Pre-Season Boys Indoor Preview: Do It For The Quarter

In this picturesque scene is Dominik Balenda powering his way to a win at the 2022 D117 Clash at The Coliseum


The strength measurement of this event usually takes place during the winter portion of the season. Over the past few seasons, things have checked nicely. It appears as though the "quarter-mile" is going to be solid throughout the year.

Jackson Gilbert (Sr., Urbana) has a great range up to 800m, it appears his best friend on the track is the 400m dash. The defending outdoor state champion (47.48) leads the charge amongst returners as the only one sub 50- seconds (49.99). Gilbert has a chance to chase indoor history, the all-time record of 47.88 belongs to Brandon Battle formerly of Edwardsville, maybe that's a reach. He could be within striking distance of former Proviso West great Juan Coleman's flat track record (48.24) before he completes his indoor career. With the right conditions against top competition, maybe a national meet, the Illinois signee may surprise us all. 

Jayon Morrow (JR., Kankakee) doesn't do much talking, he just goes out there and gets the job done- clocked 50.01 last winter. A top fifteen returner nationally in the junior class, Morrow will navigate multiple events and relays indoors to set up an outdoor season versus a 2A field filled with talent. Look for him to take a step forward towards being one of the more coveted athletes nationally. 

Dominik Balenda (SR., Prospect) spent a good amount of running with the Knights relay units, but don't be fooled about his individual exploits. A flat track sub-51-second performer has already shown signs of big improvement. At the recent CYUP Misfits Invite, he improved his 300m time. Dominik won't surprise people this season.

Evan Rainville (Sr., Chicago Payton) is a returning all-stater with a sub-50-second on his outdoor record. The reigning CPS Indoor Champion will look to carry the flag against some of the best this indoor season and beyond. 

Deangelo Hughey (JR., Mahomet-Seymour) is perhaps the early season surprise this season. Indoors he may be a marked person which in turn could make him better. Look for him to navigate the early parts of indoor until things ramp up in the latter part of March. 

Josh Pugh (SR., Yorkville) is pretty tall, this race fits him perfectly. Some early preseason struggles have turned, and he appears to be back on track to be amongst the best state by the end of the indoor season. 

Daniel Lacy (Sr., Champaign Centennial) did not compete in any quarter-miles last indoor season but he was a premier performer outdoors. For the sake of argument, Lacy did run a blazing 300m in January which translates to under 49 seconds. Look for him to pad his resume a bit more during the undercover season.

Dan Watcke (Sr., Hinsdale Central) If there were an official stat to determine whether or not athletes should be included in individual analytics, Watcke may not qualify. However, he is a supreme talent who has run this event under 49 seconds outside. At one time last year, it was rumored that he might actually contest the event for the state series. Look for him to possibly dabble some over the next month or two.

Honorable Mention: Nelson Speaks (Jr., Homewood-Flossmoor), Sidney Morris (Sr., Chicago Kenwood), Austin Belle (Sr., Naperville Neuqua Valley), Lukaas Nalas (Jr., Highland Park), Reece Dusek (Sr.,  Bartonville Limestone), Foster Shelbert (Jr., Naperville Central), Zach Powell (Sr., Pleasant Plains), Bjorn Carlson (Sr., Rockford Christian), Patrick Hilby (Jr., Aurora Central Catholic)