Who says kids of today don't have the passion or fortitude of their peers from back in the day? If you drove past Hinsdale Central High School on Sunday afternoon you would have witnessed a massive gathering of teenage athletes getting ready for the third edition of the Neuqua/Hinsdale Milk Mile. The gathering which featured over 60 participants from nearly a dozen schools along with seven full teams, made this one of the coolest events in high school.
The milk mile is a novel concept born from the creativeness from team members that hail from Neuqua Valley and Hinsdale Central. This year's key organizers Chris Brenk (Hinsdale Central) and Jake Mceneaney (Neuqua Valley) worked with their own teammates in assembling a great event that ultimately raised money for ailing Minooka coach Mark Smith and his family. The student-athletes were able to raise $840 for Smith who is suffering from cancer.
As for the event itself, there were several undercard races leading up to the championship. Seth Gunter set the standard in the second open race with a fine time of 5:08. He was able to complete the task amid a track littered with plastic cups, a yak trash bin, and of course a few competitors who spilled their guts.
The championship race featured standout runners such as Blake Evertsen (Hinsdale Central), Vince Zona (Lyons Township), and Connor Horn (Neuqua Valley) and Jack Sebok (Plainfield North). Middle-distance stars such as Isaiah Robinson (Neuqua Valley) and John Partee (Plainfield South) joined in the fun. Even emerging superstar Jack Aho (Grayslake Central) was in the house. He was almost persuaded to partake if not for the upcoming Brooks PR meet in Seattle. Maybe it was thought of having chocolate milk in his system a bad sigh and he was content on laughter and supporting his Hawaiian shirt-wearing teammates.
Two-time defending champion Aidan Livingston (Neuqua Valley) definitely took this event seriously. Like the many other athletes warming up Livingston did the same plus a few drink/spill techniques. He was clocked at downing 12 ounces of milk in less than three seconds while walking.
The race got underway a mad fast chug for the 50 plus runners and off to the race. Robinson, Partee, and several others came home in about 62 seconds. That time without milk would be very competitive. Livingston started to come alive after the second drink session in 2:24. It would be he and Partee on the final lap. Partee is a 1:52 half-miler and he was ahead of Livingston down the homestretch and on his way to victory. Oh but somehow he misjudged the finish line amid cups and the original starting mile which represented the 1600m. Livingston seized the moment and dashed and weaved through lapped drinkers and passed Partee to win in a record 4:58. Although it was a fun time Livingston graciously accepted his third title in a row and Partee a bit disappointed but not feeling well from the effects of drinking milk and running like a champion. All in all, it was a great time and hopefully, an awesome event will continue to grow.