Batavia Distance Madness Adds To Weekend Excitement

Rylee Lydon rules the 800m at the massive Batavia Distance Madness



Batavia- In a time period where the majority of the hype was placed on the indoor nationals in Boston and New York, there was some quality action back home. The track barn at Batavia High School isn't the most spacious place but it does present a cozy spot for runners to be busy.


Right away was the fast section 800m and surprise surprise there was Rylee Lydon (Sr., Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge) standing on the starting line. The future Texas A&M aggie appeared ready for whatever punishment was to be dealt out. Lydon is a coach's dream because she can do it all. Last summer she was the USATF outdoor heptathlon national champion for 17-18-year-olds. Among those events were the 800m. This time Lydon controlled the race from beginning to end, hitting the first 400 in 67 seconds high. It was the perfect remedy for someone who has 56-second quarter-mile speed and great short closing speed. It was an easy win for Lydon in a personal best 2:15.83.

In the 3200m, featured Prospect runners Hailey Erickson (Sr) and Meg Peterson (Fr) were still fresh coming off of record 4x800  runs at DGS Mustang Relays earlier in the week. In their first two-mile effort of the season, the talented pair packed up among the deep pack for quite a while. The first halftime was just over 5:20 and it was time to get it going. Erickson and Peterson asserted themselves and picked up the tempo. It was a three-girl race with Brittney Burak (Sr., Huntley) hanging on. The final lap was nearly an all-out kick to the finish in which Peterson won in 10:57.63. Erickson held off Burak 10:58.95-10:59.51.

The featured race was the 1600m and there were some prominent names ready to show out. Grace Schager (Sr., Glenbard North), Catie McCabe (Sr., Hinsdale Central), Anna Harden (Sr., Hersey), Lily Ginsberg (Jr., Prospect), and Rachel Soukup (Sr., Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge) to name a few.

Stake to the front with the aforementioned runners was Chicago St. Ignatius freshman Annika Swan. Swan has taken full advantage of her winter training by putting up some great performances. The first half of the race was just under 2:30 with Schager holding a slim advantage. It by no means was over and someone like McCabe, Soukup, Harden, Swan and even Catherine Sommerfeld (Sr., Lyons Twp) could have bolted to the front on the third quarter-mile. 

It was unfortunate for the field to not take advantage of the opportunity to dethrone Schager whose best events are at longer distances. However, she indicated that she had been working on her speed endurance in the off-season. It showed as she held off a strong-footed McCabe and took the win in 4:53.38. McCabe also dropped a PB 4:53.97. In all, six girls broke the 5:00 barrier.


The top two placers in the 800m were not in the same section. The fastest section went first and it was Patrick Hilby (Jr., Aurora Central Catholic) with the easy victory in a personal indoor best 1:55.40. John Ihrke (Jr., Glenbrook North) dropped a three-second personal best of 1:56.89 in section two.

There were three sections of the 3200m with the second one spicing things up a bit. Felix Hekster (Jr., New Trier) was staked with a sizable lead until Tyler Anderson (Sr., Plainfield South) caught him in the final stages. Hekster rebounded and on the final lap maintained a slight advantage and got the win in 9:37.76.

Hekster's teammate Ben Crane (So., New Trier) played the reverse role in that he had to overcome a deficit to Dale Johnson (Jr., Sterling). The win to Crane who dashed off the final curve into a catbird seat win with a time of 9:25.20.

The final race of the day after six sections of the 1600m was the championship section 7. The opening 400m was an honest 63 seconds with Isaac Teel (Jr., Pinckneyville), Jacob Barraza (So., Dekalb), Will Kozlowski (Jr., Chicago Lane), and several others near by.

The 800 flew by under 2:09 and Quintin Lowe (Sr., Batavia) entered the picture and begin to push the pace with Teel. Kozlowski hung in there as did Foster Shelbert (Jr., Naperville Central). The final two circuits were all Lowe who were in a field house and meet record 4:17.00. Shelbert took second ahead of Kozlowski 4:18.15. Koz's 4:19.51 is a personal best.