Armstrong: Morolake Akinosun to compete at adidas Grand Prix meet
One more time.
Illinois high school sprint standouts Morolake Akinosun of Waubonsie Valley High School and Aaliyah Brown of Lincoln-Way East will square off again in Saturday’s adidas Dream 100m race Saturday.
The by-invitation only event will be held in New York City as part of the adidas Grand Prix meet at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island. It will feature athletes from 42 countries, including 72 Olympic or World Championship medalists.
The fields for the Dream 100 and Dream Mile are made up of top high school performers from this past school year.
“I got an e-mail from somebody in New York (inviting Akinosun) and forwarded it to her and her parents,” Waubonsie Valley girls track coach Dave Gowing said of the recently graduated Akinosun, who will run on scholarship next year at the University of Illinois.
“It’s always good to get our school’s name out there. We’re sad to see her go, but she’s done a lot for the school and bringing us recognition.”
At the 2011 IHSA Class 3A State Meet in Charleston, Brown and Akinosun finished 1-2 in the 100-meter dash and Brown also won the 200. That summer, Akinosun went on to win a national AAU title in the event.
Several weeks ago, at the IHSA 3A State Meet, Akinosun tied a state meet record (11.41 seconds) and edged Brown, a junior, in the 100-meter final. Brown came back to win the 200 and Akinosun took third.
They were going to run together on a 400-meter relay team representing a hastily put together Team Illinois last weekend at the 37th Annual Great Southwest Track & Field Meet in New Mexico, but Akinosun did not make the trip. Plagued all spring by hamstring issues, she took the time off to prepare for this weekend’s meet.
The nine-person field set for New York features the girls posting the Nos. 1, 2 (Akinosun), 3, 4 (Brown) and 6 fastest prep times run this season and includes three from Florida and one each from Ohio, Missouri, Texas and California.
Great Southwest results
West Aurora sophomore Emma Spagnola competed in New Mexico and took third in the 100 hurdles (14.43), 13th in the 300 hurdles (45.86) and 10th in the long jump (18-11¼).
Neuqua Valley junior Savannah Carson was seventh in the girls 100 and fourth in the long jump (20-1˝), while freshman teammate Maya Neal took ninth in the long jump (19-4˝) as well as sixth in the hepatahlon (4,430 points). Carson also ran the leadoff leg of the Illinois 400 relay team that won in 44.74 seconds and featured Plainfield North’s Cessily Jones, Sycamore’s Lake Kwaza and anchor Aaliyah Brown, who also won the girls 100 elite race in 11.55 seconds.
Three members of the Michigan State volleyball team, including Northern Illinois transfer Lauren Wicinski of Geneva, were among the 48 women invited by USA Volleyball to the 2012 U.S. Women’s National A2 Program that begins June 26 in Columbus, Ohio.
The players will be divided into four teams and have four days of training before competing against each other in a round-robin format followed by semifinal and final at USA Volleyball’s Girls Junior National Championships at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
We understand Emily Heimerdinger, Beacon-News Girls Soccer Player of the Year in 2011, has transferred to Elmhurst College, where she will play for the Blue Jays after redshirting last year as a preferred walk-on at the University of Dayton.
Northern Illinois men’s soccer coach Eric Luzzi recently inked a well-deserved contract extension that will carry through 2015.
The Chicago native (St. Ignatius, St. Mary’s Minn.) was the head coach at Schaumburg High School for two years and at his alma mater for five years before joining Steve Simmons at NIU. Luzzi moved up in 2009 after Simmons returned to his alma mater (Oregon). Luzzi’s teams are 34-20-3 in three seasons, capped by last year’s Mid-American Conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance with a national ranking as high as 13.
His first Huskie team tied No. 1-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill. This coming season, NIU opens on the road Aug. 24 at 2011 Final Four participant Creighton.
Senior left-handed pitcher Jake Hermsen (3-8, 5.13 ERA) of New London, Wis., was drafted in the 28th round (866 overall) by the Los Angeles Dodgers and is the first NIU draftee since 2008.
Former NIU football coach Joe Novak, who is already in his alma mater’s athletic hall of fame, will join Miami University’s Cradle of Coaches Association.
Current football coach Dave Doeren will throw out the first pitch and be joined by his staff in a fundraiser for Huskie football in the Hyundai Deck suite on July 26 at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark for the Kane County Cougars game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Call 815-753-1923 for tickets.
J.J. Cravatta, a 6-foot-2 guard from Streator who averaged 26.9 points last season, will walk on to the NIU basketball team.