1 – The Distance Triples in Class 1A Girls
By Michael Newman
Photo: Kennady Anderson and Grace Erb at last November’s Class 1A State Cross Country Meet (Kevin Dorsey Photo)
I know the IHSA State Meet does not take place until the end of May in Charleston. Even though we are only at the beginning of January and practice does not begin for another week, it might be a good thing to start to look at what this season could bring for us.
The one advantage that distance runners have in Class 1A over the other two classes in the IHSA is that they run their preliminary heats on Thursday and have Friday off before again taking to the track for State Finals Saturday.
Three runners stepped up in 2022 in the return to the normal state program that avoided all athletes in 2021 to qualify for the finals in the three Class 1A Distance events. You won’t see that in Class 2A and Class 3A since those two classes run their preliminary heats on Friday.
Carly Manchester of IC Catholic Prep qualified in all three events earning all-state honors in the 3200 Meter Run and the 800 Meter Run. She was not able to run the 1600 Meter Run at the end of the meet due to a weather day. She chose attending her high school graduation instead of running one more race.
There are two runners back from last year’s state meet that were all-state in all three distance events. Both Ahry Comer of Pope County and Kennady Anderson of Kewanee Wethersfield will be going after state championships in multiple events after successful cross country seasons last fall.
Both runners enter this season as juniors. Both Anderson and Comer finished in the top 10 last November in the mud at Detweiller Park with Anderson finishing fourth and Comer finishing eighth.
Comer is now all-state twice in Cross Country also finishing seventh as a sophomore in 2021. Her performance in the three final races last May in Charleston opened a lot of eyes. Consider the fact that last spring was her first year of high school track running.
Her races in the prelims on Thursday were performances to shake your head at. She won each of her prelim races in the 800 Meter Run and the 1600 Meter Run with the fastest times in both events.
Her Saturday started by running a personal best of 10:57.60 to finish second in the 3200 Meter Run. It was only her fourth time running that distance. She had a short rest before running against a strong field in the 800 Meter Run. She pulled away towards the…