The 2nd Illinois-Missouri Senior All-Star Track Meet is just days away and both sides are in high gear preparing for the event.
Comprised of the most talented track athletes from each state who just wrapped up their high school careers, it is without a doubt meant to be a fun event, but nobody is taking the stakes lightly.
Mark Twain’s Devin Neff said, "It would mean everything to me. We’ve all been working hard.
Just as hard as they’re working and if we went out on top we’d show that Missouri still got something in them, you know?"
"This is going to be great because Illinois is a great competitive sport when it comes to track and field and we can definitely show that in dominance when we go against Missouri.
I’m not saying Missouri is any less than we are, but I guarantee Illinois is going to do what it takes to win it," proclaimed Pittsfield’s James Gwartney.
Prior to last year’s event when the final meet wrapped up, that’s when the season wrapped up for track and field.
And that’s not the case with many other high school sports. This hasn’t gone unnoticed or unappreciated by this year’s all-stars.
"All-star games have always been for baseball and basketball and football and things like that and I think this is a nice way to shine a positive light on our programs that we have going on too, " said Illini West girls coach and girls all-star coach Mike Bickerman.
"I think it’s amazing. I think tracks really an underrated sport.
Everybody is concerned so much about baseball, but my life’s always been track when spring comes around. And I think it’s really great that it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves," said Highland’s Nathan Haggerty.
Illinois won the inaugural event last year and with this being the last time these athletes will take a high school track, life long bragging rights are on the line as Illinois looks to start a streak and Missouri tries to even the series.
The event will take place Friday evening beginning at 6 o’clock at Flinn Stadium.