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2011 IESA Class AA State Track and Field Meet This Weekend

For the 12th consecutive year, the EastSide Centre in East Peoria will host the 27th Annual Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Class AA State Final Track and Field Meet. A total of 2,740 athletes will participate in the two-day meet this Friday and Saturday (May 20-21). IESA has had the same classes of track and field since 1985. East Peoria Central District #86 serves as the host school.

The IESA state series in boys track and field began in 1932 and the girls state series began in 1972. This will be the 80th year for the boys and the 40th year for girls. A total of 245 member schools entered the 2011 Class AA state series and 227 of the schools entering athletes in the qualifying sectionals advanced at least one qualifier to the State Final Meet. The sectional qualifying meets were held last Saturday, May 14 although eight of the 19 sectionals were completed this past Monday due to weather-related issues on May 14.

There are 14 events in each of the four classes (7th grade girls; 7th grade boys; 8th grade girls; 8th grade boys). There will be a grand total of 56 events. Field event competition begins Friday at 12:00 noon. In the field events, the preliminaries and finals are conducted on the same day that the respective event is held. Some field events are held on Friday and some are held on Saturday. The running events get under way Friday at 1:00 p.m. with the preliminaries and semifinals of the hurdle event. The finals for the hurdle event are held on Saturday morning starting at 9:00 a.m. Only the hurdle event and the 100-meter dash are held with preliminaries and semifinals. In all other running events, timed finals is the format. The best times from all the heats or sections in a respective running event determine final places in that event.

Competition on Saturday begins at 9:00 a.m. with the finals of the hurdles and the 100-meter dash. Running events will run continuously throughout the day. Field events will also get started at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and will also continue throughout the day. The event is expected to conclude around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The complete time schedule for the weekend, and the complete event-by-event listing of qualifiers, can be found on the IESA Web Site

Single-session tickets will be on sale at the stadium each day. Tickets are priced at $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for students K-8 and seniors. Gates open to the general public at 10:30 a.m. Friday and at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Gates for the competitors and teams will open at 10:00 a.m. on Friday and 7:00 a.m. on Saturday. This is 30 minutes earlier than previous years. The Parade of Athletes will take place on Friday at 11:15 a.m. and at 8:20 a.m. on Saturday. The parade is a chance for the competitors to walk the track with their team amidst applause, music, and cheers from coaches, parents, family, and fans. At the conclusion of the Parade of Champions, the Athlete Oath will be read by athletes who will be competing in this year's meet. On Friday, 8th graders Austin Cash from Pekin Edison and McKayla Harder from Mt. Zion will read the oath. Cash won the 7th grade 1600 meter run last year in a time of 4:52.97 and finished 3rd in the 800 meter run. He enters the meet this year as the number one seed in both the 800 and the 1600. He will also run as part of Edison's 4 x 400 relay which is seeded 2nd, only one second behind the #1 seed in the event, Bloomington JHS. Harder brings impressive credentials to the state meet. She is the two-time state cross-country champion having won the individual titles in 2009 and 2010.

Last year as a 7th grader, she was particularly impressive at the state track meet. She won the 7th grade girls 800 meter run in a time of 2:22.44 and captured first place honors in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:14.72. Her sectional qualifying mark of 2:25.5 in the 800 and her 1600 qualifying mark of 5:18.5 are the number one seeds heading into this weekend's state meet. Harder will also compete in the 4 x 400 relay where her and her teammates are seeded 4th. On Saturday, 8th graders Prentiss Nixon of Bolingbrook Jane Addams and Aaliah Herron of East St. Louis Lincoln will read the oath. Nixon won the 7th grade boys high jump last year with a leap of 5'6" and enters the meet this year as the #3 seed with a sectional mark of 5'10". He will also compete in the 4 x 200 relay and the 4 x 400 relay. Herron won the 7AA girls shot put event last year with a throw of 32' 4.25". She will enter the state meet this year as the #6 seed in the shot put.

The athletes winning medallions will be recognized on the infield after the conclusion of their event. The time schedule has periods for presentation of the medallions to the individuals and relay team members built into it. Personnel from IESA member schools will present awards to the placers.

Fans are encouraged to visit the FanZone icon on the IESA home page for information that spectators should know regarding the meet.

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