Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Runner, Worst Rules -- That's Illinois

Lukas Verzbicas is the best high school distance runner in the nation. It would be hard to dispute that fact after he broke his own national 5,000-meter record and then won the two-mile and mile races a couple of weeks ago at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York. He also won the Foot Locker and Nike National cross-country races in the fall. So why isn't the Sandburg High School superstar competing at the unofficial indoor state track and field meet this weekend or outdoors at all later in the spring? Blame it on national and state rules. Basically, as sportswriter Mike Clark points out in his column today in the Sun-Times, "the IHSA (Illinois High school Association) doesn't permit athletes to compete in non-school meets during their sport season unless the event is sanctioned by the sport's national governing body." So the best of the best is shut out from competing in his own state. This is beyond ridiculous. For the full column, please see the Friday Sun-Times. Clark does a nice job of summarizing the situation. Speaking of the Sun-Times, I send my best wishes out to Steve Tucker and John Jackson, two outstanding writers and reporters who were laid off in the last week or two because of eonomic conditions. What's amazing is great coverage continues (for example: Verzbicas)despite a decimated Sun-Times staff.

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