Kyle Kruthoff will be one of the featured athletes at the state meet this weekend
The championship meet thoughts:
Class A has always been intriguing to follow from afar because of the disparity and depth of talent that is usually associated with state championships. Since the state association does not award double points for relays, an individual or two can and has completely decided the outcome of the meet. It could happen again without a clear-cut favorite. Last year's champion Ridgeview has gone down in smoke after one of its stars Tate Walcott was injured entering the sectional. Caitlin (Salt Fork), Duquoin, and Gibson City-Melvin Sibley have a shot at winning a team title.
The distance realm will be an interesting one because there are some athletes who transitioned up to 2A from cross country. Coming into the 3200m final on Saturday, look for Christopher Collet (Sr., Seneca) to lead the charge. He has a class and personal best of 9:25.88- 28 seconds faster than the nearest competitor. The 1A harrier champ Collet rocked the sectional field while on cruise control in 9:37.06. Layton Hall (So., Arthur) is expected to rise up to the challenge. Collet is the only 1600m runner to break 4:20 this season with a personal best 4:19.86. He along with sectional leader Noah McIntyre (Jr., Athens) will duke it out. Don't sleep on Negus Bogard (Jr., Robinson) and his 4:23.11... no Riley Wells (Sr., Rockford Christian) no problem. He moved up to 2A so that means Shane Yamco (So., Riverton) is the favorite. He has clocked a best of 1:55.18.
Adam Snedden (Sr., Princeton) is not a household name but he is undefeated in the 100m and comes to Charleston as the sectional leader. However, everyone's favorite Aidan Laughery (Fr., Gibson City) is also undefeated and has run 10.74. Remember that Walcott is out for the season which makes Laughery's path to the title less intrusive. The 200m may present a tougher challenge the addition of Caine Wilson (Sr., Salt Fork) and Makail Stanley (Jr., Argenta Oreana). Stanley won the Top Times 60m title and he will be a factor in the 100m with the others that were mentioned. Laughery has the fastest half-time over Wilson and Stanley with a 22.13. One of the most intriguing items to watch this weekend will be the 400m. Chicago Leo senior Sam Herenton is slowly coming into focus. He has broken the 49-second barrier several times this season. His personal best is 48.81 and it ranks the sixth fastest in the state. Some think he can go under 48.00 if the race strategy is correct... there is no way that we can move on without mentioning longtime stud senior Mason Barr of Ridgeview. He will try and keep the ball rolling in the hurdles. He is the defending 110HH champ and will be favored in the intermediate variety as well.
The defending 4x800 champions from Morrison return all four legs from their then historic sophomore group. It will not be easy this time around with Tremont and DeeMack coming in with some impressive times. All three could break 8:00 by the time the weekend is over. Morrison is strong enough to muscle their way to a 4x400 time. They were sectional leaders by two seconds with a time of 3:24.63. Pana is the class and sectional leader in the 4x100. Can they get under 43.00 in the prelims? GCMS is the class leader in the 4x200 but will they have their ace Laughery on it?
The field events strongest asset has to be senior pole vaulter Kyle Kruthoff of Erie. Coming in at 16-1 and possessing the state's overall second-best effort means that he has no equal. It should be easy money and hopefully a height near 17-feet before he heads off to the College of Dupage to vault and explore a career in fire science... the state's fourth-rated discus thrower is senior Joe Kingery of Teutopolis. He has tossed the plate 180-11 and comes in as the favorite by four feet. Junior Greg Zellers of New Berlin was the sectional leader in the shot put. Look for him to stand out among an evenly put together field... Illinois Top Times high jump winner Jorden Tedford (Sr., Williamsburg-Latham) did enough to advance to state. The classification leader has a best of 6-8 and he will defend his title over a hungry pack of 6-6 and 6-7 type performers such as senior Tristen Tewes of Pleasant Plains... Dasani Edward of Duquoin is the long jump favorite now with a sectional best 22-10. Danardo Jones of Timothy Christian and Ramsey Hunt of Shiloh are the ones to watch in the triple jump.