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Shamier Little of Lindblom has no problem shaking the competition in the 200-meter prelim. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media
CHARLESTON, Ill. — After picking and choosing her events all season long, Shamier Little finally put in a full day's work on Friday.
It was a successful one, as the Lindblom senior advanced to four finals in the Class 2A state meet at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Field.
Little is the top seed in the 100-meter hurdles (14.37 seconds) and 300 hurdles (44.29) and had the third-best preliminary times in the 400 (56.50) and 200 (25.23).
"I haven't done this many events since state [last season]," Little said. "The most I've done [in one meet] this season is probably two
"Coming out here in this nice weather ... I have to run faster. It's just, I'm a little bit more tired."
Little will see plenty of familiar faces Saturday when she lines up for the final race of a prep career that has produced five state titles and 10 medals.
The Class 2A 200 field will feature four Public League runners: Little, Brooks' Ebony McClendon (25.02), Johnson's Ryan Preacely (25.29) and Morgan Park's Elexis Fairley (25.75).
"I might cry, I'm not going to lie, after tomorrow," Little said. "I'm going to miss state."
So going out with a bunch of other city runners seems like a fitting way to achieve a sense of closure.
"That's what my mom says, as long as it's Chicago, got to get them into the finals," Little said. "It's cool running with those people year-round and [then] meeting the suburban kids and running with them."
McClendon and Preacely, who along with Fairley both made the 100 final as well, also appreciate the chance to represent Chicago on the state's biggest stage.
"We had half the state competition at sectional and city," McClendon said. "I feel really prepared and I think tomorrow is going to be a really good day. ... I'm really aiming for a 24.9, 24.8 [in the 200]. I know running with everybody again will really push me."
"I'm waiting to face Shamier," said Preacely, who like McClendon was not in Little's prelim heat on Friday. "This is my last real chance in high school to face her. She's like the person I really want [to race] because she's up there."
Two-time defending Class 2A champ Springfield Southeast dominated qualifying, advancing 10 individuals and three relays.
Walther Lutheran, last year's 2A runner-up, is one of four schools with seven in the finals. Leading the way for the Broncos is MaShayla Kirksy, who is seeded first in the long jump (19 feet, 0.25 inches) and fifth in the triple jump (36-11.5).