Here is what to watch for in the sprint hurdle events in Class 2A:
100 Meter Dash
With Devantre Whitelow of Centralia (Centralia HS) graduated, there are a number of sprinters that are waiting their chance to be the king of sprints in the shorter dashes that Whitelow held the last 2 years.
The Chicago Public League schools have started to churn out quality talent after a long drought. It has become evident in the sprints especially the last couple of years. Jamal McNeely of Chicago (Kelvyn Park HS) placed 3rd in this event last year and will look to capture the title this year. He will have company from his teammate senior Brian Carter, who placed 2nd in this event 2 years ago.
Two other all-staters return in this event. Joey Giovanelli of Chatham (Glenwood HS) and Anthony Moore of Mt. Vernon (Mt. Vernon HS) will make things difficult for the Chicago Public League pair. Joseph Jones of Plano (Plano HS) placed 6th in 1A last year and will be in the mix for a medal in Charleston.
Also keep an eye on Reggie Bratton of Jacksonville (Jacksonville HS), Jonathan Boey of Decatur (MacArthur HS), Lonnie Washington of Chicago (Perspectives Charter), Blake Quiram of Princeton (Princeton HS), and Greg Johnson of Peoria (Manual HS). This year’s sprint corps are deep in this class. We could see some fast times in May.
200 Meter Dash
We may see the same scenario in the 200 that we have in the 100. Jamal McNeeley of Chicago (Kelvyn Park HS) also placed 2nd last year in the 200 behind Centralia’s Devantre Whitelow. McNeeley also returns with the fastest time in this event. The only other all stater returning is Joey Giovanelli of Chatham (Glenwood HS).
This could be a tough event with the possibility of 5 runners going under 22 seconds. Other runners to keep an eye on are Brian Mays of Richton Park (Rich South), Brian Carter of Chicago (Kelvyn Park HS), Wesley Sanders of Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South), Dion Starnes of Midlothian (Bremen HS), and Trey Story of Cahokia (Cahokia HS).
400 Meter Dash
Will the final in this event top what happened last year? Glenbard South’s Garret Payne held off Morton’s D.J. Zahn to capture his 2nd straight state championship. Both runners went under 48 seconds with the winning time an incredible 47.31.
This event may be a little bit deeper than it was last year. There are a number of runners that could leave Charleston with the state championship. Two all staters return in the 400. Anthony Moore of Mt. Vernon HS and Marlin Brady of Cahokia HS lead this deep event. At the same time, we should not forget Mac Melto of Chicago (Northside Prep HS). The senior last year placed 7th in 3A. With his school moving down this year to 2A, it makes Melto with the fastest returning time in this class and a threat to win the state championship.
To add to the depth, do not forget about 2 all staters moving up from 1A. Zach Barnett of Rochester (Rochester HS) and Syrus White of Rantoul (Rantoul HS) have times rank in the top 7 coming into this year. Consider them part of the state championship hunt in this event.
Other 400 runners to watch this spring include Brandon Penrod of Troy (Triad HS), Darren Payton of Cahokia (Cahokia HS), Robbie Odeneal of Kankakee (Bishop McNamara HS), and Brian Mays of Richton Park (Rich South).
110 Meter High Hurdles
4 all state hurdlers return in this event: 2 from 2A and 2 from 1A. There is 1 state champion returning from quartet. That hurdler is Joseph Jones of Plano HS, who recently signed to attend Northwestern University next fall. Jones last year also ran the 100 in 1A. Question will be whether he will run both in 2A.
The runner who has the fastest returning time is Spencer Allen of Mt. Vernon HS who finished 3rd last year. Dion Starnes of Midlothian (Bremen HS) has the 2nd fastest time returning and finishing 5th last year. The last returnee is D.J. Duncan of Harrisburg HS, who finished 7th in 1A. Any of these 4 hurdlers could favored in this event heading to Charleston at the end of May.
Other hurdlers to keep an eye on would be Jonah Peoples and David Briscoe of Champaign (Centennial HS), Brandon Lindley of Peoria HS, Gary Hickman of Cahokia HS, and Kai McNeely of Galena HS.
300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles
Brandon Lindley of Peoria HS is back to defend the title he won in 2011. He also has the fastest returning time in 2A, which is a quarter of a second faster than last year’s 4th place finisher Mike McCullough of Tinley Park HS. Look for these two hurdlers to battle it out for the title in May. Two other hurdlers that could also have a say in this are both returning all-staters: D.J. Duncan of Harrisburg HS (3rd in 1A) and Donte Arnold of Woodstock HS (7th in 2A).
Other hurdlers to watch include Spencer Allen of Mt. Vernon HS, Elven Walker of Glen Ellyn (Glenbard South HS), Joel Ooms of Lansing (Illiana Christian HS), Dylan Nauert of Maple Park (Kaneland HS), and Charles Fenner of Metamora HS.
Questions / Comments? email Michael Newman > newman.dyestatIL@gmail.com