Newms Notes - March 12, 2013
By Michael Newman
We head into the busiest week of the Illinois indoor season. While the world heads into March Madness with the NCAA basketball tournament and the conclusion of the IHSA basketball tournament, the track & field world heads into a madness of its own this weekend with conference & major meets that will clutter the state.
Before we move forward, let us look at a few stories from the previous week to get ourselves into a madness of our own.
One omission from NBIN
While looking at the results on Sunday at some of the top performances at the New Balance Indoor Nationals, I completely missed the performance that Maya Neal (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville) had in the pentathlon contested on Saturday.
The talented sophomore finished fifth in the five event competition earning her All-American Honors. She started out her Saturday finishing sixth in the 60 Meter Hurdles (9.23). From there, it was off to the field events where she went 28-2 ½ in the Shot Put. She boosted herself in the standings with an 18-2 ½ Long Jump which was third best out of all the competitors. From there, she went to the High Jump where she cleared 4-11 ¾ in the High Jump. She ended her day with a 2:28.52 800 Meter Run in which she finished third in that race. Put that all together and you get yourself an All-American performance.
Great job Maya!
Another to the Sub 11 club in 2013
Emily Brealsfoard (Normal Community West HS, Normal) became the seventh girl in Illinois this season to go under 11 minutes for 3200 Meters when she ran 10:53.78 to win the race at the Big 12 Girls Indoor Conference Meet at the Shirk Center at Illinois Wesleyan University. She is currently ranked #32 in the United States with that performance. She came back to also win the 1600 in 5:13.94 which is currently #9 in Illinois.
Danville won the girls championship by 7 ½ points over Normal Community behind the performance of Alexis Jimson-Miller’s three wins in the 60 Hurdles, 200 & 400 Meter Dashes. Jimson Miller was also a part of Danville’s second place team in the 4 x 400 Meter Relay. Other Danville wins came in the 4 x 200 Meter Relay and Emone Davis winning in the 60 Meter Dash.
More on Bollinger’s 3200
It was a total shock to the Illinois Track world that Freshman Skyler Bollinger (Yorkville HS, Yorkville) ran 10:36 to win the Plainfield South Girls Invitational on Friday Night. It also caught Yorkville Coach Ben Draper a bit off guard as well.
“The 3200 kind of took us by surprise,” said Draper. Bollinger went by the 1600 in a PR 5:07. She then motored on from there lapping the field. She later ran 5:13 in the mile, but that was a controlled effort according to her coach. “Skyler came back and ran a 5:13 in the mile—she was in flats, and we actually slowed her up a couple of times (I'm pretty sure the goal was a 5:15, and a couple laps in she was already 4-5 seconds fast. She probably could have killed that mile if we let her loose,” Draper added.
Bollinger will be competing in the Illinois Top Times meet in a couple of weeks but in what events? If you remember a few weeks ago, she led off the victorious 4 x 800 Meter Relay with a 2:19 split at the Mustang Relays. If she does run in the 3200, she could be going up against Kaylee Flanagan (Lake Park HS, Roselle).
Wouldn’t that be fun to watch!
We should not forget to mention sister Mackenzie Bollinger who also had a big night at Plainfield. The senior, who transferred to Yorkville from Aurora Christian last fall, jumped 38-6 ½ to win the Triple Jump. That effort puts her #2 this season in that event in Illinois. Mackenzie has also jumped 18-9 in the Long Jump on February 21 in Sycamore which is also #2 in Illinois
Remembering what goes into the vault first
I think it could be fair to say that Luke Winder (Plainfield Central HS, Plainfield) was focused in winning the Windy City Pole Vault Summit a week ago. He only cleared 14-11 to place third in the competition. Disappointed with that effort, Winder took a different approach as he competed at the Quad meet last Thursday at Wheaton-Warrenville South when he cleared 16-5 for a new PR and indoor school record.
“I can’t even start to express how good it felt,” Winder said the day after his epic vault. “ I kept my technique together and focused on the process rather than the outcome.”
I know the state meets don’t occur until May, but it is fun to speculate what could happen in some of the competitions then. With the performances of Lincoln-Way East and Edwardsville last weekend, those two teams are heading for a collision at O’Brien Stadium.
Lincoln-Way East has the slight advantage so far. They have Aaliyah Brown who should give them 20 points in both of the short sprints. The 4x1, 4x2, and 4x4 Relays could all score big point as well. Add in multi event star Julia Junkoski in the High Jump and Pole Vault and it puts the Lady Griffins in front.
Edwardsville will get BIG points in both the Shot Put and the Discus from Emmonie Henderson and Aliyah Covington. Henderson has the third longest effort in the country in the Shot Put so far this season under roof. Both athletes are rated in the top three in Illinois. Just like last year, we will watch Edwardsville develop as the outdoor season goes on in the relays and the sprints.
I know this does not have anything to do with track & field, but it does in a way when an action passes forth the wrong message.
At the State 2A Boys Basketball Finals in Peoria, Seton Academy was ahead of Harrisburg by 10 points when point guard Mark Weems Jr., the star of their team, was ejected from the game after he made accidental contact with an official. Even though it was accidental, a rule is a rule and the player was dismissed from the game. Seton never seemed to recover from that point.
The story was immediately after the game was over. The Seton Academy players sat at their bench devastated by the outcome while Harrisburg jubilantly celebrated their championship. A tradition after the game is both teams line up and congratulate each other. The problem was that when Harrisburg was in line, Seton Academy stayed on the bench. It took an unidentified adult to tell the team to get in line.
It was not from the Seton Academy Coach Brandon Thomas.
I should point out also that immediately after the teams went through the line, Harrisburg started to celebrate again but this time in front of the Seton Academy bench. After a minute of that, the team was moved away from the area.
It was an ugly award ceremony. A devastated Seton Academy team accepted their 2nd place medals and that was it. Thomas immediately took his medal off after words and tossed it to a coach. Perhaps the most defining point of disrespect was when Seton Academy refused to accept the second place trophy.
“"We told them to come out there and if they were not out there by the time Harrisburg (was done) they would not receive their trophy, ever," Illinois High School Association executive director Marty Hickman said. "They chose not to come out. We've never had that happen before."
Thomas was seen after this happened yelling back and forth with fans in the stands. The coach also refused to attend the post game press conference that coaches are required to attend according to IHSA rules. The team needed to be escorted out of Carver Arena by police for their protection.
The coach, Brandon Thomas, brought across the wrong message. It could have been a teaching moment where his athletes could have learned something positive from what had happened. Instead we have what happened on Saturday night.
There are circumstances where we want things to happen when we compete and sometimes those dreams do not come true. It is how we react to that disappointment that defines us. You find out at that point if you have character, or you are a character. The Coach’s actions reflected badly towards his athletes, the school, and the community that the school is in. You can see the same thing in winning also. Harrisburg did that in celebrating in front of the Seton bench. I’ve seen it happen before events in the last year. The actions of a team have to come from somewhere and it starts with the coach in setting standards for how the team should act. Those types of negative actions make me sick to my stomach.
So when we get to that difficult moment, that fork in the road, where we need to make a decision on how we act, take the high road and think about how your actions will reflect on the people that are in the event. We should not be taunting or trying to get a reaction from someone in the social internet world. It reflects on you. It reflects on the teaching that you receive from the coach.
Some people will never learn. It is a pity when that happens. Hopefully something will be learned from this situation.
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Have a good week all!