Date: July 7th, 2020
Location: Indiana Wesleyan University
7:30pm EST- 1600m
8:00pm EST- 3200m
8:40pm EST- 800m
The skinny: The return of bonafide track action even if it's in a distance oriented spectrum, is a welcome sign for the future of prep events in the Midwest. Thanks to meet director Courtney Bishop's careful and crafty resilience in finding a venue for the betterment of student-athletes. Now, it's time to compete!
Although the majority of top distance runners are busy getting ready and fit for the upcoming cross country season, there are several shining stars to keep an eye on. The girl's 3200m field appears to be a solid one with our state's very own rising junior Katrina Schlenker of Batavia. Schlenker has been a powerful force in big events involving kids from other states. Remember when she upset the magnificent Roisin Willis of Wisconsin at the 2019 Distance Night in Palatine 1600m? Schlenker could walk away with another big win but Faith Duncan of Ohio will be a strong challenge based on her 10:41.60 best during the indoor season. There are several other girls under 11:00 in the field.
As for the boys, there is a little deception among the 3200m field. Carmel IN standout Kole Mathison produced a freshmen best 14:55 for 5k in early May. He is certainly a future name to watch but in the interim, he is better than the 9:31 seed time. If Izaiah Steury's fitness is up to par, it should be a great battle. The rising junior from Angola IN, just like Mathison, has big aspirations for the future, but after dropping a 9:11.88i, the time is now.
The race to watch will be the girl's 800m finale. Led by the talented novice Amaya Turner of Wheeler IN is ready to improve on her US #3 2:10.01. The rising senior has trained with the legendary coach Thomas Boatright of the Aurora Flyers Track Club during the off-season. State mate Maddie Russin is a recent graduate of Crown Point HS is a state runner up from 2019. Her personal best of 2:08.23 is something to keep an eye on before she heads off to Indiana University.
Quinn Rudy (Sr., Arlington Heights [Hersey]) 3200m (PR- 9:49.81)
-The recent graduate's main performance was a solid 15:11 from the 2019 state xc championship. Rudy will attend nearby Taylor University so getting in a race ahead of schedule in the Hoosier state should be a delight.
Finn Gallagher (So., LaGrange [Lyons Township]) 3200m (PR- 9:53.64i)
Coach Mike Danner will be excited to see his young gun-running in this meet. Gallagher is running in his first track season after a rough sophomore xc season. His only FAT 3200m happened at the Proviso West 55th Annual Invite where he ran a 9:53.64. He has the possibility to go sub 9:45 here.
Maia Italia (Jr., Aurora [Rosary]) 1600m (PR- 5:28.01i)
-The rising senior has potential to be a name to watch in 2021 in the middle-distance races.
Kaylie Politza (So., Lemont) 800m (PR- 2:13.48)
Politza was riding a high throughout the indoor season as she ran a 2:17.20 at a quad meet just before the shutdown happened, but this isn't the first time that she has had to deal with adversity this year. The Lemont native came back from a stress fracture with five meets left in the xc season to take 5th place at the 2A state meet. Don't be surprised if Politza goes 2:11 here.
Maleigha Huston (Jr., Bushnell-Prairie City) 800m (PR- 2:16.00)
Huston will be a very interesting name to watch as she has been on the cusp of breaking out in the 800m for awhile now. The returning USATF All-American has all she needs to succeed. Finishing 2nd for 1A state in the 400m and going all-American in the 1500m, she just needs to find the proper middle ground to go 2:13. Is she in 2:13 shape? We will have to find out. The good thing for her is she seems to be a late-season bloomer.
Arianna Burkes (Jr., Plainfield East) 800m (PR- 2:20.29)
Burkes was revving up for a great junior campaign before COVID-19 hit. She ran an impressive 2:23.93 to win the 800m at the HF ABC Girls Showcase. Since she has been training hard with her father who she has had success running under as she ran her PR of 2:20.29 under him last year at the USATF Nationals.