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Though the local prep track and field scene is strong, state championships can be difficult to come by at

season’s end. Don’t tell that to the bevy of athletes who carry top sectional seed results into this week’s IHSA boys’ state meets. Preps coordinator COLIN LIKAS caught up with Class 1A’s No. 1 athletes — or their coaches — to preview Thursday’s festivities:

Isaiah Chatman

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley senior

His event: 300-meter hurdles

His sectional time: 39.26 seconds

How important to you is having the 300 hurdles’ No. 1 seed? “It is very important to me to have the No. 1 seed ahead of the race just so I’m able to have a good lane position, and having that No. 1 seed gives me a lot of confidence before the race.”

How did you feel about your sectional race? “I was not happy with my sectional race because of a few circumstances that were out of my control. But my coaches reminded me to control what I can control, and I feel like I did that. So I was satisfied with my race, but compared to other races I wasn’t as technically sound.”

How have you seen yourself develop as a 300 hurdler? “Over the last four years, I’ve seen myself grow into a 300 runner. My coaches always knew that would be my race, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of that going into my freshman and sophomore years. But with good coaching, I started to fall in love with the 300 race. I also grew into my body a little more these last few years, and my times dropped almost 10 seconds from the start of my freshman year.”

What will it take for you to replicate your sectional success at state? “The key will be just to have confidence in myself and be relaxed and treat it as just another meet.”

What would it mean for you to win the 300 hurdles state championship? “To capture a state championship would mean everything to me at this point in the season. It’s my goal to check off for this year, and to see my hard work over the last four years pay off would be awesome. I also want to bring home a championship for my team because we had a lot of runners come out with injuries and who aren’t able to compete at the state meet anymore. It would mean a lot if I was able to take advantage of this opportunity to bring home a championship.”

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