The Top 5 Items To Watch At The Minooka Smith Strong Invite

All eyes will be upon the central campus of Minooka High School Friday evening


Date/Time: Friday, May 21st

Location: Minooka Community High School - Central Campus

Meet Time: Field Events - 3:00pm Final Running Events - 4:30pm 

4:30pm: Fr/So 4x800m - 1 section
4:42pm: Varsity 4x800m Relay - 1 section
4:55pm: Fr/So 4x100m Relay - 2 sections
5:05pm: Varsity 4x100m Relay - 2 sections
5:15pm: 3200m Run - 2 sections
5:40pm: 110m High Hurdles - 4 sections
5:55pm: 100m Dash Finals - 4 sections
6:10pm: 800m Run - 2 sections
6:20pm: Fr/So 4x200m Relay - 2 sections
6:30pm: 4x200m Relay - 2 sections
6:40pm: 400m Dash - 4 sections
6:55pm: 300m Int Hurdles - 4 sections
7:10pm: 1600m Run - 2 sections
7:25pm: 200m Dash - 4 sections
7:40pm: Fr/So 4x400m Relay - 2 sections
7:55pm: 4x400m Relay - 2 sections


Schools: Andrew, Batavia, Homewood-Flossmoor, Downers Grove North (Distance), Hinsdale Central (1600), Huntley, Jones College Prep (Distance), Kaneland, Lockport Township, Lyons Township (Distance), Minooka, Neuqua Valley, Normal West, Oswego, Plainfield North, Plainfield South, Sandburg, Waubonsie Valley, York

How to follow on Twitter: @milesplitil #SmithStrong

Opening thoughts: Maybe Mother Nature is ready to balance things out for the track and field Gods in terms of extended quality weather. The air temperature is expected to be in the upper 70s and lower 80s with slightly gusty winds. It is expected to die down as the meet progresses into the evening and night. Of course, this is a necessary element for a great track & field meet.

What to watch for:

1. The Varsity 4x800 Relay-

-Did you expect anything less for the jumpoff. For an event typically the crown jewel of Illinois track and field, it has not been so far. In fact, the only Midwest state with a lesser rating here is Minnesota. Well, that will all change this evening as many of the recent traditional powers are listed and ready for war.

Five of the top ten units are listed here. Top-rated Neuqua Valley has 7:58.30 but will not have middle-distance ace Nicolas Dovalovsky or Austin Burke on it. However, Minooka, York, Sandburg, or Lyons have the capability of rolling a new standard. Anything in the 5:55 range for the anchors could net the season's first 7:50 clocking.

2. The 1600m-

-Here is another event that is sure to produce major dividends depending on how the opening half is conducted. Dovalovsky is the favorite despite not racing the event outdoors thus far this season. But he has a 4:14.59 from the indoor season and that is scary. Look for a strong challenge and headhunting attempt to overtake freshman phenom's Gavin Genisio of Benton's 4:13.93 state lead.

We absolutely cannot overlook sophomore Daniel Watcke of Hinsdale Central. The state leader in the 800m is very strong and though he has only run 4:23, there is a sense that could be one of the most underrated stats on paper. Ryan Maseman (Plainfield North), Mickey Vreeland (York), Burke, and Andy Niser (Chicago Jones) are some names to watch.

3. The Showstopper (4x400)-

-If it were not for the distance races, the event that raises fans out of their seats would be the talk of the meet. One would assume it's all hands on deck here and with good weather, it's time to run a fast time. Neuqua Valley is deep and could challenge the state leading 3:23.99. Senior standout Maxwell Mitchell will be on it. Batavia, Minooka, and Plainfield North have top 10 marks in the state. Even Plainfield South with the dangerous senior Niko Schultz is a threat. The Cougars 3:30.80 is tainted in that it was a result of a dropped baton at the Hunt Invite several weeks ago.

4. It could be a grueling 400m between Mitchell and Schultz-

-They haven't been the center of a headline together until now. Schultz was the darling of the indoor season in the middle-distance races and Mitchell did his thing quietly. Both gents come in with 49.94 seed times. The section #4 race could decide who is the best long sprinter outside of Edwardsville superstar Brandon Battle.

5. Kaneland has two amazing pole vaulters in the field-

-Ted Allen and Aiden Gatz recently made the news as being the first vaulters in quite some time from the same school to clear 15-feet simultaneously. They did it at Burlington Central and with the stakes a bit higher this time, let's see if they get to 15-6 which would put them into the top six in the state. The pole vault is always one of those fun events to watch when there is a healthy competition going on.