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Illinois Boys State Championship

Fri.-Sat., May 25-26, 2007 O'Brien Stadium, Charleston IL

Results/Sums by Tony Jones and Mike Newman -
- Saturday 'AA' - Saturday 'A' ---- PRELIMS - Friday 'AA' - Friday 'A'

- Meet/results page at IHSA.org - Scott Bush's Class AA Preview

At left, East St. Louis's 4x4 anchor brings the stick home in record time.  At right, Evan Jager leads Chris Derrick and a long line of others.
Photos Brandon Gittelman/IllinoisPrepTopTimes.com

Major Highlights
  • East St. Louis pounds out a state record 3:13.66 in the AA 4x4, but Cahokia's 2nd-place 3:16.33 enables it to hold on to state title by two points, despite just 1 first in the meet (4x200-1:25.98).
  • Algonquin Jacobs sr Evan Jager, in best race since XC state, burns last lap for AA 3200 win in 8:52.33
  • Also deep is AA 4x800 relay, where York runs 7:49.37 as five run 7:50.20 or better
  • Friday's AA 4x800 prelims were even better, with Glenbard South runs 7:47.68 and 12 hit 7:51.34 or better. Lake Forest's 7:51.43 doesn't make the final
  • Bolingbrook sr Troy Doris sweeps the AA horizontal jumps, going 50-09 TJ and 23-07.75 LJ
  • Chicago Heights Marian jr Mitchell Erickson soars a stunning PR 16-09 in PV, beating 3 more over 16
Class AA Highlights
  • Wilmette Loyola sr Tom Robbins, after 4:10.72 qualifier, cruises and kicks to 1600 win at 4:10.46, 1.89 better than Jager
  • Deep 3200 also includes 7 at 9:12 or better, including Nequal Valley jr Chris Derrick 8:54.64 and Geneseo sr Dan Chenoweth 8:57.27
  • Springfield Lanphier sr Major Clay struggles a bit, but wins HJ at 6-09
  • Lanphier nips East St. Louis in fast 4x1, 41.54-41.58, with Cahokia 42.03
  • Bloomington jr Tyler Sipes stuns East St. Louis sr Artavious Kizer in 110H, 14.01-14.08
  • Kizer comes back to top soph Darien Donald of Cahokia in 400, 47.31-47.57
  • Sipes is beaten by East St. Louis soph Kraig Appleton in 300H, 37.57-37.74
  • Palatine jr Mat Smoody rolls to 800 win in 1:52.57

Class A Highlights
  • Herrin sr Eric Thompson wins the LJ (23-06.50), HJ (6-11), and TJ (45-02.25), as Herrin takes title
  • Sciota West Prairie sr Cody Wisslead nips Orion sr Logan Hohl in blazing 300H, 37.35-37.38. Hohl also won 110H in 14.48
  • Glasford Illini Bluffs sr Brady Hammon gets 400 (48.62) / 200 (22.28) double

Class AA Preview
By Scott Bush

Top Teams - Event by Event Breakdown

This Friday and Saturday will be my tenth state meet. I have seen so many greats over the past decade, from Don Sage to Anthony Moorman to Ryan Shields to Chris Hercules to Mike Minton. All these guys are state record holders, multiple state champs and the best this state has ever seen.
This year the field promises to be one to remember, and I have never been more excited for a state track and field meet in my life. Senior stars like Colin Madison, Evan Jager, Major Clay and Troy Doris will try to leave their mark on history, while young stars like Richard Lewis, Darian Donald and Dan Block will try to etch their names in the record books. From the shot put to the 400, and from the 3200 to the sprint relays, this state meet is going to be simply remarkable.

Top Teams

Cahokia –
Events to Watch: 100m, 200m, 400m, 110HH, 4x1, 4x2, 4x4, LJ, TJ, SP.
Summary: Last year’s state champions are back again with a slew of high quality sprinters and a handful of field event athletes. Led by state experienced Clyde Young (Sr.), Jerdo Williams (Sr.), Exzaybion Jackson (Jr.), Earnest Winters (Jr.), Darian Donald (So.), London Davis (Jr.) and state newcomer Kendrick McRath (Sr.), this team has points all over the board that should help them push East St. Louis Senior greatly for the top spot. Each of these athletes will be going after top three finishes in each individual event they are entered in, while combinations of them will be going after wins in the three sprint relays. The man in the shadows is Davis. He can score in the shot put and perhaps the discus, but has been talked about little since the rest of his team is running so fast on the track. Cahokia has lost to ESL a few times this year in invitationals, but they are a big meet team that will be rolling into Charleston with high expectations.

East St. Louis Senior –
Events to Watch: 100m, 400m, 110HH, 300IH, 4x1, 4x2, 4x4, LJ, TJ.
Summary: Another year, another chance for East St. Louis Senior to take home another state championship in track and field. While the ESL girls finished second last weekend to Barrington, the boys will try to do one better and bring home the gold. On paper rival Cahokia looks like they may stack up better at the state meet with a handful of guys who can score some huge points, but ESL has been up against the wall before and has come out on top and they have the tradition of all the great ESL teams in years past. This team has a fab-four in Mario McCottrell (Jr.), Artavius Kizer (Sr.), Kraig Appleton (So.) and Aveon James (Jr), all of whom will be counted on to go after wins in their respective individual events and help key the relay squads. East St. Louis hasn’t finished out of the top three since 2003 and this year will be no different. A power for what seems like forever, ESL will be on a mission to prove that they are once again number one.

Springfield Lanphier –
Events to Watch: 100m, 200m, 4x1, 4x2, LJ, HJ, SP, D.
Summary: Springfield Lanphier seems to be set up just like East St. Louis Senior and Cahokia. With a good mix of veteran leadership and youthful talent, this team will be going for a state trophy that they just missed last year by a mere two points. The team will get a huge lift by senior high jumper Major Clay, who should easily win the high jump, giving the team a needed ten points. Along with Clay will be Lanphier’s young sprint core, led by junior Warnether Banks, which should score points in the shorter relays and perhaps a handful of points in the individual short sprints. The young man with the greatest impact though could be junior thrower George Weed. Weed just missed all-state last year in the discus and will be a factor again in that event as well as the shot put, where he has a chance to break the magical sixty foot mark.

Other Top Teams: Few teams can match the depth of the three teams above, but there are a handful of squads that could score twenty-plus points that should help carry them to a top six finish. York is once again led by their distance running power. They have the top 4x800m relay team in the state and carrying on their tradition of success in this event, you can bet they will load it up. Along with the relay they will have guys like Nick Kuczwara, Mike Fry and Tom Achtien who should all score some points in their individual events. Bolingbrook is another team merely on the fact that they have senior jump sensation Troy Doris. Doris will be going after twenty points, while their throws and relays should also pick up some points. Belleville East, Springfield Southeast, Glenbard South, Thornton and Palatine are also a few other schools that could pick up points through a combination of various events. After all of these teams there are another half dozen schools that could score in the twenty-point range, which will earn a top ten finish for sure this year.

Event-by-Event Breakdown

100m Dash –
Richard Lewis (Jr., Rock Island)
Jerdo Williams (Sr., Cahokia)
DeMarcus Brooks (Jr., Springfield Southeast)
Summary: Last year the sprints in Illinois were down. For whatever reason there was no stud up top or depth behind him. This year, while there isn’t necessarily a stud sprinter, there are quite a few guys who have turned in some amazing performances this year thus far. Lewis is perhaps the best pure sprinter in the state. He has been one of the best all season long, running at meets with FAT and proving that his marks are legit. He did it again at sectionals and will be the top seed going into Friday’s prelims. Williams was second last year and really helped propel his team to the team win. This year Williams will need to do much the same and with another big point finish. Last year’s state champ is back as well in Brooks, and with all of that great state meet experience from last year, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Athletes like Brandon Goldsmith (Sr., Rockford Auburn), who ran the fastest time during the regular season, Raymon Parker (Sr., Romeoville) and Mark Herman (Sr., Andrew) are others that should make the final after having great sectional performances.

200m Dash –
DeMarcus Brooks (Jr., Springfield Southeast)
Richard Lewis (Jr., Rock Island)
Darren Patterson (Sr., Waukegan)
Summary: Last year’s state final in the 200 meters was a youthful one. There were five finalists who were non-seniors. Usually this event is a senior dominated one, but this year will once again be dominated by some young speedsters. Patterson, Warnether Banks (Jr., Springfield Lanphier) and state-champ Earnest Winters (Jr., Cahokia) all return as some of the top seeds, while guys like Brooks and Lewis have blazed fast times all season long. Last year no one broke twenty-two seconds in the finals, while this year that mark should be broken by a handful of individuals assuming the winds and rain don’t hinder them too much. This event is going to be a battle and could factor in nicely to the team race, with Banks and Winters having to score points to either build leads or increase their chances for a trophy. Other sprinters like Raymon Parker (Sr., Romeoville), Dusty Sluzewicz (Sr., Lockport Twp.) and Mark Herman (Sr., Andrew) should also find their way into the final.

400m Dash –
Darian Donald (So., Cahokia)
Mario McCottrell (Jr., East St. Louis Senior)
Jacob Arnold (So., Plainfield North)
Summary: In no other individual event is the dual between Cahokia and East St. Louis Senior more prevelant than in the 400m dash. With three of the top five fastest athletes entered in this event, Cahokia should have Donald and ESL with McCottrell and Artavious Kizer (Sr., East St. Louis Senior) should be one amazing team race. Donald will be the favorite after taking second last year as a freshman. He is one of the top quarter milers in the nation, but should still be challenged by Alex Jackson (SCE), Ben Matthies (Sr., Glenbard South), Airius Hunt (Sr., Zion Benton), Arnold and the ESL guys. This is going to be a great 400m dash and should produce top end marks of under 48 seconds, and hopefully will have a full field under forty-nine seconds. The depth in the event is youthful and energetic, and should create some major excitement in the stands between the Cahokia and ESL crowds.

800m Run –
Mat Smoody (Jr., Palatine)
Tom Robbins (Sr., Loyola)
Nick Kuczwara (Sr., York)
Summary: The magical barrier of 1:50 has not been broken since 1998, when Lincoln-Way standout Jason Van Swol broke it. This year, that mark could be put down once again if the race goes out fast enough. Smoody has been the shining light in the 800 this year, running the fastest time in the state both during the regular season and at sectionals. He has run in the 1:51-1:53 range three times and will be looking to do something outstanding at state after missing the finals last year. Robbins, Kuczwara, Evan Jager (Sr., Jacobs) Kyle Kunz (Sr., Wheaton North) and Lewis Brown (Sr., Bolingbrook) are the only other athletes to break the 1:54 mark this year, which begs the question as to just how fast will the race go out? With Robbins and Yosef Tewolde (Sr., Elgin) being the only two all-staters back in the event, this event is wide open for some newcomers to come in and earn a top spot. Two key questions…1. Will Robbins even run the 800? There is speculation that he may only run the 1600. 2. How much faster can Brown run? He dropped two seconds off his PR at sectionals and seems to be the surprise of sectional weekend in the distance events.

1600m Run –
Evan Jager (Sr., Jacobs)
Tom Robbins (Sr., Loyola)
Cory Nanni (Sr., Normal Community West)
Summary: It usually takes running around 4:18 to make the final of the 1600m run. Some years it takes something faster, some years slower. Only twelve make the final field and the competition is always fierce. 31 young men ran faster than 4:24, which is kind of the mark that you still have a shot to make the finals. 31 young men for 12 spots…the prelims are going to be sick! The obvious favorites for this event are Jager, Robbins and Dan Chenoweth (Sr., Geneseo). Each has run amazing times in other events and it is just a matter of bringing them all together to really blaze one. Robbins is the only runner in the state to break 4:10 so far, but he could be doubling back from the 800. Jager and Chenoweth will have already forged a battle in the 3200 and could be increasingly tired. That could leave it open for a surprise in someone like Nanni or Mike Fry (Sr., York) if they only run the 1600. The door is wide open and there are dozens of names that could pop up and surprise. Unlike almost every other event, this event is a crapshoot and you can bet a lot of surprises will happen in this one.

3200m Run –
Evan Jager (Sr., Jacobs)
Kevin Havel (Jr., Hersey)
Dan Chenoweth (Sr., Geneseo)
Summary: Heat was a grueling factor last year in the 3200m run. While it will still be warm this year (85 degrees), overcast skies and perhaps a light rain will help keep the field cool, while the top runners will be burning up the track. The star power up front in this race is ridiculous. Two of the athletes, Chenoweth and Chris Derrick (Jr., Neuqua Valley), have already broken the nine-minute mark, while Jager and Havel have both run right around nine-flat. These four should be the class of the field and you can expect at least one of them to make this race blazing fast. Jager has fantastic leg speed and the other three will need to take that kick out of him if they hope to win. Havel proved it was possible at the Prospect Invitational. Chenoweth has been running amazing times all year practically by himself and could really break out in this race. Others such as Luke Ryan (Sr., Downers Grove North), Ryan Jacobs (Sr., Honeonegah), Tom Achtien (Jr., York), David Grange (Sr., Marmion) and Blake Brooks (Jr., Dunlap) should all be shooting to run 9:10 or faster, while sophomore sensation Danny Pawola (Neuqua Valley) is one of the top sophomore in the nation and could have another break through race. This event is deeper than it has ever been and with all the talent should create one heck of a race.

110m High Hurdles –
Artavius Kizer (Sr., East St. Louis Senior)
Clyde Young (Sr., Cahokia)
Josh Gist (Sr., Thornwood)
Summary: There were three juniors in last year’s field that consisted with the rest being seniors. Those three seniors are back and will be the three favorites in this event. Kizer has been running great all season long, but didn’t perform up to par at sectionals, where he ran 14.2h. Gist, Young and William Lindsey (So., Thornton) were the top performers at sectionals and should carry that momentum and confidence into the state meet. Last year no one broke 14.5 with windy conditions. This year the weather is just as skeptical for the short sprints, but the times should be faster for certain. Other athletes such as, Andre Townsend (Sr., Hillcrest) and Tyler Sipes (Jr., Bloomington) should be in contention for the win as well if they hit their perfect race.

300m Intermediate Hurdles –
Andre Townsend (Sr., Hillcrest)
Tyler Sipes (Jr., Bloomington)
Kraig Appleton (So., East St. Louis Senior)
Summary: Both Townsend and Sipes broke forty seconds at their sectionals in FAT races. While this is quite an accomplishment, you can bet that they are going to have to run a little bit faster than they did to win this race, as it is loaded with great young talent and crowds of experienced seniors. Appleton, William Lindsey (So., Thornton) and Dan Hagberg (Jr., Burlington Central) are three of those young talents, as all will be looking to score some needed team points. Appleton is key since Artavious Kizer (Sr., East St. Louis Senior) isn’t entered in this race and was the number two returnee. ESL will be counting on him for huge points. Preston Smith (Sr., Normal U-High) is someone who has been overlooked all year, but turned in one phenomenal sectional performance and is now a favorite for a top three finish, while keep an eye on Martavis Hines (Sr., Cahokia) who was runner-up last year, but didn’t run exceptionally at sectionals.

4x100m Relay –
East St. Louis Senior
Springfield Lanphier
Summary: The best sprint programs in the state are always the leaders when it comes to the 4x100m relay. This year all the power schools are the top teams in this event heading into Friday’s action. Cahokia, ESL, Springfield Lanphier and Thornwood will be the top four seeds, while Belleville East will also make a strong bid to garner a heat win. For each of these schools, this race represents some key points and also a kick-off to the rest of the days action. Early momentum is essential to winning a state title. Thornton and Lake Zurich could also be surprise teams that come up and compete. Thornton has an amazing sprint core that has been overlooked all year, and will need some big team points here if they hope to trophy. Lake Zurich ran 42.30 FAT at their sectional, which last year would have earned them fourth place. Cahokia last year set the state record of 41.42 in this event. This year that event record could be broken if the top teams stack the race with their fastest guys.

4x200m Relay –
East St. Louis Senior
Springfield Lanphier
Summary: Who would think that outside of Texas, Illinois would have the next two fastest 4x200m relay times? Well Cahokia and East St. Louis Senior have accomplished just that. This event is alive and healthy in Illinois and will feature the same teams that should compete for the top spots in the 4x1. Cahokia will be the hands down favorite for this event. They have been tearing up the track in this relay since last year and will look to repeat as champions. ESL will need to finish at least second to keep the point totals from getting out of hand, and return all four members of last years fourth place squad. Lake Zurich, Thornton, Thornwood, Belleville East and Bolingbrook are all top teams at this point.

4x400m Relay –
East St. Louis Senior
Glenbard South
Summary: Always the most exciting race of Saturday, this race could come down to who has the freshest legs left. ESL and Cahokia will both be going for last event bragging rights and of course they are the top two seeds. Glenbard South could have a very fresh relay team and will hope to challenge for the win as well. Thornwood has really come on late in the season and will be a top three contender, as will MSL rivals Palatine and Barrington. The field is extremely deep this year and it will take something amazing from teams just to get to the finals (sub-3:19.5 perhaps). The past few years have produced some amazing final races and with the talent collected in this one, this could be one of the fastest finals in a while.

4x800m Relay –
Glenbard South
St. Charles North
Summary: Just when one thinks Illinois might have a down year in this event, it comes up with two teams that could break 7:40 and a slew of other teams that could demolish 7:50. Every year this event kicks off the state meet with a deafening bang. York and Glenbard South are the easy favorites to push for the win. Both these teams return a lot of experience, finishing second (York) and third (Glenbard South), and return three runners a piece. Both have run under 7:45 and should push the awesome 7:40 barrier that so few teams break. St. Charles North is the team that could surprise. They have a bevy of young talent that has broken the 7:50 mark already and always seems to run their best at the state meet (they were 9th in this event last year). A few surprises took place at sectionals around the state. Burlington Central is actually the second fastest seed heading into Friday’s action. They dropped fifteen seconds since their county meet only a few weeks back. Cary Grove also dropped a big chunk of time at their sectional and should be chomping at the bit to earn an all-state spot. Various other schools should be ready to roll in the event as well, as Lake Forest, Lyons Twp., Prospect, Wheaton Warrenville South and Salem have all dipped under 7:57. This race always shows the power of Illinois and its depth and the 2007 version will be a mighty showcase.

Long Jump –
Troy Doris (Sr., Bolingbrook)
Clyde Young (Sr., Cahokia)
Tim Williams (Jr., Palatine)
Summary: Out of all the jumps, this one will be the most exciting by far. Early in the season Doris was the easy favorite for this event. However, over the past few weeks while he is still winning, he isn’t far and away the best in the state. Heading into Friday’s competition, there will be five guys who have a shot at winning, all of whom have broken the twenty-three foot barrier. Doris and Young will be the favorites, both being two of the most consistent jumpers in the state. These guys are the top two in the state in terms of longest jumps of the year too. Williams will be a force too, as he jumped to the top spot in the state last weekend on only one jump at sectionals. These three standout at this point, but Roger Jones (Jr., Belleville East) and Vernon George (Jr., Zion Benton) will also be right there, going for the win. Aveon James (Jr., East St. Louis Senior) and Justin Smith (So., Springfield Lanphier) are also athletes that will be hoping for big points for their team. This is an event that is crucial to teams scoring points and knocking others down. Look for a lot of the excitement to build from this event.

Triple Jump –
Troy Doris (Sr., Bolingbrook)
Kendrick McRath (Sr., Cahokia)
Ty Kirk (Jr., Rolling Meadows)
Summary: How long can Doris go? All season Doris has been leaping farther than any Illinois great has in a while and he has been doing it consistently. While he has had a minor heel injury, he has still been right around the fifty-feet mark, which will win him a state title. McRath and East St. Louis senior Nicholas King will be going head to head trying to outdo each other in this event, while Kirk will be a stud that few will think about, but could pop a great jump and push Doris. While Doris is the only person that will push fifty feet this year, this event will still be a good one.

High Jump –
Major Clay (Sr., Springfield Lanphier)
Mykhail Chambers (Jr., Urbana)
Phillip Thomas (Jr., Alton)
Summary: This is by far the worst year in the high jump in a long, long time. Clay is the easy favorite, being the only person in the field to clear over 6’6” all season long according to IPTT. He will win unless he becomes injured and should put on a show as he will try to break the seven-foot barrier. The only others with state finals experience are ’06 runner-up Chambers and Thomas.

Shot Put –
Colin Madison (Sr., Willowbrook)
Jason Seaman (Sr., Mahomet-Seymour)
Adam Gettis (Sr., Lincoln-Way East)
Summary: Sixty-plus feet here we come. For the first time in a very, very long time, there could be more than a handful of guys to break sixty feet in the shot put. This year there have already been six athletes to break sixty-feet, with another dozen that have thrown fifty-eight and a half feet. Madison is the favorite after throwing 62 feet earlier in the season and threw the second best mark at sectionals. He also is the returning state champ, so he obviously knows how to put it together on the day. Along with Madison, Gettis is the only other returnee from last years final. These two, along with: Seaman, George Weed (Jr., Springfield Lanphier), Jon Makowski (Sr., Hoffam Estates) London Davis (Sr., Cahokia) and Adam Ruiz (Sr., Mascoutah) should all push the sixty feet mark and should be in contention for the win. The darkhorse in the field will be sophomore sensation Dan Block (Lake Park), who has been the best discus/shot combination thrower all year and his brother Scott won the state title in this event back in 2003. He is the future of the event. There is so much excitement in this event and is one that should be watched all day Friday and Saturday. This could be the best shot put field in the past two decades!

Discus –
Ryan Asta (Sr., Barrington)
Dan Block (So., Lake Park)
Brett Einbecker (Jr., Waubonsie Valley)
Summary: This event is wide open this year. Not only did a majority of the finalists from last year graduate, but the second place finisher from last year, Nick Bledsoe (Sr., Wheeling), didn’t even qualify in the event. So the questions will arise from now until state as to who will be the king of the ring. Asta has to be the favorite after throwing exceptionally well at sectionals and is the top returnee from ’06 (sixth place). He has been a staple for his strong Barrington squad all year and should continue that trend. Block and Einbecker are both wet behind the ears, as neither have any state meet experience in this event, but both have thrown over 180 feet. These three actually are the only three in the state to throw over 172 feet that are in the field. It should be a three-way battle for the win, with Asta being the favorite at this time. Others that should contend for top five are: Andrew Burnell (Sr., Dixon), George Weed (Jr., Springfield Lanphier) and Joe Golata (Jr., Fremd).

Pole Vault –
Sam Kranz (Sr., Kaneland)
Mick Viken (So., Rolling Meadows)
Andy Ryan (Sr., Rolling Meadows)
Summary: The pole vault is one of the most exciting events year-in and year-out at the state meet. With the set-up of the vault pits on the backstretch of the stadium, true vault fans can congregate within mere feet of the pits and cheer on their favorite athletes. It is quite a sight when the bar starts to raise and the action heats up. Over the past ten years, Kaneland High School and Rolling Meadows High School have produced a combined twelve all-state vaulters. These two schools have dominated the vaulting and 2007 will be no exception. Kaneland’s San Kranz was third in 2006 and should be the favorite going into Friday’s prelims. He will continue the line of great Kaneland vaulters, who have produced an outstanding 18 all-state athletes in this event since 1973! Rolling Meadows will have two young men going after the top spot. Mick Viken will try to be the first Viken brother to win a state championship after his Don took fourth in 2000 and his brother Dave finished as high as second in 2003. Mick is one of the best sophomore vaulters in the country. Viken’s teammate Ryan had some bad luck last year. He was one of the favorites going into the season, but broke his arm and couldn’t compete at the state meet. He will be out for some redemption and should push some amazing marks. Others that will definitely factor into the mix will be Mitchell Ericson (Jr., Marion Catholic), who currently has the top mark in the state, Joe Noonan (Sr., Lincoln-Way East), who just missed all-state last year and Jim Foreman (Sr., West Chicago), who was fourth in 2006.

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