Adam Neale was a key figure in Lane Tech's team championship win
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Lane Stadium; Chicago IL-
The student-athletes finally received a semblance of a championship feeling after missing out over the past two seasons due to Covid-19. In addition to last year's outdoor campaign being shuttered, the Chicago Public Schools Sports Administration did not approve the 2021 indoor season.
With the outdoor season being pushed back several weeks by the IHSA, it was supposed to mean warmer climes for the participants heading into Memorial Weekend. Not so fast. It is usually sunny and in the 80s on the Fahrenheit side of the game. On this occasion, the Mercury barely topped 55 degrees at game time.
2021 has been a season of uncertainty and with that the lack of quality data on teams was apparent. There would be no pre-meet favorite despite host Lane Tech coming in as the two-time defending league champion. Perennial power Morgan Park essentially shuttered its season. Whitney Young, another dominant team in recent years, had been in hibernation mode. Even many of the Indian's corps returners suffered through "Covid-itis" in terms of staying fit. It has a northside Chicago feast as Lane defeated Taft 159-94.5 in the points department.
Be as it may, the show must go on.
4x800: Usually one of the strong suits dominated by either Jones Prep, Lane Tech, or Whitney Young. Lane used a strong 2:02.4 leadoff leg by senior Adam Neale that proved to be insurmountable. The winning time was 8:30.27.
Triple Jump: Abraham Ailemen could be someone to watch for in 2022. He leaped a lifetime best 44-6.25 (IL#18) to earn his first individual title
Juan is #1 here: Juan Manaog was determined to make his last year of high school a memorable one. The Lane Tech senior was defeated coming into the championship and he departed unscathed. First up, the 4x100 and Manaog took a handoff from teammate Drew Donohue and motored away on the second leg. It was a pivotal spot because a tight group of teams was on the Indian's back throughout the race. The final tally was a 44.23 winner for Lane.
Next up for Manaog was the 100m dash. He prevailed against a tough headwind and opponent in Jumario Johnson of Hubbard 11.36-11.46 (-3.6). Manaog was not done. His masterpiece race, the 400m, was a close but convincing win vs. teammate Jaylin Jones 51.06-51.99. Finally, the final 40-point execution was a thrilling win in the 200m with a time of 23.33 (-3.5).
800m: It was a long time coming for Taft senior Lucas Guidone. The CPL cross country champion has delighted himself as a middle-distance runner. Trailing with less than one lap remaining, Guidone shifted into high gear and pulled away for the win in 2:01.57. His teammate Michael Polizzi closed out the last 50m strong and took second with a time of 2:02.67.
Distance double win for Jones' ace: The Eagles have always prided themselves on quality production in the distance department. After a solid second place in the 4x800, it was time for Andy Niser to go to work. The Vanderbilt University-bound senior worked the first half of the race with teammate Luke Benes before pulling away for the easy victory in 9:36.42. Niser needed all the extra energy he could muster for the nightcap in defeating Mather's Kevin Gee 4:29.35-4:29.59. The win came inside the final straightaway as Niser fought off several surges from Gee.