It was a tight-knit pack in the elite girls' mile field
Though it was the second edition of the 8th running of the Magis Miles at the new St. Ignatius HS digs just a few blocks east of the main campus, the feeling of something new was in the air almost immediately upon entering the track and field complex. A total of 25 races that spanned nearly five hours were filled with smiles among old and new acquaintances as well the enjoyment of fine distance running.
Open races kicked off the evening-
There were a total of 12 races in this block, perhaps the most in meet history. It took ten races before someone broke into the 4:20s with Felix Boeing winning in 4:27.78. Two sections later senior Evan Morris of Deerfield dropped nearly 20 seconds off his best in 4:21.22. Five girls sections within that span of a dozen races and Lexie Noonan of St. Ignatius forged a victory late inside the final lap, clocking 5:37.11.
The main event was filled with a flurry of great performances-
The coach's race kicked off the evening schedule. Coach James Weissensel of Chicago Marist HS took it to his colleagues and won in 4:38.66.
The alumni race was filled with one particular colorful moment. Newly minted graduate turned alum and former standout runner Nick Kiley ran in a decked-out costume suit with a pair of Crocs. Kiley clocked 4:47.07 for the victory.
The top boys middle-schooler was Jack Jennings of Palatine who won a close race over David Shu of Hoffman Estates in 4:51.34. On the girls' side, it was Illinois mainstay Charlize-Trinity McKenzie of Wisconsin whose opening pace of 70-seconds could have challenged the elite high school field. McKenzie faded just like the rest of the field over the final two laps, but her time of 5:08.29 was still more than 11 seconds faster than anyone else.
The boys freshman race was a good one with the action forced upon us by Jacob Barraza of Dekalb and Tommy Nitz of Huntley who separated from everyone else after the halfway mark. Both are future stars who dueled virtually the entire race and finally, Barraza was able to pull away and outlast Nitz 4:28.95-4:29.39.
Two sections of the elite high school girls hit the scene. The first section was taken by freshman Ellie Anderson of Chicago Latin in 5:14.65. The latter "Ray Mayer Mile" would be a good one that featured Hinsdale Central junior Catie McCabe, junior Evelyn Hett of Jones Prep, freshman Sofia Arcuri of Maine South, and freshman Mia Kotler of Latin. As it would turn out, McCabe controlled the pace and the race from the gun with a first 440y in sluggish 1:17. Although McCabe could not shake Hett, there was no threat of her losing the race. McCabe motored home for the win in 4:59.49.
The boys enjoyed two energy-packed sections. In the opening stanza, senior Yasir Hirsi of Mather overtook senior Jake Phillips of Marist on the final lap for the win in 4:20.21. Once again, Hirsi displayed some hot dogging flair complete with verbal gestures to the fans and antagonizing head turnarounds as he approached the finish line.
The second section is where the big boys came to play and as expected they went out and competed. Micah Wilson (St. Charles East), Luke Wiley (Warren), Gavin Genisio (Benton), Colby Revord (Hinsdale Central), Declan Tunney (Sandburg), and Brock Rice (Sandburg) were many of the faces in the crowd.
Unexpectedly, it was Wilson who went out and set a pace that would lead to a cascade of blazing times. The opening 400 was in 60.5 followed by the 800 in 2:04.1. No pacesetter was needed with a group filled with guys capable of going under 4:10.
Wilson was still holding on as the group leader at the bell but Genisio who had been posted up on the outside of the leaders bolted to the front and surged hard on the backstretch. A bank of daylight was broken and he was in the clear, galloping home in for the win in 4:09.23. Genisio breathe a sigh of relief as he copped the state's top documented 1600m (4:07.71). Three others were under 4:11- Revord (4:10.34), Tunney (4:10.64), and Wiley (4:10.97).
The final girl's race would be the Magis Women's Championship Mile. It featured several former standouts now starring in college. Emma Watcke, formerly of Hinsdale Central, is now a sophomore at the U of Wisconsin. Former Latin runner Marianne Mihas now at Harvard University was also listed.
The opening lap was slower than the middle-school girls (72.9) and it did not improve much over the next circuit in 2:29.6. Lake Zurich junior Brooke Johnston of Lake Zurich was in the lead but only for a temporary moment.
The pace quickened as Watcke and senior Mary Grace Hegberg of St. Viator dropped sub-70-second splits. They had a few steps on Mihas and the field. Watcke's kick was a tab too much for Hegberg and the win goes to the collegian in 4:48.06.
The final race of the evening was the Magis Men's Championship Mile. The quest for a sub-4:00 effort was stricken from the record due to Brooks PR pro David Timlin (former Chicago Lane Tech/Indiana State U) having a sore foot flair up during his warmup.
The pace was quite pedestrian and was probably because the group expected to have someone lead or go at least 59.xx. Instead, it was 62.0 by Christopher Collet who ran for Seneca several years ago. Collet led at the halfway mark as well in 2:04.4. He endured a brief challenge by Ben Rosa formerly of Lake Forest with one lap remaining. Collet topped things off with a 58.5 final circuit to win in 4:05.01.