Ben Gibson shook up his competition all day long at the IL Jr High Elite Invite
New opportunities did not go to waste... instead, there were numerous stars that emerged from a time period of darkness.
The sprints and hurdles got things cookin'-
One of the best things about track and field is seeing the emergence of new young talent. It started with local product and 8th grader Donovan Starr who attends Evans Middle School in Bloomington. Although he was not a marquee name coming into the weekend, he left as someone that will be on the radar in 2022. Starr won the 100m (11.52) and high jump (5'10.75"). He would finish second in the 200m with a time of 23.78.
The young man who won the 8th grade 200m was Clayton Lakatos of Edwardsville in 23.71. He avenged his Lincoln Middle School teammate Darren Wilson's loss in the 100m to Starr. Lakatos had won the 110HH at the start of the meet amid the loud cheers. His proud father Chad Lakatos, who is the Edwardsville HS headman, was one of them and surely he enjoyed the time of 15.10 as much as the win.
Lakatos teammate Lose Epenesa did the job in the field events. That last name sounds familiar, doesn't it? Well, his older brother AJ Epenesa starred in the discus and shot put for Edwardsville before going on to the University of Iowa and later the NFL. Lose won the DT 162'9" and SP 49'0.50". He is going to be a big time star in high school!
Benjamin Gibson hails from Chicago Latin Jr High and he is destined to be a star in the distance arena. Gibson had run 4:31 in the 1600m this season. But his competitors seemed to play the cat and mouse game for the first three laps to Gibson's delight. "I don't do well with the heat so I decided to sit back and wait," said Gibson. With less than 300 to go, Gibson bolted to an easy win in 4:44.63. Gibson returned later in the meet and took the gold medal in the 800m. His 2:05.20 was two seconds better than the equally talented Ignacio Escamilla of Bolingbrook.