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2,599 Athletes in 2009 IESA Class AA State Track and Field Meet

A total of 2,599 athletes from 233 schools will converge at Corwin Clatt Stadium in the EastSide Centre at East Peoria Friday-Saturday (May 22-23) for the 25th Annual Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Class AA State Final Track and Field Meet.

IESA began the state series in boys track and field in 1932. This will be the 78th year for the boys. IESA began the state series in girls track and field in 1972. This will be the 38th year for girls. A total of 244 member schools entered the 2009 Class AA state series and 96 percent (233) of the schools entering athletes in the qualifying sectionals advanced at least one qualifier to the State Final Meet.

There are 14 events in each of the classes. There will be a grand total of 56 events. Preliminaries and finals are conducted on the same day in all field events. In the 100-meter dash and hurdles, there will be preliminaries and semifinals on Friday with the finals on Saturday. Timed finals are the format in all other running events. The best times from all the heats or sections in a respective running event determine final places in that event.

Field event competition begins Friday at 12:00 noon. The running events will get under way Friday at 1:00 p.m. Competition Saturday begins at 9:00 a.m. with the finals in the hurdles and 100, and the remainder of the running and field events. The complete time schedule for the weekend, and the complete event-by-event listing of qualifiers, can be found on the IESA Web Site From the home page, go to the Track and Field icon in the box on top of the home page then click on Class AA Schedule and/or Class AA Qualifiers. Also visit the FanZone icon on the home page for information regarding the meet that spectators should know.

Single-session tickets will be on sale at the stadium each day. Tickets are priced at $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for students K-8 and seniors. Gates open to the general public at 11:00 a.m. Friday and at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.

This year, for the third time in IESA track and field history, the athletes winning medals will be recognized on the infield after the conclusion of their event. The time schedule has periods for presentation of the medals to the individuals and relay team members built into it.

Three members of the IESA Scholar Attitude Award presented by State Farm class of 2009 will be competing this weekend. They are Carly Niebrugge of Newton Jasper County in the 800, Calvin Quarterman of McHenry Parkland in the 800 and Ariane Wright of Edwardsville Liberty in the 800 and 1600.

Here is a look at each of the four meets within the Class AA State Final:

Class 7AA Girls

Perennial powers Cahokia Wirth and East St. Louis Lincoln, plus emerging Normal Kingsley and Williamsville, figure to be in the thick of the chase for the team title, and the 400-meter dash looms as the pivotal event of the meet.

Cahokia Wirth's 4 x 200-meter and 4 x 400-meter relays are very strong. Wirth also has Daisha Townsend in the shot put where she posted a qualifying mark of 31-5.5 in the sectional. And in the 400, Wirth has Tatyana Lewis and Marshay Morton, both capable of scoring a top five finish.

The East St. Louis Lincoln 4 x 100-meter relay is loaded. Claudette Day and Dynesha Powell figure to be contenders for the gold medal in the 100-meter hurdles. Day posted a mark of 16-3 in the long jump in the sectional and wears the favorite's cap in that event.

Normal Kingsley has Rachel Johnson while Normal Parkside has Christy Hulett in the 1600-meter run, both strong contenders. Kingsley also has Dee Byrd in the long jump, 200 and 400, and she is capable of earning gold in those events. The Normal Kingsley 4 x 400 relay will challenge for a win.

Williamsville's Jordan French will be a top challenger in the discus. She posted a mark of 92-01 in the sectional. The Bee Bees then have Rachel Rhodes and Emily Davis in the 400, and they are capable of earning valuable points in that event.

A runner to watch is Kelsey Schrader of DeKalb Clinton Rosette. She is one of the leaders in both the 800 and 1600 and is capable of pulling off the double.

Class 7AA Boys

East St. Louis Lincoln has finished no worse that second in the 7AA boys meet in eight of the last nine years. The only year since the 2000 state meet that East St. Louis Lincoln was not either first or second in the team standings was in 2002. Cahokia Wirth is defending team champion and has won the team title in two of the last three years.

Wirth should get points in the 110-meter hurdles and long jump from Demeko Stringfellow and in the 400 from Marlon Brady. The Wirth 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays are both gold medal contenders.

East St. Louis Lincoln has capable point earners with Tyshaun Stainback in the 800 and 1600, and Raeshawn Thomas in the long jump. The Lincoln 4 x 100 relay has gold medal capability and its 4 x 400 relay can earn a top five finish.

One individual to keep an eye on is Brock Snarski of Blue Mound Meridian. He ran under 5:00 in the 1600 in the sectional and put up a time of 2:11 and change in the 800.

Class 8AA Girls

Ten of the 11 individual champions in last year�s seventh grade meet are in this year's 8AA state final, and East St. Louis Lincoln is seeking a three-peat in the race for the team title. Cahokia Wirth is a major road block to a third straight title for East St. Louis Lincoln.

Emmonnie Henderson of Cahokia Wirth was the shot put champion in 7AA last year and is a strong contender in both the shot put and discus this year. She threw the shot 36-11.5 and the discus 126-3 in the sectional. Morgan Alewelt of Rochester was last year's 7AA discus champion and she made a mark of 95-5 in the sectional.

Aaliyah Brown of Matteson Huth won the 100 and 200 in last year's 7AA meet and she is a strong contender in both events this year in the 8AA state final. Micayla Collins of Cahokia Wirth will be present a big challenge to Brown in both events.

Wirth's Collins went 16-3 in the sectional in the long jump where last year's seventh grade champion Alexus Jimson-Miller of Danville North Ridge jumped 15-5.75 in the sectional.

Joslyne Jones of Cahokia Wirth returns in the 100-meter hurdles and faces a strong field with the top nine sectional marks all within one second of each other.

Two of last year's 7AA individual champions are in the 1600-meter run. Julie James of El Paso-Gridley won a year ago at 1600 meters and Nicole Choquette of Urbana MS won the 800 title. The field in the 1600 also includes strong contenders Brooke Gordon from Normal Parkside and Carly Pederson of Normal Chiddix. In the 800, Choquette will face Julie James, Brooke Gordon, Carly Pederson and they will be joined by Natalie Prescott of Roscoe and Hannah Johnson of Chatham Glenwood.

Rayanne Wright of Clifton Nash returns in the 400 and the field this year is a strong one. Wright won last year in a time of 59.84 and it appears that this year's winner will have to go under 1 minute to claim the crown.

Mary Catherine Hummel of Urbana MS returns in the pole vault after taking the 7AA title with a vault of 8-9 last year.

Class 8AA Boys

East St. Louis Lincoln is gunning for its fifth straight team title and seventh in the past nine years, and may have the horses to do it. Cahokia Wirth also has a stable. In addition, eight individual champions from seventh grade last year are back at the state meet.

Travon Diggins of Galesburg Lombard won the long jump last year and he went 19-0 in the sectional. Chris Moore of Cahokia Wirth jumped 19-9.5 in the sectional.

Connor Schrader of Dunlap Valley MS was the 7AA shot put champion and returns with a mark of 47-1.5 in the sectional.

Cord Church of Rantoul Eater won last year's 7AA 110-meter hurdles final in a time of 16.24 and is one of the contenders. Travion Brooks of Cahokia Wirth went below 15 seconds in the sectional.

Pekin Edison's Mike Jarrin won the 7AA 1600 last year in 4:49.87 and returns this weekend. He will be joined by Beecher's Grant Nykaza, this year's Class A state cross-country champion; Tyler Yunk of Belvidere Central, this year's Class AA state cross-country runner-up; Jordan Starkey of Geneseo MS, this year's Class AA third place cross-country finisher, and Peyton Schuermann of Normal Parkside who posted a sectional time under 4:48.

Derek Beaupre of Pekin Broadmoor won the 7Aa discus title a year ago with a toss of 120-7. He went 135-2 in the sectional. Clinton's Steven Evans posted a sectional mark of 162-3.

Martez Davis of Danville North Ridge took the 7AA high jump last year at 5-7 and he is one of 24 jumpers in the 8AA field of 38 that went 5-6 or better in the sectional. Kevin Newman of Wheeling London and Jordan Cannon of Channahon cleared 5-10 in the sectional.

Nathan Allen of Decatur Stephen Decatur returns in the 800 where he won the 7AA title a year ago in a time of 2:08.70. He will be challenged by Grant Nykaza, Peyton Schuermann, Tyler Yunk, Mike Jarrin, along with Trevor Pearson of Pekin Broadmoor and Ryan Prais of Wadsworth Millburn among others.

East St. Louis Lincoln could score upwards of 25 points in the three relays.

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