Kenli Nettles' journey to superstardom began this weekend at O'Brien Stadium
Charleston- It's nice to be recognized for outstanding performances that add up in the metrics. The final season MileSplit IL Team Power Rankings pitted Duquoin, Chicago Latin, and Decatur St. Teresa in the trophy positions. The top-ranked Indians did not win every event on the track, but they performed marvelously as a unit from top to bottom in securing enough points to win the coveted title scoring 58 points. Distance minded Latin on the strength of a small handful of girls placed second with 46 points. Decatur St. Teresa held the form charts along with bracket-buster St. Joe-Ogden with 38 tallies.
The show of youth forced its way in the field events-
Atleigh Hamilton (So., St. Joe-Ogden) was the first to strike on the scoreboard in the long jump. Hamilton won with a carryover 18-7.75 from Thursday's preliminary round.
The top four placers in the pole vault are either freshman or sophomores. Windsor Roberts (So., Tri-Valley) was in the sixth grade when she picked up a pole and learned to love this event. Well, the state leader won for the second time in a row topping 12-6. Fellow sophomore Tori Thomas of Rock Island Alleman placed second once again in the final results.
Chloe Lindeman (Sr., Fulton) was happy to repeat as champion in the shot put when she improved by over two feet from the prelim round to win easily and by over three feet against upstart Claire Buscher (Jr., Teutopolis) with a solid 47-9.25.
Defending triple jump champion Danielle Taets (Sr., Orion) was not able to make a come from the prelim deficit despite tremendous assistance from the wind. She was only able to generate a final 37-8.25 for third place behind second-place finisher Dakota Krone (Jr., Pinckneyville). The readings clocked +4.0 or better for some competitors like winner Daekota Knott (Sr., Fulton) who enjoyed a 38-1.75 courtesy of a +4.2.
Future heptathletes Kenil Nettles and Daelin Switzer waged a great competitor battle-
In one of the more exciting meet storylines was that of super multi-talented individuals Kenli Nettles (Jr., Arthur) and Daelin Switzer (Sr., Decatur St. Teresa). They entered in the same four events from the beginning of sectionals: 100H, 300H, HJ, 200. Keep in mind that both are individual competitors with team implications on the line. But at the same time, it is gladiator status.
Nettles may have first gotten notice from the masses as a high jumper several seasons ago. But she has since expanded into a fine hurdler and adequate flat sprinter. Her display of talent happened in the high jump after once again beating Switzer in a big match. The first was in March at the Illinois Top Times. Kettles cleared a personal best 5-7 and in the process surpassed previous classification leaders seniors Kiah O'Neal and Gabbie Loiz.
It was on the track that Nettles really took flight from her competition. She would breeze in the 100HH in a personal best wind-legal time of 14.29 (+1.8) over Switzer who also clocked her best ever time in 14.40. Still not done... and later Nettles added another PB in the 300H in 43.69- the second fastest time in the state. Switzer is no slouch. She runs the third fastest time trailing Nettles with an equally sizzling 43.78.
Best of the rest-
Ava Parekh (Fr., Chicago Latin) did not run a fast 3200m, but she did what she needed to do under hot, humid, and windy conditions. What's more important than the 11:01.81 and the nearly 20-second win over Ailey Mitchell (Jr., Shelbyville), it's the vital team points for the Romans. Later, it was Parekh's teammate Marianne Mihas (So.) that find the right moments to strike twice and earn two victories. Mihas had excelled in the 800m all season long- clocking 2:15.20. Mihas won that race with confidence. The second was the 1600m whereas a defending champion, she seemed to possess the desire to be a cold-blooded killer. However, with 600m to go, the old Mihas showed up and put away the field including Parekh in 5:07.20.
An injury-plagued career up to this point prevented Alyssa Busker (Jr., Aurora Christian) from reaching her full potential. On Saturday, she surprised many in the crowd with two dominating wins in the 100m and 200m. Busker powered home in the first with a time of 12.04 and later 24.66. Both times were wind-aided but the process of becoming a champion was not.
Nariah Parks (So., Belleville Althoff) improved from second to champion in the 400m. She motored home in a personal best 57.81.
Duquoin won two of the four relays and placed second in two more. The runner ups were 4x800 to Knoxville who in 9:47.15. The 4x100 was a class-best 48.99 for the Indians. Later it was St. Joe-Ogden that squeaked by the Indians with the proper lean in the 4x200 1:44.81-1:44.82. But the showstopper was negotiated in 4:01.98 to turn back the Spartans.