New York City-
The athletes, parents, and coaches could not wait to get reacquainted with the indoor national championship as well as the mecca of all tracks, the Armory. For the contingent that represented Illinois on this first day, it was a fantastic experience.
Akili Parekh (Jr., Chicago Latin) kicked off the day for the distance explosion as he took 19th in the Rising Stars 2mile. Parekh clocked an indoor personal best 9:40.01, good for 25th place.
Maxwell Mitchell (Sr., Naperville Neuqua Valley) did not advance in his 400m Championship prelim, taking 28th in 50.00.
John Hannah III (Fr., Southland College Prep) got off to a rocket start in the first 200 of his freshman, he just misses his personal best running 53.89.
In what undoubtedly was the event of the day for our kids, the two-mile produced some great dividends. Micah Wilson (Sr., St. Charles East) got it started in section two when he blazed out to an early lead. Staked to the first mile in 4:31, Wilson appeared to be on his way to a personal best and perhaps a time in the low nine-minute range. Unfortunately, it was not to as he would tire down the stretch and finish fifth in his section with a time of 9:15.99. The final outcome for Wilson would be 38th overall.
Luke Wiley (Sr., Warren) was a bit more reserved than Wilson in his section three run of the two-mile. He hit the first mile in 4:30 and looked remarkably fresh. Over the next four laps, Wiley was with the leaders and actually took the lead. However, his victory was stolen on the penultimate circuit by eventual winner Amiri Whittle of Hackensack, NJ. Whittle ran 9:04.10 to Wiley's 9:05.12.
Nick Falk (Sr., New Trier) continues his great senior year and once again dazzled the ones back home with his All-American fifth-place finish in the two-mile. Falk ran a personal best 8:57.65 to win section four of five. His mark en route 3200m (8:54.98). The setup was a steady pace in which the first mile was in 4:32. Falk ran his best over the second half of the race which ultimately produced the state's fastest time and No. 16 all-time for Illinois competitors. Falk returned on Sunday to compete in the championship mile. He took third in his section 4:15.59 PB and 34th overall. His friend and foe Spencer Werner (Sr., Loyola Academy) was 35th in 4:15.65.
Wilson Georges (Sr., Bartonville Limestone) did not have his best day despite running well during the first half of the race of the "championship" section five. Wilson would finish 35th overall in 9:14.60.
Alex Sohn (Jr., Normal Community) earned All-American honors in the shot put, taking sixth in the championship division. Sohn's best effort was 60-4.75. He had three throws over the 60-foot mark and establishes himself as a legitimate title threat in the 3A division.
East St. Louis Sr competed in the 4x200m rising stars and placed 12th in 1:34.23. The Flyers also competed in the rising stars 4x400 and placed 19th in 3:34.18. Demarlynn Taylor (Jr) ran the championship 60H in 8.61. Kenneth Buchanon (So) advanced to the rising stars 60m in 7.18.
In the final race of the day that featured runners from Illinois, Hunter Whitney (Jr., Chicago Lane Tech) had an interesting journey in getting to the Armory for his first national-level race. Entered in the rising stars mile, Whitney departed from his hotel several hours early but was caught in ugly NYC rush hour traffic that also featured an accident. Rather than completely panicking, he took his backpack and jumped out of the family vehicle, and jogged several miles to the venue. There was not enough time to go through his normal pre-race sequence. Whitney endured some nerves of the ordeal and produced the best race of his season by taking ninth overall in 4:19.65.
Ryan Schaefer (Jr., Glenbrook South) the state's second best long jumper did not have his best day taking 15th with a 21-2.75.
Charles Cruse (Sr., Normal Community) is the state leader in the pole vault and he placed 16th with a clearance of 14-9. Paul Migas (So., Lake Villa) also placed 16th and Malakai Schaad (Sr., Geneseo) took 23rd.
Elia Ton-That (Sr., Chicago Northside Prep) took her claim in two events over the weekend. On day one, Ton-That ran her first two-mile of the season. The 16 lap affair started in section three of five. Ton-That started out in the back of the pack for the first six laps before gaining a position with the leaders at the first mile in 5:14. Ton-That would eventually take over the race and win the section in a personal best 10:26.56. The time would establish a new state best for Ton-That. She ran the mile on Sunday and clocked 4:53.68- good for 18th overall.
Olivia Campbell (Sr., Pittsfield) picks up her first All-American honor on a fantastic performance in the championship weight throw. In what could be her future event at the next level, Campbell heaved the weight ball in a US#4 53-2.75 on her first attempt and that held up for the runner-up spot. Alice Mihas (Jr., Chicago Latin) took 27th in the event.
"Ali" Allison Ince (So., Normal Community) earned another all-american honor in the 800, taking fourth in a tactical affair. Her time was 2:09.10. She returned a short time later in the championship mile and finished 28th in 4:56.05.
Mary Grace Hegberg (Sr., Arlington Heights St. Viator) placed 27th in the championship mile in 4:55.93
Audrey Allman (Sr., Glenbard West) had the best finish in the mile for stateside girls. She took 14th in a massive PB 4:52.74.
Aly Negovetich (Sr., Grant) ran 5:00.87 in the championship mile, good for 52nd place.
Mariam Azeez (Sr., Lincoln-Way East) slid into New York City and placed seventh in the Championship long jump with a best effort of 18-11.25.
McLaine Leik (Jr., Chicago Latin) ran her first national race and placed 44th in the Rising Stars 400m (1:01.88). She also competed in the 800m and ran 2:23.83.
Livia Binder (Jr., Maroa-Forsyth) competed in the Rising Stars pole vault and cleared 11-10.75.
Tessani Foster (Sr., Plainfield Central) cleared 11-7.75 in the championship pole vault. She took 29th overall.