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2013 Class A Boys Sprints And Distance Preview

Leo's Marlon Britton returns as 110HH fave/Bob Geiger ESPN HS

Leo’s Marlon Britton returns as 110HH fave/Bob Geiger ESPN HS Photo

Sprint events

100m-
2012 State Champion: Dontae Pryor (Kewanee) 10.61 [+2.2]
Key returners: Brent Albertson (Sr., Flanagan-Cornell), Theo Hopkins (Jr., Chicago Leo), Cameron Walter (Sr., Greenville), Carvel Dixon (Sr., Madison).
Outlook: The Century event will undergo major changes as the state champion Pryor and four other speedsters have graduated.  Albertson is the top returner by the numbers- edging out Hopkins by .01 for fifth 10.83-10.84.  That same scenario could unfold if Hopkins has to carry a full workload for his team’s title hopes.

400m-
2012 State Champion: Dan Farmer (Johnston City) 49.25
Key returners: Tim Doll (Jr., Westmont), Tevin Sellers (Sr., Lena-Winslow), Devin Johnson (Sr., Erie), Jake Gullstrand (Sr., Indian Creek), John Lawrence (Jr., ROWVA), Alex Hunt (Sr., Eureka).
Outlook: Doll returns in the lead role after running 49.99 and placing second at state.  The competition to stay ahead of the likes of Sellers and five other returners will be a tough challenge.  The margin of time placement among the returning group is about 1.3 seconds.

200m-
2012 State Champion: Dan Farmer (Johnston City) 22.37 [+1.9]
Key returners: Nick Rude (Sr., Sterling Newman Central Catholic), Theo Hopkins (Jr., Chicago Leo), Cameron Walter (Sr., Greenville), Joe Morrow (Sr., Chicago Hales Franciscan).
Outlook: This event has the potential to be real strong if the top returner Rude and key challenger Hopkins take pride in at the end of a long season.  In a lot of instances, the half-lap dash has become an afterthought if team trophy are points already accounted for.  Some coaches have asked their athletes to tanked the race for a final push on the 4×4 relay.  Maybe a solid returning field stocked with upperclassmen will produce fast marks throughout the season.

100HH-
2012 State Champion: Colin Carver (Casey-Westfield) 14.65 [+4.6]
Key returners: Marlon Britton (Sr., Chicago Leo), Joe Morrow (Sr., Chicago Hales Franciscan), Payton Holmes (Sr., Mercer County),Vinny Strack (Sr., Monticello).
Outlook: Britton will be an important cog in his team’s three-peat chase this season after copping the runner-up spot.  He will also battle Chicago Catholic League foe Morrow all season for bragging rights. Britton beat Morrow 14.69-14.73 in the state final last year.

300H
2012 State Champion: Colin Carver (Casey-Westfield) 38.71
Key returners: Jason Bliven (Sr., Trenton Wesclin), Logan Hoffert (Sr., Manlius Bureau Valley).
Outlook: Bliven and Hoffert will be the main figures in an event very thin due to heavy graduation losses.  Bliven placed fourth in last spring’s championship running 40.26.  He should be well under the 40-second mark this year.

Distance events

3200m-
2012 State Champion: Steve Schroeder (Monticello) 9:39.10
Key returners: Luke Hill (Sr., Ottawa Marquette), Kevin Claus (Sr., Port Byron Riverdale), Jesse Hahn (Sr., Danville Schlarman), Austin Ackman (Sr., Havana)
Outlook: No offense to the key returners from last year’s state final, but this year’s champion and best runner (injuries barred) will come elsewhere. Grant Nykaza (Sr., Beecher), who recently completed an undefeated cross country season against all state classifications, will now be poised to finish off his storied career before heading to Florida State in a favored role.  “I battled a stress fracture in my shin and was out for some of March and most of April,” Nykaza said of not running the deuce in last year’s state series.  “I didn’t have enough base mileage to do both events at state.  So, I decided to [just run] the mile because I didn’t need much base to back me up.”  Despite an expected quality field this spring, there will be no Jake Brown (Sr., Mt. Zion), Chad French (Sr., Canton), or Ethan Adlfinger (Sr., Rock Island Alleman)- the three standouts competed in the 1A cross country finals with 2nd, 4th, and 5th placements, will stay in the 2A ranks for track.  Nykaza will have to achieve his sub-9:00 goals in bigger meets against national caliber fields.  He plans to run in the prestigious Arcadia Invitational 3200m in April.

800m-
2012 State Champion: Eric Leonard (Niantic Sangamon Valley) 1:54.61
Key returners: Blake Hale (Sr., Robinson), Michael Brown (Jr., Carmi-White County), George Gunter (Jr., Urbana University), Wyatt Avenatti (Jr., Georgetown-Ridge Farms).
Outlook: last year’s champ Leonard seized his moment with a solid 55.3 opening 400 that surprised the field and certainly the fan’s favorite Hale who finished third.  Hale, who has verbally committed to Indiana State University, will be out for vengeance.  He improved his endurance strength during the past summer that led to a seventh-place effort in the cross country final.  There is no reason believe that the great speed that he possesses should not lead to some extraordinary performances this spring.  But keep an eye open for an event that has a knack for producing unforeseen outcomes.  Brown and Gunter are expected to be key opponents this season.

Nykaza/NWI Times photo

Nykaza/NWI Times photo

1600m-
2012 State Champion: Grant Nykaza (Beecher) 4:18.34
Key returners: Nykaza, Nick Hess (Jr., Champaign St. Thomas More), Connor Ehnle (Jr.,) Tremont, Michael Brown (Jr., Carmi-White County), Jesse Hahne (Sr., Danville Schlarman).
Outlook: Nykaza is the extreme favorite here after winning over a tough foe Steve Schroeder (Monticello).  Schroeder now competes and defends for the United States Naval Academy.  Hess, Hahn, and few other returners will give their best efforts, but it’s highly doubtful they will be able to keep pace with Nykaza.  Nykaza has plans on running 4:06 this spring.  He undoubtedly expects to be among the very best in the nation this spring.

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