The quality of the state championship is going to be interesting on many fronts this season with major team and individual implications on the line. As it is frequently mentioned, team championships are often won in the field. Edwardsville followed the same blue print as their other classification peers in seizing the opportunity to rack up points before a single track event is run. This formula is similar to a baseball team scoring in the first inning. It allows the beneficial starting pitcher to stay settle down and just throw strikes.
Below are the categories of each event break down:
2012 State Champion: Savannah Carson (Sr., Naperville Neuqua Valley) 19-4.5 [+2.0]
Key returners: Carson, Aliyah Harmon (Sr., Olympia Fields Rich Central), Maya Neal (So., Naperville Neuqua Valley), Parker English (Jr., Evanston), Claudette Day (Jr., Belleville West), Emma Spagnola (Jr., Aurora West), Jasmine Brown (Sr., DeKalb), Ebony Smith (Sr., Waukegan), Brenna Detra (Sr., Peoria Richwoods).
Outlook: Whew wee! There is no doubt that year is going to be a great season to be a jumper- the best ever in IHSA history if everything goes to the form charts. The top four jumpers and seven of the best eight return here. Last year, it took 17-9.75 to make the final. That means there were 12 jumpers leaping to a height in every other year that guarantees a state medal. The top three returners eclipsed the 19-foot mark in last year’s state final- more proof this is the deepest returning ever. Harmon’s 19-2.5 is a gold medal in almost every year. She now knows she has to set her heights even higher this season. Could we see two 20-footers? Carson is definitely capable of achieving the monster feat. Neal produced a slightly wind-aided 19-1 in ’12. She is known more for her all-around talents on the track and in the field. It’s hard to believe that long jumping is probably her third best event behind the hurdles. Watch for a slew of high 18-foot talent in English, Day, Spagnola, and Brown to enhance this event.
2012 State Champion: Carolina Carmichael (Lake Forest) 12-6
Key returners: Brittany Hull (Sr., Normal Community), Mckenzee Kroeschell (Sr., Oak Park-River Forest), Carly Schmidt (Sr., Lake Forest), Maya Golliday (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Hope Turner (Sr., Naperville North), Julia Junkroski (So., Frankfort Lincoln-Way East).
Outlook: 2012 could be described as a mixed year for Hull to put it very mildly. She completed the indoor season ranked co US#1 at 13-0.25 with great friend Sarah Bell (Bloomington Central Catholic). At that moment it appeared as if the world was in her hands. But something happened. Hull sustained a quad injury just prior to that monster mid-March vault, but the incident wasn’t talked about much. In retrospect, it may have been the determining factor in why she wasn’t able to return to form. The final result was a disappointing second place finish in state. Hull was able to rebound somewhat in June to place eighth at the junior nationals. Hopefully, the quad is healed and ready to go this year. The little known Kroeschell made a name by quietly moving about throughout the 2012 season and then boom! It seems the traveling to Kansas for some top notched coaching tips has paid off in a big way. Kroeschell connected on a big personal best of 12-3 at state to place third. She and Schmidt who took fourth, will keep Hull honest if she is indeed turns out to be the state’s pre-eminent vaulter.
2012 State Champion: Emma Haugen (So., LaGrange Lyons Twp.) 5-7
Key returners: Haugen, Omo Tseumah (Sr., Huntley), Deborrah Blackburn (Jr., Edwardsville),Tyshai Freeman (Sr., Roselle Lake Park), Kelsey Shannon (Jr., Belleville West).
Outlook: It’s hard to believe that big class high jumping has gotten this low. Not a single jumper cleared the measuring stick mark of 5-9 last year. Let’s give props to the winner Haugen for winning a state title as a freshman. She has done her job well, but it’s the rest of the lot that has underperformed over the past several years. And it doesn’t get any better either. The nearest competitor only achieved 5-7 and there will be just four girls above the 5-6 mark returning. To say the least, this event has nowhere to go but up.
2012 State Champion: Emmonnie Henderson (Sr., Edwardsville) 48-2.5
Key returners: Henderson, Banke Oginni (Jr., Hoffman Estates), Morgan Keller (Sr., Rolling Meadows), Aaliyah Covington (Jr., Edwardsville), Tina Norris (Sr., Naperville Central).
Outlook: The fans of Illinois have been fortunate to see some of the best throwing in history over the ten years. Henderson is the latest product behind former greats Dani Bunch (Mahomet-Seymour) and Kelsey Card (Carlinville) to make throwing events a must see. Forget the sport of basketball where Henderson is also great- she has signed to play hoops for the University of Louisville. This four year superstar is poised to become a four-time champion in the biggest and toughest classification. It has never been done before. Bunch is credited with the 3A all-time record of 51-0.25 as well as the IHSA state meet mark of 49-4.75 because there were only two classifications in 2008. However, the 48-2.5 mark that Henderson put up last year should be more than a foot note in state annals. At the end of the day, it may not even matter if the 50-foot mark is the goal that Henderson is shooting for. It is sorry to say but everyone else will be shooting for second place this year. Oginni, Keller, and Covington fill out the second through fourth returning spots respectively.
2012 State Champion: Chaz Duson (Olympia Fields Rich Central) 40-6.25 [NWI]
Key returners: Chardae Greenlee (Sr., Calumet City Thornton Fractional North), Jasmine Brown (Sr., Dekalb), Ebony Smith (Sr., Waukegan), Meg Jump (Sr., Palatine), Janile Rogers (Jr., Minooka).
Outlook: Greenlee is the top returner back after earning runner-up honors in Charleston last spring. As well, there are only three performers coming back who jumped over 38-feet. Those other two athletes? Brown and Smith will take their shot at Greenlee this year. This event has some potential growth with Jump and Rogers expecting to be among the top five jumpers at the end of the season.
2012 State Champion: Emmonnie Henderson (Sr., Edwardsville) 157-11
Key returners: Henderson, Melissa Dunham (Sr., Fox Lake Grant), Tia Robertson (Jr., Normal West), Morgan Keller (Sr., Rolling Meadows), Aaliyah Covington (Jr., Edwardsville), Holly Julifs (So., Aurora Metea Valley).
Outlook: One could copy and paste from the shot put section to describe all of the accolades for Henderson. However, it would not be fair to do that. There are not many throwers in IHSA annals that were proficient in both throws. Henderson is definitely the second best thrower and hurler going into this season- only the legendary Kelsey Card of Carlinville was better. But Henderson could surpass her monster 161-1 effort from 2011 and shoot for Card’s 167-2 state record sometime this season. It is going to be fun for the fans and media to watch and follow this season. Also, keep an eye on Dunham. She came of age last season producing a sweet 137-11 effort and earning second place in state. Dunham comes from a throwing factory that produced state champion Bailey Wagner and several other all-state hurlers. Three other key girls return to make this one of the deepest events in track and field. Robertson, Covington, and Julifs are potential 130-foot throwers this season.