If you've paid any attention to track over the last decade, you are probably wondering "why on Earth has Colin not written about the 2015 boys state meet yet??" Well, we are back, in lieu of the much anticipated IHSA Track & Field State Series.
Five years ago, Illinois saw some of the best athletes in track & field across the board and around the big blue circle.
Five years ago, we also were revolutionizing our coverage of meets here at MileSplit Illinois. But first, we must recognize the action.
Kahmari Montgomery's 46.24 400m. Jon Davis' 9:05.23 3200m. Josh Eiker's 10.53 100m and his 21.20 200m. Jamari Ward's 25-0 ¼ long jump. Cahokia's 41.12 4x100, oh and their 1:25.83 4x200m... AND their 3:17.57 4x400m.
Let me tell you, this weekend had no shortage of action to be covered. Eight records from this weekend still stand. The athletes were putting on a show like nobody's business and got the ever-so-loyal audience to their feet, even in the face of thunderstorm delays and the baking heat.
Tolono rocked the 1A competition. Cahokia championed 2A with more points than all of the three teams that tied for 2nd place had combined. Edwardsville held off a tough crowd with their widespread talent to win 3A.
First off, our team was sturdy and reliable. Editor Tony Jones rallied his A-Team and I was blessed to be a part of it. We were doing video, live tweeting of results, commentating on the action, and, of course, making plenty of photographs. Although this go-around we were doing photos LIVE on Twitter.
Sharing these moments in real-time, that was a privilege. I look back on this weekend as a highlight of my life. I was learning and I was engaged in one of the hottest weekends in track history here. We really do this for the fans. The feeling of engaging with friends and family through our coverage as they celebrate the great athletes - it embodies why we do what we do. It feels right.
Looking back from the current, quarantine state of the world, I am particularly reminiscent of the leaps and bounds we made as a reporting crew five years ago. Our teamwork and hustle grew into a long-lasting impact on how we operate to this day. My love for breaking news is rooted in this one weekend of reporting, not to mention my patience with the frequently faulty software that comes with live image transferring.
These picture-perfect columns have helped ground me through reflecting on the beautiful community and action that is rooted in Illinois running. I owe so much of my livelihood and love for reporting to this community and the last few months of staying at home has disrupted so much of what is normal and engaging in my life.
This was the first year since I started working with MileSplit in eight years where I was not at the Prospect Wanner Invitational. Usually, I would be gearing up to make the trek down to Charleston, Ill. for an uneven suntan and countless memories to be had, despite juggling the course load of college.
But if there is one thing I have learned from IHSA competitions over the years are that each year is more exciting than the last. This year, we have a very different definition of excitement - shock, confusion, uncertainty, you name it. Next year, we will be back, safe, and charged for something new and memorable.
Hang in there, Illinois. Thanks for the memories and for letting me share a few of mine.