Kankakee proved who is in number #1 on Eastern Illinois University soil
#1 Kankakee did not feel the pressure of upholding the honor of the lofty ranking as you would think. In last weekend's girl's state championship inside of O'Brien Stadium, a number of the boys contingent was in full force for support. They obviously gained strength and confidence from the Lady Kays. Their fearless leader head coach Marquis Lowe is always around to provide a level-headed acumen. Kankakee prevailed over Mt. Zion and Mt. Vernon tallying 62 points vs. 34 for their trailing foes.
This classification skated through unseasonably cool temperatures in the preliminary round, but the action was nonetheless hot and a good foresight into the championship. So we begin to detail the key elements.
4x800: Chicago Payton rode the top prelim mark of 8:05.07 but there was a feeling that Lincoln would be the team to beat. Oak Park Fenwick had the early lead after the first exchange. But soon, Lincoln took the helm and controlled the race flow with Payton on their heels. The Railers got to their ace senior Garrett Slack before the Grizzlies could mount a final attack on anchor. Slack baited junior Evan Rainville into a fast opening pace under 54-seconds. The difference between Slack and Rainville is speed endurance and the ability to finish. Slack proceeded to apply pain and pressure, so much so that he concluded his leg with an eye-popping 1:51.95 split! The final record was IL#8- 7:51.53. Payton ran an outstanding IL#11- 7:55.09 for the runner-up spot.
4x100: It was a survive and advance affair in the prelim round for the most dangerous and unsettling relay on the event chart. Kankakee kept their same order with Jayon Morrow (So) on the second leg and Jyaire Hill (Jr) on the anchor. The concoction was perfect as well as solid transitions and stick play. The Kay's rocked the field in a school-record and IL#3- 41.91. Overall, the Kays were the only team in a merge under 42-seconds.
3200: There was a feeling that Drew Rogers (Sr., Herscher) would win the race easily despite having company for the majority of the race. It was crowded for two kilometers before Rogers and Michael Schumacher (Sr., St. Viator) broke away from the pack. Rogers turned on the jets on the final circuit and won in 9:16.38.
110HH: The top seed and undefeated Dewayne Johnson (Sr., Pontiac) only needed to get over the hurdles clean for his first state title. He was the heavy favorite coming in and the state overall leader. Johnson demolished the field in 14.07 (+1.1). Demarlynn Taylor (Jr., E. St. Louis Sr) took second in 14.66.
100: Keegan Fogarty (Sr., Princeton) had the fastest qualifying (10.83) but he would place ninth in the final due to an apparent injury. The winner would be freshman Chris Nelson (Herrin) who ran down the field in the final 40 meters to take the victory in 10.70.
800: The question after 90 minutes could Garrett Slack repeat his great 4x800 carry exploits? He burned a ton of octane in leading his team to the big victory. Immediately after the gun sounded, it was he and Gavin Genisio (So., Benton) that set the tone. Genisio moved to the front through the first 400 in 54-seconds. Genisio rolled through the 600 still in the lead. Slack hung tight and made his final move with 150 remaining and closed out the race in a crowd-pleasing and record-breaking 1:51.42. Slack's mark establishes itself as the top time in the state. Genisio took second in a personal best 1:53.15. This may have been the deepest field in classification history as 11 of the 12 finalists broke 2:00.
4x200: Less heralded Herrin already opened eyes with its newfound star Chris Nelson. That confidence rose up against mighty Kankakee as clean exchanges to boot led to an upset 1:27.48-1:28.14. Herrin clocked the third-fastest time in the state.
400: The most anticipated sprint match-up was right here with Jayon Morrow and Jackson Gilbert (Jr., Urbana). They were the only performers under 49-seconds in the prelims. As expected both speedsters battled like championship heavyweight fighters- refusing to let up on the blows exchanged. Finally, Gilbert wore down Morrow to win in 47.48. A valiant Morrow was rewarded in 47.90. It was the first time that more than one runner ran under 48-seconds in the 2A division.
300H: Classification and prelim leader Matthew Marcum (Sr., Rock Falls) closed down Demarlynn late in the race over the final hurdles to win in 39.59.
1600: Everyone knew that Limestone senior standout Wilson Georges was the favorite despite the presence of a lurking Drew Rogers. Georges is the only runner to have broken 4:10 thus far and we appeared laser-focused on completing his IHSA career in style. Right away Georges took the opening pace out faster than he ever had in an attempt to break the field and make sure no one would even think of upsetting him. Rogers handled the 60.9 but was no match for the torrid clip that Georges was throwing down. He hit the 800 in 2:02.5. It was all but over then and Georges came home in a new class record 4:08.58.
200: All eyes were on Morrow and Jackson but they forgot about EJ Nwagwu (Sr., Chicago St. Rita) who was just as potent here. Nwagwu had the second-fastest time entering the final at 21.86. From the gun it was all Nwagwu who got out well and glided the curve into first place entering the final phase of the race. He crossed in a PB 21.78 (-1.8) before Morrow who threw up his hands in the excitement,
4x400: The team title was a formality at this point but Kankakee wanted to show they had depth and determination for the showstopper. The Kays trailed for much of the race until the anchor leg. Jyaire Hill brought the baton home ahead of Richmond-Burton with a 48.47 split- 3:21.01 overall.
Paul Migas details his wonderful day at the pole vault office
High Jump: Teegan Davis (Jr., Princeton) went from ninth a year ago to the winner's circle with a leap of 6'6.25". Davis had fewer misses than the competitors entering his final stage. Davis was also the Top Times Champion.
Long Jump: Jacob Morrison (Jr., Mt. Vernon) rode an up and down wave this season but found the right time to be the best on his final attempt to dethrone junior Nicholas Deloach of Cahokia with a jump of 22'9.75"
Triple Jump: Deloach would not be stopped here as he commanded the event in the prelim round. Deloach added on more length out to 46'4" and almost two feet better than the field.
Pole Vault: Sophomore Paul Migas of Lakes may be the future of this event. He certainly is shooting for the great Zach Bradford formerly of Bloomington HS and now starring at the University of Kansas. Migas on this occasion cleared 15'5" which is under his personal best of 15'9." He took a few cracks at 16'1" but did not complete the task. He will be above that rate in due time.
Discus Throw: It was an unlikely competitor junior David Russell of IVC that took home the gold medal on his second attempt in the finals round (171'9"). It was also his lifetime best to boot.
Shot Put: JehChys Brown (Jr., Centralia) threw a lifetime best 59'6.25" which is the seventh best performance of the season.