DANVILLE — Getting a new all-weather track facility at Danville High was a slow and tedious process.
A year ago, the school put the finishing touches on the Wayland-Young Athletic Complex and hosted the first-ever John Eakle Invitational sponsored by Toyota of Danville. The results were an overwhelmingly success as eight teams, twice as many as last year, will send their teams to the second annual invite being held today at the facility that is one block north of high school.
“We’ve got some really outstanding teams coming here,’’ said B.J. Luke, athletics director and girls track coach at Danville. “On the girls side, we’ve got Evanston, who was the girls champion at last week’s Eastern Relays in Louisville, Ky., and they are also one of the favorites to win the Class 3A state title. And then there is (Champaign) Centennial with some outstanding sprinters. (Chicago) Mother McAuley has Briana Driver and (Thornton Fractional) North always has a lot of speed.
“On the boys side, once again you have Centennial and TF North is loaded. New this year is Michigan City (Indiana) and they are a very good team.’’
Luke, who said that more teams are going to be involved next year, added that some of the events are going to feature multiple state-ranked runners.
“I think that is going to be a lot of speed out here,’’ he said.
One of the highlights of today’s meet will be Danville senior Johnny Leverenz.
The future Butler Bulldog is not only the defending IHSA Class 3A state champion in the 800 meters, but a week ago at the Eastern Relays in Louisville, Ky., Leverenz broke an 89-year old Danville High school record in the 1,600 with a winning time of 4 minutes, 12.48 seconds. The previous mark was held by Gene Howrey in 1925.