Girls Track: Shamier Little cool, calm and collected heading into stateLindblom's Shamier Little took first in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday, April 30, 2011 at the Andrean Track & Field Invitational. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 16, 2012 7:28PM
A lot has changed in the two years since Shamier Little made her state debut at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Then, she was a freshman representing a school with just a handful of athletes that hadn’t won a state medal in girls track and field in more than 30 years.
This weekend, Little heads back down I-57 as the owner of six medals and the reigning Class 2A champion in the 100-meter hurdles and 400 dash. She is also a qualifier in the maximum of four events, nationally ranked in three of them.
Clearly, more eyes are on the Lindblom junior than ever before. And she’s fine with that.
“I’m OK with expectations,” Little said. “I’m not stressing over that.”
She enters the three-day meet ranked eighth nationally in the 400 (53.79 seconds), 27th in the 100 hurdles (14.14) and 31st in the 300 hurdles (42.95). All are Class 2A season bests; she also has the third fastest time in Class 2A this spring in the 200 (24.71).
Her goals are simple. “I definitely want personal bests like I did in California [at the Arcadia Invitational in early April],” she said. “End the season how I started it.”
Little begins her quest on Friday, when Class 2A and 3A athletes compete in preliminaries. The meet begins with Class 1A prelims on Thursday and concludes Saturday with finals in all classes.
She won’t be the only high-profile junior sprinter competing. In 3A, Lincoln-Way East’s Aaliyah Brown is ranked second nationally in the 100 (11.48) and 13th in the 200 (23.96). She’ll be seeking her third title in the former and her second in the latter; a strong sectional showing last week suggests she is in top form after being bothered by a hamstring injury earlier this year.
The Class 3A sprints should be among the meet’s most competitive races. Besides Brown, they’ll feature veterans Cessily Jones of Plainfield North (11th nationally in the 100 at 11.71) and Morolake Akinosun of Waubonsie Valley.
Perhaps the deepest race of the meet will be the Class 3A 3,200, which features no fewer than seven runners ranked in the top 100 nationally. Among them: Lake Park’s Kaylee Flanagan (10:25.98), New Trier’s Courtney Ackerman (10:28.98) and Oswego East’s Ariel Michalek (10:37.55).
Also worth watching in 3A are Plainfield North high jumper Jaclyn Aremka, who has cleared 5-10; Evanston hurdler Margaret Bamgbose; Lake Forest pole vaulters Carolina Carmichael and Carly Schmidt; and Glenbard East middle distance standout Lindsey Rakosnik.
In 2A, Carmel sprinter Megan Paul and Walther Lutheran jumper/sprinter MaShayla Kirksy are both capable of winning multiple titles.