If you were a distance runner Friday night, the Gately Track was the perfect place to be
The CYUP Misfits meet management had an idea to host a 5k event shortly after the cross country season ended in November. However, several circumstances prevented such an occurrence from happening. Instead, a tremendous amount of patience was exercised and the idea of hosting a two-day event with a bevy of 1600s on the opening day.
Fast forward to late February, It is now the perfect time to present a format to race starving runners who have trained in some of the horrid conditions imaginable.
The opening races featured some feisty middle-school runners who were eager to test out the bouncy Gately banked track.
The girls kicked off the festivities with fifth-grader Elle Sheafer of Chicago winning the first-ever race in 5:50.27. After Madison Petersen of Grayslake lowered the time to 5:43.59, 8th grader Grace Boleyn of Iowa put the icing on the cake with a time of 5:21.23.
There were just two sections for the middle school boys and it was the junior high phenom- 8th grader Ben Gibson of Chicago Latin Junior High School who ran away with a record-setting victory in 4:36.29. Gibson, who won the Shazam middle school cross country title last fall, took the pace out in 2:20 for the first 800. It was a strong enough statement that resulted in the fastest time in the nation for a middle-schooler.
The hype of the high school girls races was built several weeks away as many athletes around the country began signing up.
The races were produced in an intricate format to prevent facility overflowing and meet covid-19 protocols. The first six sections were greeted up to the penultimate section six that was won by Lauren Pansegrau of Middleton, Wisconsin in 4:58.06.
The final section #7 girls had nearly the entire field under 5:00
There was a little bit of disappointment when the national leader Audrey Dadamio of Michigan scratched the finale. No problem. Emma Squires of Michigan set the tone with a sizable lead early on. Meanwhile, Josephine Welin of Oak Park-River Forest HS began stalking Squires and closed the lead at the halfway mark in 2:23. The pair was well ahead of the field as they crawled and scratched for the next few circuits. Squires fought hard despite an unorthodox running style.
Finally, with less than 150m remaining, Welin made her move and was in the clear. The win in an indoor personal best 4:52.30. The smiley Welin was actually pleasantly surprised as she had been training on a limited basis. Squires held on for second ahead of Batavia IL junior Katrina Schlenker 4:53.57-4:54.80. In all, 10 girls broke the magical 5:00 barrier.
12 sections of the 1600m were greeted to the delight of the distance phenoms
Two sections later, in the final section 12, the favored Izaiah Steury of Angola IN, took it upon himself to lead early. He hit the first two check-ins at 62 and 2:06. After the 1200m, Rogers began his assault. It was with less than 800m remaining that he was in a position to win.
Rogers moved into position for good on the final circuit and pulled away for the win in 4:11.77. It would be a big personal best effort for Rogers as well as a state leader and US#4 combined for the 1600/3200m.
Despite fouling on her first three shot put attempts, Jayden Ulrich of East Alton-Wood River rebounded to win with a US#5 47-0.50 performance.