BLOOMINGTON – The Illinois Top Times Indoor Track & Field Championships are billed as the unofficial high school state championships as most of the athletes who participate are among the best in the state.
That was no exception this past Friday and Saturday at the Shirk Center on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University, as many local athletes proved that they will be a name to watch during the upcoming outdoor track season.
Saturday’s competition began with Providence Catholic junior Samantha Spencer winning the Class 2A pole vault with a jump of 12-6.
“This feels great to win this meet and that was my goal coming in,” Spencer said. “I really wanted to get over the 13-foot barrier again, but winning was goal No. 1.”
Also placing for the Celtics in 2A were Kyle Bell, who was third in the 3,200 meters (9:42.62), Jake Renfro was sixth in the shot put (50-9.5) and Chelsea Wells placed fifth in the triple jump (35-3/4).
In Class 3A, Marcellus Moore, the junior from Plainfield North, showed why he is one of the best sprinters in the country as he won the 60-meter dash in a meet record 6.73. He also won the 200 meters in 21.79 and ledvoff the Tigers’ 4x200 relay that placed third (1:31.65).
“Indoor season is now over, it was fun, but outdoor track is where the magic is at,” Moore said. “I learned this indoor season to really listen to my body, learn to shut it down and rest when it’s needed and reduce the wear and tear on my body.”
Lemont’s David Lehenbauer won the high jump with a leap of 6-7 and didn’t wear spikes.
“Last week I didn’t wear spikes because of the surface and jumped 6-8, but I tried them today and they didn’t feel real comfortable, so I went back to my regular shoes,” Lehenbauer said. “I guess it was a little superstition, but it worked and this feels really good to win this meet.”
Another win came from Lincoln-Way Central’s Jared Kries, who ran 9:10.59 to win the 3,200 meters.
“This is a huge confidence booster heading to the outdoor season,” Kreis said. “I wanted to try and run fast a few weeks ago, but I got sick, and today I went to the lead and it turned out pretty well.”
Plainfield South’s Miranda Cadwell placed second in the shot put (41-11.5) and Bolingbrook’s Kayla Walters took second in the 60-meter hurdles (:8.55). Taylor Wright from Lincoln-Way East placed second in the 400 meters (:58.16) and sixth in the long jump (18-2.75).
Other area placers for the girls were Lockport’s Andi Hennessey with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault (11-6), Lemont’s Kaylie Politza placed fifth in the 800 meters (2:17.69), Bolingbrook’s 4x200 relay was third (1:43.98) and Plainfield North placed sixth (1:47.11).
On the boy’s side, Plainfield North’s Kyle Burke and Lockport’s Ray Holland finished fourth (:8.28) and sixth (:8.37) respectively in the 60-meter hurdles. Romeoville’s Amiri Buchanan placed third in the shot put (59-11½), with the Lockport 4x800 relay placing fifth (8:12.90), its 4x200 placed fifth (1:33.26) and the 4x400 took fourth (3:29.09).
Lincoln-Way East’s Fard Farrakhan placed fourth in the triple jump (44-10.5) with Lincoln-Way Central’s Jacob Erickson grabbing fifth in the pole vault (13-8) and Joliet Central’s Jamison Goin getting seventh (13-8).
In Class 1A, which was contested on Friday evening, Seneca’s Christopher Collet led the way with a second-place finish in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:33.68 in a very strategic race. Collet won the individual cross country title in the fall and is aiming to add to those titles this spring.
On the girls side, Reed-Custer’s Jaden Christian picked up two third-place finishes with a 17-6¾ mark in the long jump and 35-9½ effort in the triple jump. Seneca picked up a fifth-place finish in the 4x200 relay (1:51.25) and two sixth-place performances, as senior Grace Alley placed sixth in the triple jump (34-5) and junior Mara Bruno ran 26.73 in the 200 meters.