Date: Saturday, February 15, 2020
Location: Shirk Center; Bloomington, IL
9:00am- Field Events Start
10:00am- Running Events Begin
Teams: Aurora Central Catholic, Aurora Rosary, Bloomington, Chicago Sullivan, Clinton, Decatur St. Teresa, Dunlap, Eureka, Herscher, Indian Creek, Joliet West, Mahomet-Seymour, Mattoon, Metamora, Monticello, Normal University, Okaw Valley, Oregon, Pekin, Princeville, Rantoul, Rock Island, Shepard, Tremont, Virden
We are finally underway with the start of track season with some big meets on tap this upcoming weekend. One of those meets is the Clinton Early Bird Invite which looks to kick off high school action in Shirk Center for the first time in 2020. This is a heavy 2A meet with a few 1A and 3A teams sprinkled in, making it the perfect place for the top talent to show off what they got.
Monticello will be looking to dominate the sprints-
The Sages star sprinter Mattie Lieb is the top seed in both the 60m and 200m and will be looking to dominate both races. Lieb will be looking for a possible four state titles in May as she is a top returner in the 100m and 200m and with her team being top returners in the 4x100m and 4x200m. The future redbird dropped great performances at the Arkansas High School Invite a little under a month ago as she went 8.15 in the 60m and 25.91 in the 200m.
Lieb's teammate and outstanding hurdler Emelia Ness could be ready to dominate the 60HH as she is the top seed by .6 of a second. Ness, who is also slated to be a future Illinois State Redbird, narrowly lost the 2A 100HH state title to Shanisa Stinson of Chicago South Shore last year.
Be sure to watch out for Monticello's 4x200m relay if they decide to load it up. This is a potential state championship 4x200m that returners three members from last year, but add a freshman star in Rose Talbert who will be trying to replace Sydney Buchanan who departed from the team.
The distance is criminally underrated-
The biggest surprise of the event may very well be the distance events as they can be better than many expect they would be.
In the 800m, two returning all-staters appear ready to show off as Payne Turney of Clinton and Lesley Viveros of Aurora Central Catholic both are slated to compete. Turney is the returning 2A state champ from last year and will be looking to take home an easy win here. The Maroon's star went 2:15.59 during indoors last year. Viveros has had a history of getting off to a slow start in her seasons, can that change this year? Watch out as well for Macy Priess of Dunlap as she a potential wildcard as she went 2:19 last year and was a 3A state qualifier.
The 1600m might be the best race of the day as it is an absolute star-studded field. Teammates Priess and Saniya Mathew of Dunlap are the top two seeds in the field. With the 800m right beforehand how well will Priess look though? Mathew is the Eagles star freshman that was an all-stater this past cross-country season. How well will that translate to the track? Anna Perry and Alexi Fogo of Eureka were on fire this past fall. Especially Perry who took 4th place at the 1A State Meet. Will we see a breakout track season from the breakout sophomore? Adding in there top returners like Kaitlin Skeate of Bloomington, Maia Italia of Rosary, Rachel Koon of Monticello, and Elizabeth Sims of Mahomet-Seymour, this is a race you can not miss.
The High Jump and Pole Vault will highlight the field events-
The high jump will be mouth-watering for diehard high jump fans as Carly Tucker of Metamora and Brooke Probst of Indian Creek go head-to-head. Tucker is one of the top returning high jumper in the country as she went 5-8 last year at the state meet. The future redbird will be looking to show off this year especially in front of her future college coaches will most likely be in attendance. Probst has already had a strong start to her sophomore campaign as she went 5-3.75 at the Showcase a little under a month ago. The Timberwolves star went 5-5 last year as a freshman, what will she be able to do this year?
The pole vault is a who's who event as there is plenty of all-staters in the field. Possibly the biggest name is Lillianna Ifft now of Bloomington who went 12-3 last May. Ifft's family moved to Bloomington this past summer which means the next star of the Ifft clan moves up to 3A. After watching Yasmin Ruff of Oak Park-River Forest go 12-3 this past weekend, it most likely has Ifft feeling some type of way and will be looking to one-up her this weekend. Landis Brandon of Monticello was close to the 12 foot barrier last year going 11-9 and will be looking to eclipse that mark this season. Mara Pletcher of Mahomet-Seymour is a true wildcard as she has been a star in the past. Going 12-0 as a sophomore, Pletcher had a very rough junior campaign but looks to be back on track after going 11-8.25 at the Showcase last month. Could we possibly see a few 12+ foot performances this weekend?