USATF Regional 7 Recap Completes Road To Nationals

Joliet, Ill-

The Region 7 Championships were shorter than expected. Indiana did not run many athletes at their Association meet, thus the championship consisted of mainly Illinois competitors. You could say that it was the Illinois Association meet 2.0. A lot of things were revved up, the heat included.

The weekend was hot and muggy from start to end. It was in the upper 80s to low 90s while athletes competed. There were many complaints, cases of water and athletes passing out. All things that will be multiplied by ten come next week in Sacramento. Right now the weather is predicted to be in the upper 90s to low 100s. If anything, people would want to run away from that kind of weather. However, I think there is a consensus that most athletes are crazy and will put themselves through hell and back to get what they want. What the athletes at this meet want are to be All-American. So instead of running away from the fire, they ran towards it. Not only did they run towards it, but they also created some heat of their own along the way.

Kenli Nettles of Vipers Track probably had the most energy out of everyone despite the heat. Not only did she compete in the heptathlon and win, but she also appeared in several individual races as well. At Association, she had a huge personal record in the 400-meter hurdles. This past weekend she dropped that time by over a second.

In the girls 15-16 division in the 100-meter dash, the Windy City Hammers took the top four of five spots, led by the rising sophomore Sydney Weaver. These four girls came together to create the winning 4x100 by running a time of 47.85.

In the prelims of the men's 17-18 division in the 100, Anton Passarelli was first going into finals. While he won in finals as well, the other four spots were scrambled. It was Adam Wiatr over Virgil Steward in prelims but Steward found it in him to beat Wiatr in finals. Kaden Turner came into finals seeded seventh but managed to snag the fourth place spot to punch his ticket to nationals.

Unlike the men's, the women's 100 was almost unchanging. Taylor Gilling was the only competitor under 12 and Kaylah Mccall followed behind her running a 12.13. It took at least a 12.43 to qualify for Sacramento.

Marlo Wordlow Jr, running unattached, was the only 17-18 man who ran under 22 this past weekend. Even though he was the only one under 22, the race was tight at the line. Each spot was only separated by about a hundredths of a second, making each athlete truly compete. TNT Track and Field took spots two through four while Steward closed out the last spot.

In the women's 400, Ashanti Denton was the favorite. She was over a second ahead of the rest of the field running a 55.50. The true fight was for second place. Kayla Bell pulled through at the line to take second place over Tesa Roberts, separating their times by .1.

Although a majority of the athletes that will be representing Region 7 at nationals will be from Illinois, Indiana had a few stars to show that Indiana should not be forgotten. Samuel Sommers of Oak Hill High School was the clear winner in the 17-18 men's long jump. He jumped just a little over 24 feet to punch his ticket to Sacramento. Jackson Ringwood was seconds ahead of the field in the 800, running a 1:56.56. Sarah Himes, competing unattached threw 42.90 meters in the discus. That throw would have made All-American last year. Averi Parker from Let It Fly Throwing dominated the hammer throw by tossing 41.84 meters.

In the men and women's 4x400, TNT and Zephyrs respectively took first place again. The women Zephyrs lowered their previous time by several seconds to a 3:51.47. The men of TNT ran around the same time they did at Association. It is probably safe to say these two relay teams will represent us well at Nationals.

There is only about a week left until one of the biggest meets of the summer. To all you other states out there, know that Illinois and Indiana are bringing some of their best to compete for the highest honor of All-American. We are not to be slept on. If you close your eyes, you may get burned by some of the heat we're bringing.