Boys and girls track and field athletes and coaches consider the Illinois Prep Top Times meet the unofficial indoor state championship.
There’s nothing ambiguous, however, about the swagger the Kaneland girls derived from last month’s competition at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center in Bloomington, namely the Knights’ relays.
Kaneland, which is set to open outdoor season when it hosts the Holmes Invitational today, won the 4x800-meter relay (9:42.55) and 4x400 (4:01.37) at Top Times and also is bullish about its 4x100 and 4x200 quartets.
“They’ve accomplished so much on their own in the last couple years, and now that they’re back and they’re together, I think there’s an air of confidence among them,” said Knights assistant coach Keith Snyder, who’s in charge of relays and sprints. “That they know they’re talented, they know they’re good and they work hard at it. And then if the cards come together and we can stay healthy, which is always kind of a big ‘if’ with us, we can all be there in May and they can do some pretty special things.”
May brings the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference meet and state series, and it’s approaching at a mad dash.
Kaneland returns several lynchpins from the 2015 team that finished fifth in the IHSA Class 2A state meet, including the runner-up 4x400 team that ran 2.32 seconds behind champion Morgan Park’s pace.
As with every spring, there have been tweaks due to early-season injuries, but don’t expect to see the leadoff combination of Nicole Sreenan to Allie Heinzer disband.
“We really like the idea of putting two of the best 400-meter runners in the state at the beginning, just getting out and having a lead and making people catch us,” Snyder said. “And then having confidence that we know we’re going to anchor with Jamie Martens at the end.”
Becca Richtman also was part of the 4x400 Top Times relay, which may yearn for the friendly confines of the Shirk Center again as the Holmes meet progresses.
“We’re excited,” Snyder said, “but we’re hoping we get a little bit warmer weather so we can show how fast we are.”
Ch-ch-changes: If you haven’t done so already, please read Kane County Chronicle editor Kathy Balcazar’s column on page 2. It outlines the upcoming changes to our paper and the transition to a weekly publication.
Although Saturday marks the final daily printing of the Kane County Chronicle, readers can be assured that the KCC still will strive to provide you with the most in-depth prep and community sports coverage in the market through our online channels while keeping you abreast in the weekly paper.
As always, thank you for reading and for bearing with my mugshot. To borrow from the first Quick Read, published on Jan. 9, 2009, I hope it didn’t prompt you “to grimace over your cereal, oatmeal or coffee” too often.
• Kevin Druley is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinDruley.