Arcadia, California, and dropped a slew of state bests. Now, it's time to see if the meet lathering and battle tests are ready to implemented in the program's most important championship of the season.
Let's start with the relays-
Typically we start with how great the 4x800 relays have been. Up to this point, they have been "OK." Only two teams have cracked 9:20 to date. It took Mid-Suburban Conference rivals Prospect and Hoffman Estates to turn intensity into 9:17.63 and 9:17.92 times respectively. As we enter the kingdom known as O'Brien Stadium, the weather is expected to splendid and the falling of marks should continue. Glenbard West is a team that is looked upon as a primetime candidate. The Hilltoppers ran a whopping 9:21.99 without their superstar Katelynne Hart (more on her later). But perhaps a new star is in the making by the name of freshman Audrey Allman. Allman split 2:14.xx and that assured the coaching team of Paul and Kelly Hass that Hart's services would not be needed in the present time. Downers Grove South, New Trier, Barrington, and Naperville North if loaded will challenge the sub- 9:15 realm. But of course, there will be squads popping up out of nowhere to get into the scoring column on Friday.
Homewood-Flossmoor was already the favorite to advance to the state final and win the 4x100. The Vikings have actually become an even bigger threat on the strength of tough competitors Chicago Kenwood and Belleville West getting disqualified at sectionals. Homewood-Flossmoor would like to make a lasting imprint and get into the low 46s. It is certainly possible if they can get the stick around the track.
Katelynne Hart has become a broken record among the faithful-
Hart has always thrived on competition. She has proven that she can perform solo, but competition has put in into a different category. The one they call "KK" is ready to embark on a new adventure. That feat is the 800, 1600, and 3200... and possibly the 4x800 or 4x400. No big class girl has ever one the distance "trifecta" and it's only been done once prior in Class A. Hart is the state leader in all three: 2:10.81, 4:45.31, 9:59.57. Just sit back and enjoy the matinee.
Remember these names or else-
Kaylah McCall (Jr., Homewood-Flossmoor) will shoulder a heavy workload for herself and the team with the 4x100, 100HH, 100, and 4x200. McCall is the defending state champion in the hurdles and possesses the top time in the state and sectional. It will be hard for anyone to go under 14.00 except McCall who clocked 13.96.
Halle Bieber (Sr., Naperville North) is a two-time defending champion in the 300H and will have something to say in the event. She will attempt to become the first three-time winner since the great Shalina Clarke of Evanston accomplished the feat four times in a row.
Alex Morris (Sr., Naperville North) may not win a title but she will make a lasting impression on this championship. Honestly, the only better than Morris in the 3200 is KK Hart. Morris has run 10:25.95 this season and it's #2 in the state.
Riley Ammenhauser (So., Neuqua Valley) is on her way to becoming an all-time great in the triple jump. Her greatest asset is consistency. She has leaped over 40-feet a significant number of times during her young career.
Ameia Wilson (Sr., Danville)- The U of Michigan bound workhorse is in a position similar to Serena Bolden of Springfield Southeast. Wilson is an elite athlete that's never won a state title. That could change as she is entered as the favorite in three events (100, LJ, 200).
The long jump. That's right. This event is strong with 19-foot plus talent in Laqwasia Stepney (Sr., Belleville West), Wilson, Raelyn Roberson (Jr., Glenbrook South), Lyn'Nikka Vance (Sr., Crete-Monee), Madison Myrick (Sr., Homewood-Flossmoor), and Nicole Nguyen (Sr., Wheeling) are the key names going for the gold. Wilson and Stepney have been over 20-feet and Roberson will be next to join the club.
Dajour Miles (Sr., West Aurora) has been sleeping hard on the competition. Cinnamon actually woke up from her intense slumber this outdoor season in last weekend's Metea Valley Sectional with a 55.23 state leading 400m. She is also entered in the 200m where she could be a top three candidate.
Jasmine Mitchell (Sr., Thornwood) is the dominant combined thrower in the state. She is also on her way to repeating in both events this weekend. There really isn't much the competition can do to stop her. You might as well pencil in 47-5 and 150-6 winning marks.
Grace Daun (Sr., Wauconda) is the defending high jump champion and has cleared 5-10 this season. If all goes well, she will have an opportunity to eclipse 6-feet.