Indiana Wesleyan University; Marion IN-
There was a semblance of normalcy if only for a few hours in the heart of Hoosier land. And leave it up to the distance running community that came out in force (within local COVID-19 guidelines) in order to complete things. Some of the top athletes featured were primarily from Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Regardless of the homestead, it was an opportunity for some kids who stood persevered through some pretty tough times in order to get in a quality effort.
The emergence of Will Jefferson in the 1600m was a bit of a surprise. The Whiteland IN HS rising senior opened the meet with a very crisp personal best 4:17.67. It was a bold move during the opening third lap that produced a great effort. Robert Perry of Burlington Central was the only entrant from Illinois. Perry may have gone out a tad fast with an opening second 67-seconds for the 400. After rebounding from a tough third circuit, he was still able to drop a PB 4:42.45.
The girl's 3200m hype was pre-empted by a much different outcome than anyone had expected... other than Lily Cridge of Indy Bishop Chatard. Cridge, who finished her freshman campaign, had a secret training weapon in Cole Hocker the former national champion cross country runner from Indy Cathedral. Cridge appeared to hold back with a knit-tight group during the first half in approximately 5:24. She along with Katrina Schlenker of Batavia seemed to be in position for something fast. However, it was Cridge that dropped a massive surge in the pursing laps and completely distanced herself from the pack. The ending result was a big PB of 10:36.34.
Cover boy Izaiah Steury of Angola IN came with a strong anticipated dual against the freshman phenom Kole Mathison of Carmel IN in a 3200m showdown. The pair would trade leadoff for most of the race which included an opening mile in 4:40. Steury seemed more intent of winning as he stretched a few meters lead to about 10 on the bell lap. The end result was a resounding win 9:15.76-9:19.65. There is no doubt these two stallions will battle over the never several years for the distance king crown. Locally, Finn Gallagher of Lyons Township is ready to step up this season and be a factor for the Lions this xc season. Gallagher ran a smooth race that ended in a new PR of 9:51.49- his first high school outdoors race. Quinn Rudy of Hersey was cruising, upset by his time afterward he said he was gearing up for the college scene at Taylor University.
The final event of the day was perhaps the most impactful: the girls 800m. Hoosier favorites and area foes Maddie Russin of Crown Point and Amaya Turner of Wheeler was ready. The opening pace led by a male rabbit pulled the pair to a 61.5 400m. Russin kept the pressure on the backstretch and move well and won comfortably in 2:07.86- good for US#3. The IL contingent was a little farther back, as Kaylie Politza of Lemont and Maleigha Huston of Bushnell-Prairie City both finished 6th and 7th overall. This was a good time for Huston as it was only one second off her PR in her first track race of the season. Politza was a little bit of her PR but that was again due to her gearing up for an exciting upcoming cross-country season.
Crown Point High School
Wheeler High School
Roncalli High School
Lemont High School
Bushnell-Prairie City High School
Plainfield East High School
Meet director Courtney Bishop toiled high and low to get the meet established
Finn Gallagher (So., LaGrange [Lyons Twp]) 3200m- 9:51.49
Quinn Rudy (Sr., Arlington Heights [Hersey]) 3200m- 10:10.09
Schlenker 3200m- 11:26.79
Kaylie Politza (So., Lemont) 800m- 2:17.06
Maleigha Huston (Jr., Bushnell-Prairie City) 800m- 2:17.17
Arianna Burkes (Jr., Plainfield East) 800m- 2:27.71