Hinsdale Central Boys Putting Icing On New Balance Indoors

The vaunted Hinsdale Central quartet tells their side of things



BOSTON- The final day of the New Balance Nationals Indoor was a fruitful one for some of the finest athletes in Illinois. There was a nice medal haul to send back home. 

There wasn't much doubt that the nation's top 4x800 unit from Hinsdale Central would disappoint. It was almost too easy for the Red Devils who were fresh off of a 7:45 effort at the DGS Mustang Relays on Monday. The crew of Aden Bandukwala (Jr) Michael Skora (Sr), Grant Miller (Sr), and Dan Watcke (Sr) led at every juncture. The final output was another national leading time of 7:43.82. 

The splits: 1:55.42, 1.57.28, 1:57.78, Dan Watcke anchors in 1:53.36

Demarlynn Taylor (Sr., E. St. Louis Sr) rode to the Rising Stars 60H as the top seed with a time of 8.22. He made good on the promise of a win several hours later in the final with a sweet time of 8.16. It's now the fourth fastest time in the state.

Katelyn Lehnen (So., Chatham-Glenwood) is fast becoming the next great sprinter in Illinois. Her coaches were wise to place her in the Championship level 60m and Rising Stars 200m. The 60m is a crap shoot event where the slightest adjustment must be made and a bit of luck for ultimate success. Lehnen just missed the final by .01 in 7.55. The last girl to make a national final was Aaliyah Brown of Lincoln-Way East in 2013.

Lehnen returned to the 200 final and rocketed around in lane six but could not quite catch Sage Hinton of Bullis High School out of Maryland. The margin was 24.10-24.18. Lehnen grabs the silver medal and the state's fastest time in return.

Alex Sohn (Sr., Normal Community) made his national meet debut and earned a fourth place medal in the shot put with a final toss of 61-10.25.

Ethan Hogan (Jr.. Columbia) was sitting on Cloud 9 and playing with the King's Ransom for quite a while in the mile. He won section 3 in a huge personal best 4:09.92 (4:08.52 at 1600m). He was in the lead until the penultimate section 7 won by Connor Ackley of Ohio in 4:08.65. And finally, the championship section was the breadwinner as nine boys pulled up led by winner Jackson Heidesch of Iowa in 4:02.25... Gavin Genisio (Jr., Benton) took 22nd in 4:12.50.

Two of the best female high school milers in the country Tatum David (Sr., Olney Richland County) and Sadie Engelhardt of Ventura HS California did not mess around in their rematch. For Tatum, it was an opportunity to get revenge after losing at the New Balance Grand Prix on the same track. Engelhardt is the national freshman record holder who is looking to pile on to her legacy at a tender age.

Right away, it was David to the front as if she were operating as a pacesetter. She didn't seem to mind because if she were going to lose it would be on her terms. The first quarter mile was in 68.1 led by David followed closely by Engelhardt and two-time event winner Ellie Shea of MA. Shea won the 5K and two-mile previously so she was living on borrowed time trying to hang with the furious pace that checked into at 2:19 (800) and 2:55 (1K). 

David refused to relinquish the lead with a quarter-mile to go at 3:32.21 and it was still Engelhardt and Shea in her space. The final lap was David and Engelhardt left to duel it out. The crowd was on its collective feet as the pair entered the final home straight. Engelhardt somehow edged in front of David and powered across the fine first in 4:38.65. David hit the finish line a fine 4:38.80- US#3 and #4 times of the season. For David, she also ran 4:37.20 for 1600m which is now the fastest ever time for an IL girl indoors or outside. It was also a great reprieve for David who tripped and fell in Friday's two-mile championship. Alli Ince (Jr. Normal Community) was in the race but appeared fatigued from winning the 800m the night before. She clocked a respectable 4:48.08 for 11th overall. Scout Storms (So., Barrington) placed fourth in section five with a personal best 4:50.92- 18th overall.

Another championship mindset individual who came to play was Emmi Scales (Sr., Arlington Heights St. Viator). Scales has produced the best overall indoor hurdles season of any girl in state history. After advancing through the first round and semi-final with ease, it would be the national championship that would decide who the champion would be. 

Scales got out well and clean, moved over the hurdles at a rapid pace, and took third in an all-time state-best 8.32. 

If there were a consolation prize worth collecting it would be the final event of the day, the East St. Louis Sr Flyers got the win in the Rising Stars Boys 4x400 relay. Splits of 50.99, 50.18, 51.76, and 50.07 produced a state-leading 3:22.99.