Joliet, Ill --- The Senior All-Star Spotlight Meet at Joliet’s Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon gave senior athletes from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin one more chance to run in high school competition. For Leland Later, it was a 2 lap “victory lap”.
Recently graduated in the last week from New Trier High School, Later completed a successful senior campaign winning the 800 Meter Run in near 90 degree temperatures like he has the past nine months. He was content to let Reed Schmidt (Racine Park, Wisc) to take the pace as this small field of five runners passed the 400 in 57 seconds. With 300 meters to go, Later put his head down and charged away from the pack like he has done so many times this year. He finished in 1:54.55. It was a PR for Later in an open race, but he had run a 1:51.8 split for New Trier’s 4x8 relay at the Loyola Academy Sectionals three weeks ago.
“It felt great. I was looking for a faster time but I was satisfied,” Later said after his run. “I thought it would be fun to run one more race low keyed to end my high school career.”
Right behind Later was Tommy Meister (Craig, Janesville Wisc) who had completed an incredible double within 24 hours. Friday evening on the same track at the Inaugural Midwest Distance Festival, Meister finished fourth in the 2 Mile Run with a 9:07 PR. Seventeen hours later, a 1:55.10 was good enough for second.
David Timlin (Lane Tech, Chicago Ill) had graduated from his school the night before. Through all of the excitement, Timlin had forgotten that he had left his spikes in his gym locker. With no way to enter the school on Saturday morning, Timlin journeyed down to Joliet with the expectations of competing the 1600 Meter Run in his training flats.
Fellow Chicago Public League athlete and 3A 200 Meter Champion Darvell Harris came to the rescue. Both wear the same size spikes. It was probably the longest continued time that those spikes had been on the tracks.
With that problem solved, Timlin settled in behind the fast early pace of Jeff Espeset (Ames, Iowa) for the first two laps. Espeset was two seconds ahead of Timlin at the 800 but you could tell the fast early pace was taking its toll. Timlin took the lead with 700 meters to go and cruised to over a three second win over Jeff Meitler (Wisconsin Lutheran, Milwaukee Wisc).
“I would not recommend running the mile using sprinter spikes,” a smiling Timlin said after the race. “My concern was that I wasn’t trying to go out too fast but him (Espeset) going out that fast put a little pressure on me.”
James Harrington (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) was the only double meet winner on Saturday. The Iowa 4A champion in the 100 & 200 duplicated that winning both races (10.94 / 21.78). Next up for Harrington is the University of Alabama.