Postponed Wanner Invite Produced Several State Bests

Will Nolan produced a meet record in the shot put at the Prospect Wanner Invite



Head coach Jay Renaud and his staff had several busy days leading up to the 56th Annual Prospect Joe Wanner Invitational. Most of them were acting as meteorologists leading up to the traditional Friday evening slate of events. The Wanner Invite is one of the longest-standing boys' invites in the state, regularly attracting some of the best teams and individuals. Renaud made the hard choice to move the meet to Saturday morning amid a rough and tough forecast.

The Coach Stogie MileSplit IL 4x800 relay-

Of course, one of the featured events of the meet is the 4x800, which unofficially has signaled the ushering of the state's most popular and successful event. The iconic Joe Newton of York once noted that Prospect was typically a month out from the state championship. It was his way of unveiling his top quartet, and many other teams followed suit over the years.

Top-seeded Naperville Central came in with the task of winning and setting a state best, which from afar would no doubt keep some of the state's top teams lurking as they prepare for their long-range seasonal plans.

The race started modestly, with the opening pace in approximately 58 seconds. Chicago Lane Tech followed by Prospect, Conant, and Chicago Whitney Young under 2:00 at the exchange.

Whitney Young sped ahead on the second carry, opening a significant gap on the field. The at-large guests were able to catch the Dolphins and pull ahead at just under 4:00. 

Naperville Central joined the party with Conant, Whitney Young, and Lane Tech. It appeared to be a four-team race; the winner would come from this group. Naperville Central asserted, pressed the pace on the second lap, and closed their leg under 6:00.

The Redhawks continued their command going into the anchor leg, followed by Lane, Conant, and Whitney Young. Naperville Central and Lane were even on the bell lap with 300 meters remaining. Lane pulled in front with 250 meters go and pressed hard. Naperville Central would not fold, taking the lead one last time with 75 meters and the victory in IL#1 at 7:54.50. Lane's consolation prize was IL#2 at 7:55.55- both times among the top 60 in the country. Whitney Young 7:57.01 and Conant 7:57.33 cracked the threshold as well. 

Good marks on the field and the track-

Initially, the anticipation of several of the state's top throwers waned when the invitational was switched to accommodate the masses. That meant Kaden Garland (Sr., Oak Park-River Forest) and Jaiden Gary (Sr., Proviso East) had to bow out and attend their regularly scheduled Saturday competition. No problem. Enter the merging Billy Nolan (Sr., Hersey) in the shot put. On his second attempt, he threw a meet-record 63'2.25", which sent shocks throughout the stadium. The IL#2 and US#16 were among the most impressive feats of the day.

The top three performances in the discus throw were by at-large performers Karrel Harvest (Sr., TF South), Josh Cygan (Sr., Plainfield South), and Jimmy Celli (Sr., Lake Park). The state's defending best thrower, Maverick Ohle (Sr., Naperville Central), had a rough day, fouling on all three of his attempts. Harvest and Cygan did not drop any personal bests, but they produced a healthy battle that all enjoyed, Harvest edging ahead for the win by two feet 176'10."

It's too bad a wind gauge wasn't on site because of Enoch Appiah-Kubi (Sr., Loyola Academy). He snapped for a meet record and IL#3 48'1.25." 

A healthy Ben Crane (Jr., New Trier) is a dangerous young man in Illinois. He missed out on some of the indoor fireworks and the Arcadia Invitational sweepstakes. He is healthy and hungry, as attested by his double victory in the 3200 and 1600 meter runs. The first event seemed more like kid's play than a serious run toward breaking 9:00. For the first several laps, Crane and opponent Evan Parker (Jr., New Trier) spoke to one another during the race. It must have been a joint game plan; they stuck together through the first 1600 in 4:33. Crane took flight on the fifth lap and cruised home in a personal best of 9:06.61. He returned later to win the 1600 in 4:21.79. Crane will get a crack at breaking 9:00 next weekend in Michigan at the prestigious Shepherd Bluejay Invitational. Last year, five runners broke 9:00, including the winning time by Benne Anderson in 8:41.50.

Nicholas Arogundade (Sr., Loyola Academy) has arrived! The soon-to-be Redbird of Illinois State football standout crashed the party. Arogundade warmed up in the 110HH, placing second in a personal best 14.52. But it was the 300H that he shined. Arogundade navigated through tough crosswinds to win in a meet record and state-best 38.13. He later lit up the track in the 200 with an IL#2 21.58.