Meet Of The Week: Seven Athletes To Watch At #CYUPMisfits



The best of the Midwest is set to roll on Saturday at the Gately Indoor Track and Field Center in Chicago, Illinois. 

A barrage of the region's top talent is scheduled to throw down at the second annual CYUP Misfits Invitational, with coverage sponsored by HOKA. Athletes from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and other states are among those entered to compete. 

Who exactly will take center stage? 

The likes of Kaila Jackson, Tamaal Myers, Allison Ince, Will Sumner, and many more are among the field's entrants over the weekend. 

Below, we named seven athletes to watch out for at the CYUP Misfits Invitational. 

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The CYUP Misfits Invitational is loaded

Kaila Jackson, Detroit Renaissance (MI)

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Events: 60m

The Breakdown: One of the fastest girls in the United States has roughly 14 seconds worth of work set aside for her on Saturday. 

But just how fast will those 14 combined seconds be? That's the question. Two weeks ago, Jackson ran the nation's fastest 60m -- which has since been toppled -- at the CYUP Cabin Fever Invite in 7.26. 

Has time allowed for progress? Jackson certainly has the talent to approach the national record of 7.19 seconds, which is a mark owned both by Tamari Davis ('20) and Ashley Owens ('04). 

But as with any record, everything will have to go right on the day. Just looking at seed times, Jackson is roughly three-tenths faster than the next-best athlete. But if nothing else, she's consistent. 

In seven attempts at 60m this season across finals and preliminary heats, Jackson has run faster than 7.5 on six occasions. And she's coming off her personal best on Jan. 7. All cylinders are firing. 

Tamaal Myers, Detroit Cass Tech (MI)

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Events: 60mH, 300m, 600m

The Breakdown: You don't often see a 400mH going up to the 600m. But Myers is a special breed, and on Saturday he's going to be the busiest man on the track. 

Scheduled to run in three events, his most interesting event will be the 600m. There, he'll face up against Will Sumner, who could go after a national record. History has told us that record attempts typically have a corollary effect: The entire field runs faster as a result. 

We certainly knew Myers was a blue-chip athlete before the weekend. But if he clocks a top five result in the 600m and follows with two more in the 60mH and 300m, he'll be in elite company. 

Specific goal points? Myers could look to improve on his 7.92 in the 60mH. He'll run the 300m for the first time in his career.

Will Sumner, Woodstock (GA)

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Events: 600m

The Breakdown: One week after earning a national record in the 500m, will Sumner get another in the 600m? That will be the main question driving this race on Saturday. 

The 500m and 600m could be an ideal sweet spot for the Woodstock (GA) senior, who has a rare combination of superior speed -- he's gone 21.66 in the 200m -- and endurance on the track. And this weekend, he yet again will be chasing a familiar name: Strymar Livingston.

At the VA Showcase, the University of Georgia recruit took down Livingston's 10-year-old national record in the 500m when he clocked a time of 1:01.25. This weekend will offer a bit of deja vu, as Livingston's national record mark of 1:17.58 stands from 2012 as well.

Sumner, who has 1:52 speed in the 800m, has the requisite speed to take down his second record in two weeks. 

Ava Parekh, Chicago Latin (IL)

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Events: 600m, 1K

The Breakdown: The Stanford signee has two events lined up this weekend. She's the top seed in both. She'll look to tackle her personal bests of 1:36.33 and 2:53.64 at both distances. 

One reason why we think she's ready? 

Just take a look at her finish to the 2021 cross country season. In her final weeks of the campaign, she won her first IHSA Class 2A state championship, set an overall 5K personal best of 16:45.97 and then went on to finish 18th at the Eastbay Cross Country Championships.

And more than that? Parekh is one of the country's toughest runners. So a back-to-back? No sweat for this Illini. 

Allison Ince, Normal Community (IL)

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Events: Mile

The Breakdown: Featuring in the first race of her sophomore campaign, all eyes will be on Ince. Which isn't surprising, considering Ince ran the fifth fastest indoor mile in freshman history last year in 4:50.49.

But what she did a few months after that result was equally impressive. Ince tied her mile best in May with a 4:50.49 at the Trials of Miles race in Kansas City, then she won her first IHSA Class 3A state championship in a personal best time of 4:40.85. Her 1,600m effort converted to a 4:42.48 full mile.

She followed a week later with a 4:41.73.

Not to mention, Ince also produced 800m times of 2:09 and 2:03 across the indoor and outdoor seasons last year, too. 

So, safe to say, everyone will be wondering: Just what can we expect from Ince to open up 2022? While we're not predicting any wild records, Ince will nonetheless be a must watch on the track. 

Luke Wiley, Warren (IL)

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Events: Mile

The Breakdown: It is Wiley's final year to throw down on the track in Illinois, and Saturday presents a great opportunity for the North Carolina recruit to capture an overall personal best. 

Wiley hasn't run an indoor 1,600m or mile effort since 2020. But he clocked a 4:12.32 in the full mile in June at the Magis Miles. Then he had the best cross country season of his career, winning six races, finishing fourth at state and then closing his chapter with a 14:48.63 at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships. 

Next up is the mile. And with a talented mile field that includes Micah Wilson, Alex Partlow, Owen Bosley and others, Wiley will get a richly-talented field to test his fitness. 

Bailey Ranta, Chesterton (IN)

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Events: 1 mile, 2 mile

The Breakdown: The Indiana native Ranta is the top-ranked athlete in the 2-mile, with a seed time of 10:52.24. But the University of Toledo signee is one of the more underrated athletes going into Saturday. 

While she's not in the elite mile field, she's got legitimate credentials. I'd argue she's going to show those in attendance on Saturday a thing or two. 

After coming off a season that saw her produce a 5K best of 17:56.40 in cross country, Ranta is fit and has a great opportunity to challenge her overall personal best times of 5;09.52 in the 1,600m and 10:52.24 in the 3,200m.