The intensity of the namesake invitational was evident in virtually every race
Do you know what happens when Detroit meets Chicago? It could be a house music dance or maybe the Bulls vs. the Pistons basketball escapades. How about the Bears and Lions dueling at Soldier Field? Well, none of the above on this occasion. Instead, it's high school track and field at its finest in the still freshly dipped Gately Track & Field Indoor Stadium.
Track and Field in the Midwest have been dominated by the talent coming out of Michigan. On this occasion, it happen to be the Mighty Motor City Track Club based out of the greater Detroit area. Led by head coach Brandon Jiles, this professional assembly of prep track and field athletes came in took care of business.
The first order of the day was the 60H and Nonah Waldron (Jr., Oak Park/Motor City). Waldron dashed through the prelim with ease and was the only one under nine seconds with a meet record. Waldron reset her record in the final and just missed her own national lead (8.32) with a near-perfect 8.38.
Staying with the dashes, enter Delea Martins (Jr., Shorewood, WI). She was an emerging star last year at this time. The Milwaukee Mustangs TC performer raised her intensity level to meet the competition. Martins copped the overall top time in the 60m prelims (7.76) and later held on for the victory in a personal best and state leading 7.70. Martins would later take second in a hotly contested 200m to Miami, Florida native Jayda Bushay 24.90-24.98. Bushay made sure she returned home with a gold medal after taking second in the 60m (7.77).
Motor City's trademark event is the 400m and they did not disappoint. The Michigan crew took five of the top six spots. Gabrielle Jeffries entered the scene to take claim of an event that she loves. The Motor City affiliate who reps Bloomfield Hills HS fought tooth and nail with her teammate Waldron before holding on to win 56.96-56.97. A delightful blend also had a middle-distance runner sophomore Kylee King who won section 7 in 58.47 to finish fourth overall. King previously won the 800m in a meet record 2:13.85.
Though she may have been kept on the back burner because of the massive sprint damage, distance runner Kaylie Politza produced several valiant efforts. In what appears to be setting up for a great senior season, the Oklahoma State University bound-senior from Valparaiso IN decided to scratch the 800m and race the 400m where she took a strong third in 57.58. The next event was the 1600m and with completely tired legs, Politza lured the field and particularly the talented senior Jordyn Miller of Mundelein into a slow early pace. Politza fell behind several steps before opening up on the final lap to win a strategic 5:17.57.
Ella O'Neall (Sr., Stevenson) took home gold and copped the state best shot put mark of 41'6.5"
A variety of solid performances produced here was sufficient enough for the track fan's palate. Georgia native Nagari Tophia traveled a long way to not be noticed. He scooted past the 60m in 6.98 and continued on with enthusiasm outside of the track area. Tophia didn't have too much time to celebrate because he had to run the 400m. Leading through a swift 200m, things got a bit cluttered with just the final curve remaining. Maxwell Mitchell (Sr., Naperville Neuqua Valley) had an opportunity to win it, but he strangely slingshotted from the prime lane one to three which allowed Andrew Regnier (Jr., Milwaukee Mustangs) to seize the opening and win in 49.53. Mitchell and Tophia got consolation prizes under 50-seconds at 49.78 and 49.86. Tophia closed the sprints out with a win in the 200m, clocking 22.31.
Regnier won the 800m earlier in the day without much resistance with a time of 1:55.87. Hitting the first 400 in 55.xx, he was able to coast home with ease and the only finisher under 2:00.
Benny Diaz of Grand Rapids, Michigan came in as the heavy favorite in a slim 60HH field. He would set a meet record and drop a US#14 8.04 mark.
It was a nice opener and personal best performance by Ryder James of Paxton-Buckley-Loda. The University of Missouri bound James did not play any games, going out in 60.xx for the first 400m. Sophomore Nicholas Strayer of Lyons Twp IL would challenge him for a good percentage of the race. James collected himself on the bell lap and won in a PB 4:19.23.