So what did we find out about some of the teams from the meets last weekend?
The common answer would be it was hard to tell because the weather was not the best throughout Illinois. If you say that, move to the end of the line. Although the weather was bad, some teams and athletes stepped up and competed regardless of what their performance was. Yes, it was a character building weekend, but we did find out a lot about some individuals and teams.
That being said, let’s look at some of the things that caught my eye in the last week:
~~ The winds of April ~~
While the distance races were effected at some meet sites, the sprint race performances flourished. Well, at least those that had the wind to their back. At the Bob Cohoon Invitational at Downers Grove, Jordan Munar(North HS, Downers Grove Ill) showed that he belonged amongst the sprint elite in the state of Illinois wind or no wind. The 10.64 that he ran to win the 100m was the fastest so far run in Illinois under any condition. He ran a 21.62 in the prelims, but it was the narrow win over Jacob Bender (Neuqua Valley, Naperville Ill) in the finals in 21.96 that will make him a challenger in the two sprint events in Charleston.
The timing system was working at Mattoon when Jonathan Boey (MacArthur, Decatur Ill) stepped to his blocks last Friday night. So why are so many people doubted that this talented junior ran 21.15 behind a hefty wind? Those who thought that are thinking foolishly I guess. Though Boey had ony run 22.3 so far this spring, his progress from his sophomore season to junior season has been significant. He is undefeated so far this outdoor season running consistently in the 10.8’s in the 100 Meter Dash and in the low 22’s in the 200. Watch for him to be under 22 again…and again before Charleston.
~~ Stepping up ~~
There was some doubt after the 1600 at the Gus Scott Invitational about the health of Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak-Park River Forest, Oak Park, Ill) after his second place finish in that race. He did get beat by a very good runner in William Hennessy (Jacobs, Algonquin Ill). He was not that happy about performance at that meet according to his head coach Tim Hasso. He rebounded in a big way at Bob Cohoon. He took the baton in the 4x8 relay for his team about a second behind Downers Grove South and Minooka. Coming into the final 200 meters, he was even with Minooka’s 800m specialist Dan Popek. He did edge Popek at the line for the win, but it should be his 1:57.5 taking noticed.
Two other things that I noticed at Cohoon: The first was the way that Leland Later (New Trier, Winnetka Ill) ran his two races. He ran a very tactical race in the 3200 letting first Grant Nykaza (Beecher, Ill) take the lead then the Neuqua Valley duo of Mark Derrick and Taylor Soltys took over from there. Later finished in a 58 second 400. Different tactics in the 1600. No one wanted to lead so later did. The pace was slow going past the 1200 in 3:27, still Later found a fifth gear to close in 27 seconds in the final 200.
The second was the way that Mark Derrick (Neuqua Valley, Naperville Ill) ran in the same two races as Later. He was not afraid to take the pace in the 3200 and stayed close to Later at the end of the race. In the 1600, he took the lead with 300 meters to go and in fact stayed with the swift Later until the final 100 meters. Neuqua’s distance runners always peak at the right time. Watch for Derrick and his teammate Taylor Soltys to be in the mix for a top finish at Charleston
~~ Some surprises ~~
One of the big surprises this weekend was from Billy Bund (Lake Forest, Ill). He showed promise last spring in his sophomore season running 4:26. A leg injury sidelined the junior for the better part of the cross country season. He is healthy and evidence of that was the 4:19 he ran last Saturday at the Lake Forest Invitational. He is one of those secrets that a lot people have not heard of him. He should be heard from more in May.
When you watch a race and you see a 9 second lead with 2 laps to go, you think that the race is over. That did not go through the mind of Phil Quarfoot (Barrington, Ill) in last Tuesday’s Mid Suburban League Divisional Meet at Schaumburg. Quarfoot took the baton with Palatine far ahead. “Honestly, I was concerned with holding a steady pace,” said Quarfoot. “Once the Fremd guy passed me, I thought I would burn him in the last 200. When I saw the Palatine guy in the race, I thought go ahead and go for him. I surprised myself. My PR was 2:03 and today I ran a 2:00.”
~~ This weekend ~~
There is some great action all over the place this weekend. Unfortunately, weather may hamper some of the action on Saturday. Some of the things that I would watch:
The Wanner Knights Invitational at Mt. Prospect usually has some great distance races and we could see some fast times if the weather cooperates. The 4 x 8 relay should be loaded with Prospect, Hersey, Niles West, York, and Niles North leading a loaded field. We could see 7:55 or under in this race. Erik Peterson (Barrington, Ill) leads a tough field in the 3200 where we could have multiple runners under 9:20 in this race. The 1600 field is good as well with Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius, Chicago Ill) leading a field where it could take 4:15 to win.
A few miles down the road, the Mustang Classic will be taking place at Rolling Meadows. Tyler Schneider (Conant, Hoffman Estates, Ill) will go at it against the Grayslake Central duo of Will Brewster and Luke Zygmunt in the 1600 Meter Run. All 3 will be fresh. I think we may see something special there with possibly a 4:12 effort to win in the race.
The Palatine Relays is one of the oldest meets in the Chicago area and will be contested on Saturday. Host Palatine will have some top runners in the distance races with Peter Tomkiewicz, Marcus Garcia, Tim Meincke, and Tim Johnson leading the way.
The Jim Arnold Invitational at Glenbard West should have a special race in the 800 dependening how the weather is. Jake Mazanke (East, St. Charles Ill), Evan Fisher and Malachy Schrobilgen (Oak Park-River Forest, Oak Park Ill), Neal Omar (Niles West, Skokie Ill), and Jacob Hernandez (Bllom, Chicago Heights, Ill) lead a loaded field.
The Red Ribbon Classic, usually at Waubonsie Valley, will be held at Metea Valley on Saturday. The feature race of the meet will be the last one, the 4 x 4 relay. The field should be loaded with host Waubonsie Valley, Belleville West, Thornwood, Neuqua Valley, Plainfield North, and Metea Valley putting together their best for times that could go under 3:20. This race should be, need I say, a show stopper?
I know this meet is not a boys meet, but it could be the best meet period this weekend. The Wheaton-Warrenville South Girls Invitational has some great competition, especially in the distances. Jill Hardies (Central, Hinsdale, Ill), Amanda Fox (Central, Naperville Ill), Maddie Perez (Glenbard West, Glen Ellyn, Ill), and Emma Fisher (York, Elmhurst Ill) should headline in these events. If I did not have to be at Prospect, I would be here. So take note of this great meet.
Other meets to watch:
Pete Struck Eagle Classic @ Sandburg
Beacon News Invitational @ Oswego
Crystal Lake Central Invitational
Gene Ward Invitational @ Champaign
Spartan Relays @ Glenbrook North
Lincoln Way West Invitational
Mike Yavorski Invitational @ Hinsdale South
Rich Central Invitational
Seeger Invitational @ Sycamore
Jokisch Invitational @ Carlinville
Have good meets everyone! Stay warm, stay dry, stay safe, race hard!