It is hard to ignore what happened last year at the prelims for Class 1A. It was probably the worst conditions that any state cross country or track meet has ever seen. Forty degree temperatures and heavy rain did have an effect on the final fields for Saturday.
It will also be hard to ignore about the re-classification that the IHSA put forward for the 2012 track season. Some returning all-state runners will be running at Class 2A this spring. At the same time, this re-classification will give the opportunity for athletes to step up this track season. With that, here is a look at some of the key returnees in the sprints and hurdles in Class 1A.
100 Meter Dash
Last year’s final of this event perhaps was one of the closest finishes in IHSA history. Jonathan Hutchison of Peoria (Peoria Christian HS) and Bruce Gray of Chicago (Leo Catholic HS) stood by the finish line looking at the scoreboard waiting for the results to pop up. It most cases at the state meet, the results would pop up instantly. For this event, these two sprinters waited…and waited. Nearly 3 minutes later, it showed Hutchison defeating Gary, but the timers had to go to one hundread thousandths of a second. How much closer can you get?
Hutchison comes into this event as the returning champion and also the man with the mark on his back. 4 other all-state runners return to challenge including Austin Andrews of Mackinaw (Deer Creek-Mackinaw HS), Cameron Walter of Greenville HS, Nick Rude of Sterling (Newman Catholic HS), and Shane Geary of Polo HS.
The closest returnee time wise is Senior Brandon Belt of Morrison (Morrison HS) who was one tenth behind Hutchison last spring. Other sprinters that are capable and itching to get into the finals include Theodore Hopkins of Chicago (Leo Catholic HS), Neal Leonard of Winnebago HS, Alex Kemp of Tuscola HS, Myles Ketelson of Flora HS.
200 Meter Dash
It was also close in this event. Jonathan Hutchison of Peoria (Peoria Christian HS) placed 2nd, only 2 hundreath of a second behind Trenton-Wesclin’s Nate Schreiber.
Hutchison returns as the big favorite in this race. His time last year is almost half a second behind his nearest returning competitor, Alex Kemp of Tuscola HS. Two all-staters return: Theodore Hopkins of Chicago (Leo Catholic HS) and Cameron Walter of Greenville HS.
There are other quality runners that will push Hutchison to a faster time. Watch for Devin Johnson of Erie (Erie-Prophetstown HS), Brett Albertson of Flanagan (Flanagan-Cornell HS), Nick Rude of Sterling (Newman Catholic HS), and Micah Johnson of Tolono (Unity HS).
400 Meter Dash
This could be wide open as the top 4 runners last year have graduated and only 2 all-state runners return in this event. Seniors Brandon Skowronski of Shelbyville HS and Trevor Krum of Heyworth HS will be the two favorites in the 400 this spring, but there will be other runners close on their heels.
Daniel Farmer of Johnston City HS has the fastest returning time in this class in this event. In last year’s prelims, Farmer finished 10th, just missing the finals by 27 hundreaths of a second. After that, there are opportunities for runners to step up. Keep an eye on Bill Howorth of Aurora (Aurora Christian HS), Tim Doll of Westmont HS, Jake Gullstrand of Shabbona (Indian Creek HS), and Seth Petty of Pittsfield HS.
110 Meter High Hurdles
There will be a new champion in this class. Joseph Jones of Plano HS won this state race last year, but with Plano moving up to 2A, he will not get a chance to defend. Even if Jones was in this event, the High Hurdles are wide open.
The one hurdler that I would definitely keep an eye on would be Colin Carver of Casey (Westfield HS), who finished 4th here last year. The senior returns with the fastest time along with being the only all-stater in this class. Other hurdlers that will be with and pushing Carver include John Piper of Alton (Marquette HS), Noel Yarngo of Mooseheart (Mooseheart HS), and Andrew Vahling of Teutopolis (Teutopolis HS).
300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles
Just as in the 110 Meter High Hurdles, Colin Carver of Casey (Westfield HS) will be the marked man in this event. He has the fastest time returning and also is the highest returnee from last year’s state meet placing 2nd. He will have company in this race.
Austin Semplowski of Gillespie (Gillespie HS) has the talent to challenge Carver. Could be a close race at the state meet. He finished 4th last year. Other state returnees include Noel Yarngo of Mooseheart (Mooseheart HS), and Alex Arteaga of St. Joseph (St.Joseph-Ogden HS).
Other hurdlers to watch that could make a difference in this race are Nick Retherford of Gibson City (Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley HS), Nick Craig of Niantic (Sangamon Valley HS), and Zach Kleindl of Winnebago.
Comments: please e-mail Michael Newman : newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com