Illinois Top Times Championships - Girls 2A Preview
By Michael Newman
Session 2 of the Illinois Top Times Championships will feature some of the top athletes in 2A. The girls meet will feature the incredible talents of Shamier Little (Lindblom HS, Chicago). The future Texas A&M Aggie will run in three events Saturday with designs on winning all three events.
There are some quality athletes in those events that will have other thoughts about Little winning.
Here is a look at each of the events in the Girls 2A Competition:
On the track…
3200 Meter run – Maura Beattie (Woodstock HS, Woodstock) ran a great race last week at the Nelson Daniels Classic at UW-Whitewater running 11:17.31 for the win. Waiting for her in this race is Katie Adams (Marengo HS, Marengo). In the last 3200 that Adams ran, she bided her time at the Hononegah Invitational and broke away in the last 800 (11:23.59). It should be a close battle between the two of these great runners. Do not be surprised if we see another sub 11 in this race.
This is a good field where we could have 4 to 5 runners at 11:30 or under. Freshman Brianna Bower (Kaneland HS, Maple Park) ran 11:35 last week at her conference meet and will be in the mix. Other runners to watch include Catherine Kitz (Montini Catholic, Lombard), Sarah Curci (University HS, Chicago), Lauren Whitehouse (Mahomet-Seymour HS, Mahomet), and Lindsay Rogers (Glenwood HS, Chatham). One runner to watch is Maryjeanne Gilbert (Notre Dame HS, Peoria). Even though she ran 11:50, that was early in the year. She could be in the mix with the leaders.
4 x 800 Meter Relay – This will be a close event. The top 7 teams in this field are all within 10 seconds of each other. All of the seed times are around 10 minutes. I think we see a winning time in the mid 9:40’s on Saturday.
It is hard to handicap this race with so much talent here. Hometown favorite Normal University may have a slight edge especially if Sydney Billingsley anchoring. Monticello moves in 2A this year and has the talent to challenge the title led by Hannah Houska. Rochester is a young hungry team led by Freshman Meagan McNicholas will be in the mix.
Montini has the strong distance running tradition and talent to run with the leaders on Saurday. Also watch for Mattoon, Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin, Burlington Central, and Chatham-Glenwood. This is a deep field. I think anyone that steps to the starting line has a realistic chance of winning.
60 Meter Hurdles – Could you consider anyone else as the favorite other than Shamier Little (Lindblom HS, Chicago) in this race? A member of the United States Junior team last year, she makes her first appearance in this event.
Little has the fastest time in both the 55 and 60 Hurdles with the next closest athlete being within .60 to .75 of her. In a hurdles race, that is like a lifetime. Little is so technically smooth in this event it would be hard to see her lose.
Anything can happen as you well know. Keep an eye also on Shaneice Buford (Carbondale HS, Carbondale), Lilia Edwards (Sycamore HS, Sycamore), Hanna Vanderhayden (Geneseo HS, Geneseo), Chante Stonewell (Normal University HS, Normal), and Justice Collins (Southeast HS, Springfield) to challenge Little in this event.
60 Meter Dash – With list leaders Charday Crawford (Southeast HS, Springfield) and Elexis Fairley (Morgan Park HS, Chicago) not competing in this meet, the top seed in this event is Ebony McClendon (Brooks College Prep, Chicago). The junior has run 7.82 for the 60 this spring. Kaliyah Cobb (Carbondale HS, Carbondale) is just behind her running 7.85 at the beginning of the month at SIU.
This is another good field. Keep an eye on Ryan Preacely (Noble Street Charter/Johnson, Chicago), Jemiya Bates & Tyjuana Eason (Kankakee HS, Kankakee), Lauren Zick (Kaneland HS, Maple Park), and Jazmin Jackson (Glenwood HS, Chatham) to be in the hunt for the win. Also watch for Sarah Bell (Central Catholic HS, Bloomington). The indoor state record holder in the Pole Vault has qualified in this event running a 7.41 55 at the Jacksonville Invitational.
800 Meter Run – 2A list leader Sydney Billingsley (University HS, Normal) is not running in this event instead concentrating on the 4 x8 and the 1600. It leads the field pretty much wide open with a number of quality runners vying for the win.
Freshman Karina Liz (Central Catholic HS, Aurora), Danielle Griesbaum (Lakes HS, Lake Villa), and Kayla Wolf (Central HS, Burlington) are the three runners that I would watch in this race. At the beginning of the month, Griesbaum and Wolff finished 2-3 to Hononegah’s Courtney Clayton at the Hononegah Invitational.
Other runners to watch include Hannah Houska (Monticello HS, Monticello), Emily Ford (Geneseo HS, Geneseo), Francesca Sikorski (Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet), and Theresa Connelly (Montini Catholic HS, Lombard).
4 x 200 Meter Relay - Again, a close race in a relay event. Springfield Southeast ran 1:46.76 last Saturday at the Bloomington Invitational and have the fastest seeded time. Kankakee finished fourth last Saturday at Gene Armer behind Danville, Lincoln-Way East, and Kankakee. A good team that could win in this race.
Other schools to watch include Champaign Centennial, Carbondale, Decatur MacArthur, and Chicago Brooks College Prep.
400 Meter Dash – Race #2 for Shamier Little (Lindblom HS, Chicago) on this day. She has the third fastest time in the nation in this event (54.65). There are two other runners in 2A besides Little that have run under 60 seconds in the 400 this season: Brittani Griesbaum (Lakes HS, Lake Villa) and Michelle Dobbs (Rochelle HS, Rochelle). Griesbaum, only a freshman, ran 57.76 last week at Carthage and could go even lower on the big stage.
Other runners to watch include Nicole Dentzman (Lanphier HS, Springfield), Elizabeth Pagan & Ashley Fouch (Hampshire HS, Hampshire), and Jordyn Looman (Centralia HS, Centralia).
1600 Meter Run – Else Rehberg (Central HS, Grayslake) ran 5:14.93 last week at Carthage and has the fastest seed time. It could be a couple of freshmen that steal this race.
Adrienne Brauer (PORTA HS, Petersburg) won the Gene Armer Invitational last week in 5:15.11. Meagan McNicholas (Rochester HS, Rochester) is another freshman that will challenge having finished 2nd two weeks ago at Charleston. Sydney Billingsley (University HS, Normal), and Katie Adams (Marengo HS, Marengo) are two runners that have that big race experience and could walk away from the Shirk Center in this race.
Other runners to watch include Faith Weiand (Central Catholic HS, Bloomington), Megan Shaffer (Mattoon HS, Mattoon), and Maria Brauer (PORTA HS, Petersburg).
200 Meter Dash – Shamier Little (Lindblom HS, Chicago) has the fastest seed time (24.68) by more than one second over Ebony McClendon (Brooks College Prep, Chicago). These two sprinters are the class of the field in this event. Hard to see anyone else challenging these two.
Other sprinters to watch include Jazmin Jackson (Glenwood HS, Chatham), Jenniba Johnson (Triad HS, Troy), and Lisa Rodriguez (Central Catholic HS, Aurora).
4 x 400 Meter Relay – Springfield Southeast and Champaign Centennial are the co-favorites in this event. Southeast ran 4:06.25 to place third at Gene Armer. Centennial ran 4:06.73 at their conference meet. These are the two teams that will challenge here.
Keep an eye also on Carbondale, Hampshire, Mahomet-Seymour, and Kankakee to challenge for the win as well.
In the field…
Long Jump – In a week were there were some fabulous performances, the one that slipped by us was the 18-9 ½ jump by FRESHMAN Brittani Griesbaum (Lakes HS, Lake Villa). She has the longest performance in this event by over foot and a half of competitors in this field.
Brion Portis (Southeast HS, Springfield) has the second longest performance (17-7) and has the best chance to win outside of Griesbaum. Another that I would consider for the win is Elizabeth Pagan (Hampshire HS, Hampshire). Other athletes to watch include Taylor McCamon (Kankakee HS, Kankakee), Phoenix Smallwood (Princeton HS, Princeton), and Lauren Zick (Kaneland HS, Maple Park).
Triple Jump – Brion Portis (Southeast HS, Springfield) is one of the elite triple jumpers in the country. In this competition, she has the longest mark by over 2 feet. Tamara Jones (Brooks College Prep, Chicago) jumped 36-2 last weekend and is the second seed. However, she has a lot of work to do to catch Portis.
Other athletes to keep an eye on include Shaniece Buford (Carbondale HS, Carbondale), Phoenix Smallwood (Princeton HS, Princeton), Kanika Bass (MacArthur HS, Decatur), and Sydney Jones (Jersey HS, Jerseyville).
High Jump - A good field with 4 jumpers ranked in the top 100 nationally. There are two athletes that have cleared 5-6 this season: Gillian Urycki (Meatmora HS, Metamora) and Haleigh Knapp (Morris Community HS, Morris). Katie Trupp (Central HS, Burlington) and Abi Sowash (Triad HS, Triad) are close behind clearing 5-5.
Dasha O’Shea (University HS, Normal) and Addison Ely (Central Catholic HS, Bloomington) both qualified for this event last Monday at the Clinton Last Chance clearing 5-5. They have a shot to place in the top 3 on Saturday. Other athletes to also watch include Jamie DeFauw (Geneseo HS, Geneseo), Elise Hocking (Mahomet-Seymour HS, Mahomet), and Sami Battle (Pontiac HS, Pontiac).
Pole Vault – The question here is not if Sarah Bell (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Bloomington) will win, but how high she will go. She cleared 13-2 to set a state indoor record. In this event on a runway that she is very familiar with, chances are good she will go over 13-0 but how far over?
Others to watch include Katie Trupp (Central HS, Burlington), Jessica Melchi (Mahomet-Seymour HS, Mahomet), Kassadee Ifft (Prairie Central HS, Fairbury), and Lindsay Murray (Harrisburg HS, Harrisburg).
Shot Put – Lena Giger (Highland HS, Highland) is ranked #19 nationally. Gabi Jacobs (University HS, Normal) is ranked #21 nationally. These two should have a great competition Saturday. Jacobs is on a roll winning the Normal West Invite last week in 43-10.
This is a deep field. Athletes to watch in this event include Claire Nolan (Taylorville HS, Taylorville), Lindsay Herra (Boylan Catholic HS, Rockford), and Bryn Buckwalter (Freeport HS, Freeport). Could we see a 45 foot put win on Saturday? There is a good possibility that could happen.
Good Luck to all athletes, coaches, and fans on Saturday!