The action on the first day of the competition was incredibly intense!
Benedictine University was ground zero for what is known as the kick-off of the summer track and field season. Hundreds of runners and fans enjoyed a day with sunny and overcast skies that later dumped a traceable amount of precipitation on the action. It was a great day to be at the good ol' track stadium.
Some of the key clubs that were represented in many events were the Aurora Flyers, Legacy Runners TC, Illinois Flames, Illinois Shockers, and Elgin Sharks. Of course, there were various clubs that competed to the best of their abilities throughout the opening day.
All-state long jumper Kylee Marshall (Jr., Munster IN) did not fare as well in the jumps as she did in the 200m, dropping a 15-16 age group leading 25.46. It was particularly solid against a strong field that featured standout Inara Ukawuba (So., Neuqua Valley) who ran 25.92. Inara's younger sister Laila Ukawuba won the 13-year-old group in 25.46.
Perhaps the most entertaining and absolutely loaded race of the day was the 17-19 grouping that saw all-staters Alex Alexandria Edison (Sr., Homewood-Flossmoor), Ashley Oliver (Sr., Hoffman Estates), Jacklynn Okereke (Sr., Evanston), Janiya Bowman (Sr., Pl Rikki Gray (Sr., Evanston), and Mia Rodriguez (So., Chicago Heights Marian). Of the ten girls that broke 26-seconds, five of them were in the final section seven. Okereke and Gray set the tone in section five with respectable 25.22 and 25.59. But it was Edison who edged Bowman at the finish line 24.55-24.60. Oliver held off Okereke 25.20-25.22 for third place.
Nationally ranked Chicagoan Elle Sheaffer shook up the 1500m ranks from the 13-year-old division with a time of 4:55.29. Sheaffer's tally was the fastest of any runner regardless of age group.
The action in the sprints began to heat with the 200s and 13-year-old Zion Morrison of Chicago who won his age group with a time of 24.49. Morrison was noticeably ahead of his competitors as he roared around the curve in section three.
The anticipated section four of the 14-year-old featured Dontrell Young of the Aurora Flyers. Young, who is known more for his 400m prowess, competed in the 200. His expected victory was thwarted by a newcomer from Decatur named Myson Johnson-Cook who burst out of the blocks so fast that the race was over before it started- winning section four by almost a second in 22.98. Young clocked 23.76.
Terrell King (So., Urbana) made a summer comeback with a sizzling 15-16 year old 200 win in 22.27. Two years ago, King was the 14 year old 100m AAU national champion.
It was the sixth section of the young men's 200 that produced the first sub 22-second effort. Robert Scott defeated Ryan Coleman 21.81-21.98.