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Daily Journal
     May 4, 2022      #73-124 KDJ

All-City track and field meet 

By Mason Schweizer

Many months have passed since the pandemic first took over the globe in early 2019. Since then, the prep sports scene has tried to work its way back into normalcy.

Similar to many of the fall and winter sports that got to resume regularly scheduled events, plenty of boys and girls track teams have begun to re-establish their annual home meets this season. Monday’s annual All-City meet between Bradley-Bourbonnais, Bishop McNamara and Kankakee was no exception, given the schools had to previously cancel the crosstown rivalry meet the past two seasons because of scheduling conflicts and COVID-19 protocols.

“It’s good to have All-City for the community because it has been going on for a really long time,” Kankakee head track coach Marques Lowe said. “I think the fans really enjoy it and the kids really enjoy it for bragging rights. ... It was good to see the community out, and it was good to see family friends, alumni and old coaches.”

This year’s All-City matchup at Kankakee came down to the wire as both the Boilermakers and the Kays wound up splitting the meet between the boys and girls.

The Kankakee girls team claimed first overall with 78.5 team points, which was seventeen points more than second-place finisher Bradley-Bourbonnais. Bishop McNamara placed third with 31 points. On the boys side, the Bradley-Bourbonnais squad handled its business with a first-place finish with 87 points, besting the Kays (78) and Irish (9).

“There’s a lot of talent in the area in general, and I said it to a few people throughout the night,” BBCHS head boys coach Freddie Dudek said. “You’ll probably never get to a meet where you see three teams running in a city meet like this, where you have this much talent.”

That sentiment by Dudek was echoed by McNamara head track coach Anthony Mason.

“You look at the completion and you look at the Kankakee — they are strong across the board in boys and girls, and Bradley-Bourbonnais has been strong for years,” he said. “Kankakee is going to be a real tough team this season and Bradley is coming up, too. ... It’s tough.”

Kays sweep gold and set PRs in boys and girls 100-meter dashes

Given the 100-meter dash is the quickest event in all of track and field, it’s no surprise this year’s All-City meet in the sprinting event came down to the final seconds.

Heading into the boys race, Kankakee’s Jayon Morrow knew he had his hands full. Lining up against multiple state champion sprinters, including Bishop McNamara’s Tony Phillips, the reigning Class 1A 100- and 200-meter dash state champion and Morrow’s running mate, Jyaire Hill, who helped lead the Kays to its first-ever relay state title (4-by-200) in Class 2A last spring, as well as a Class 3A State hopeful this season in Bradley-Bourbonnais Nathan Domont, Morrow wanted to prove he was the fastest in the town.

“I knew I just had to push off good and keep my head down and run fast,” Morrow said. “I had two dogs next to me — a Class 1A state champion and a Class 2A state champion right beside be — so, I knew I just had to run my hardest.”

Morrow wound up barely edging his teammate, Hill, as the two were neck and neck down the home stretch before Morrow wound up claiming the first-place trophy with a time of 10.76 seconds, which was only 0.09 seconds faster than second-place finisher Hill and a new personal-record. Domont took third, and Phillips settled for fourth.

“I knew this was going to be the toughest race of the day because I knew almost everybody in the heat had a chance to win it,” Morrow said of his victory. “So, I just knew I had to stay patient and wait for my top-end speed to get me through the line.”

It was one of three individual golds for Morrow, who swept the sprints after also winning the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes, with his 21.47 seconds in the 200 currently the top time in the state this season.

On the girls side, Kankakee’s Sydney Ramsey proved the seeding times are not equivalent to running on the big stage, as the senior sprinter wound up taking first overall with a personal-best time of 12.72 seconds, to help edge her teammate, Saniah Stewart, who placed second (12.95 s) after having originally been projected to win with a seeding-best time of 12.86 seconds.

“I’m feeling pretty good about winning the 100-meter dash,” Ramsey said. “I came into the race ranked last, and so my goal was to stick with my teammate while also running as fast as I could to get the job done.”

Stewart’s time also helped her set a new personal-record.

Boilermaker freshmen sweep the 3200-meter distance races

The last time the Bradley-Bourbonnais lined up against both McNamara and Kankakee in an All-City matchup many of its current competitors weren’t even in high school.

Just take BBCHS freshmen Madeline Mellin and Ethan Piper for example, as the two first-year All-City competitors wound up completely dominating the 3200-meter distance races with first-place times of 12:48.14 and 10:26.87, respectively.

Mellin nearly out-paced second-place finisher Marielle King, of Kankakee, by one minute as King finished with a silver medal time of 13:54.81. Mellin’s ability to run away with the event was credited to the Boilermakers strong coaching staff

“I think we have really good coaching,” Mellin said. “We get coached really good for our distance running, which I think ends up helping us run better.”

Piper’s first-place similarly emulated Mellin’s as he jumped out the gate in first before never turning back.

“I just tried to do my best and keep pushing even though it’s hard because you’re running by yourself,” Piper said. “I went out there to win and do my best.”

McNamara’s Martinez cleans up 800-, 1600-meter races

During the past year and a half, Evita Martinez quietly has made herself known as one of the area’s best girls distance runners after being a state-placer last season as a freshman.

Her ability to routinely shine when the lights are the brightest is something that simply can’t be denied, and it once again was evident when she finished first in both the 800-meter and 1600-meter distance races Monday evening.

Martinez finished the 800-meter in 2:33.53 before taking a quick break to post a 5:49.65 in the 1600-meter later in the evening.

“My times could definitely be faster, but I’m happy with it because it was kind of cold out,” Martinez said. “I just tried to stay in front of everyone and breathe.”

Kankakee’s Cooks records a clean sweep in all 3 of her events

One could argue no individual student-athlete had a better performance at All-City than Kankakee’s Na’Kyrah Cooks.

The sophomore competed in the long jump, high jump and triple jump, and by the time she was done, she had three gold medals to show for it, as well as two new personal records.

Cooks displayed her wide range of talents by recording a 10.43 meter first-place finish in the triple jump, a personal-best 5.55 meter first-place finish in the long jump and another personal-best with a 1.50 meter first-place finish in the high jump.

“I came in just thinking to do my best, to get a PR in everything,” Cooks said. “I didn’t get a PR in the triple jump, but it was still fun.

“My main goal is to have fun in general, and that’s what I did.”

Other Individual Boys Winners

200 M — Jayon Morrow, Kankakee (21.47 s, PR); 400 M — Jayon Morrow, Kankakee (49.51 s); 800 M — Josiah Jones, Bradley-Bourbonnais (2:11.77, PR); 1600 M — Jeremiah Lanum, Bradley-Bourbonnais (4:28.62, PR); 110m Hurdles — Nickolos Hall, Kankakee (15.65 s); 300m Hurdles — Jalen Townsend, Kankakee (42.67 s); 4x100 relay — Tyrice Bender, Jyaire Hill, Naz Hill, Jayon Morrow, Kankakee (42.60 s); 4x200 relay — Quanterious McElroy, Naz Hill, Jalen Townsend, Aarion Brown, Kankakee (1:31.34); 4x400 relay — Neal May, Michael DeCarlo, Josiah Jones, Mario Hererra, Bradley-Bourbonnais (3:28.81); 4x800 relay — Jeremiah Lanum, Ebenezer Gideon, Josiah Jones, Brian Douglas, Bradley-Bourbonnais (8:52.74); Shot Put —DJ Dee, Bradley-Bourbonnais (12.93 m, PR); Discus — DJ Dee, Bradley-Bourbonnais (38.55 m, PR); High Jump — Nathan Domont, Bradley-Bourbonnais (1.80 m, PR); Long Jump — Naz Hill, Kankakee (6.68 m, PR); Triple Jump — Micah Swilley, Bradley-Bourbonnais (11.82 m, PR)

Other Individual Girls Winners

200 M — Sydney Ramsey, Kankakee (26.36 s, PR); 400 M — Jessyiah Wilson, Bradley-Bourbonnais (1:07.27); 100m Hurdles — Shelby Corbett, Bishop McNamara (18.36 s); 300 M Hurdles —Shelby Corbett, Bishop McNamara (50.73 s); 4x100 relay — Saniah Stewart, Nevaeh Lowe, Sydney Ramsey, Naomi Bey-Osborne, Kankakee (48.77 s); 4x200 relay — Saniah Stewart, Jake Autman, Nevaeh Lowe, Naomi Bey-Osborne, Kankakee (1:42.42); 4x400 relay —Saniyah Simington, Nevaeh Lowe, Aniya Lewis, Naomi Bey-Osborne, Kankakee (4:16.20); 4x800 relay — Magaly Marin, Sophia Longtin, Alejandra Gomez, Alyssa Bosman, Bradley-Bourbonnais (12:21.28); Shot Put — Nikkel Johnson, Kankakee (10.90 m); Discus — Payton Graham, Bradley-Bourbonnais (27.70 m).

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