It is hard to give an accurate outlook of the relays. There is so much time during the season for coaches to tinker with the lineups to see who will make the quartet the fastest. This preview will give you some kind of an idea of what to look for this season.
4 x 800m Relay
With Beecher losing most of it’s core to graduation, look for a new champion. The place to start is with St. Joseph (St. Joseph-Ogden HS). They placed 2nd last year and have 4 runners returning led by Zeke Elkins. It is a team capable of running near 7:50 this season.
A team that could also challenge is Macon (Meridian HS). All 4 runners return as well led by Sophomore Brock Snarski. It is a quartet that could give St. Joe’s a run for its money.
Other schools to watch include Elmwood HS, Sparta HS, Niantic (Sangamon Valley HS), Monticello HS, and Tolono (Unity HS).
4 x 100m Relay
The top two teams from last year lost key runners from their quartets due to graduation. So the team to watch in this event is Winnebago HS. They return 3 quality sprinters led by Senior standout Neal Leonard. Even with the loss of Marcus Posley, this team is deep enough to win in Charleston.
Other schools to watch include Chicago (Leo HS), Peoria (Christian HS), Erie (Erie-Prophetstown HS), Newton HS, and Carthage (Illini West HS).
4 x 200m Relay
I think we may see a great battle between two good sprint powers Chicago (Leo HS) and Winnebago HS. Leo finished 2nd in this event last year and will have a good quartet led by Sophomore Theodore Hopkins. Winnebago should be close on their heals. Neal Leonard and Jaylin Neal will lead this team. Could see both of these teams in the 1:28’s this spring.
Other squads to watch include Sparta HS, Tuscola HS, Carterville HS, Carthage (illini West HS), Polo HS, and Monticello HS.
4 x 400m Relay
The one team that I would definitely keep an eye on in this event is Aurora (Christian HS). They have all 4 of their quartet returning led by Bill Howorth and Johnathan Harrell. This squad placed 3rd last year running 3:20. It is definitely a squad that could go sub 3:20 in this race.
Other teams to watch in this race include Niantic (Sangamon Valley HS), Polo HS, DuQuoin HS, Westmont HS, and Onieda (ROWVA HS).