Photograph: Matt Kamp|The Intelligencer
EDWARDSVILLE — Excluding a handful of sports activities through the fall, the highschool sports activities world has been at a standstill in Illinois because the center of March.
That hasn’t stopped Edwardsville Excessive Faculty senior Brandon Battle, although.
One of many prime sprinters within the state, Battle has continued understanding six days every week in hopes of getting a senior season after his junior season was canceled by the IHSA because of the pandemic.
“If you wish to be the perfect, you must put the time in. I appeared on the pandemic as a method to enhance myself and higher myself. I’ve simply been attempting to get higher,” Battle mentioned. “I’m often by myself on the market. I’ve targets set in thoughts and I do know I can’t accomplish these if I simply sit round.”
Whereas Battle nonetheless can’t consider if that onerous work and dedication will repay at the highschool degree, he does realize it has paved his method for his future.
Battle signed his Nationwide Letter of Intent to compete in males’s monitor and discipline at Japanese Illinois College not too long ago.
“I’m very excited. I’m actually completely satisfied that I used to be capable of finding a faculty that I really like. I’m prepared for the following degree,” Battle mentioned.
Battle was additionally Illinois State College.
However the college in Regular couldn’t evaluate to the one in Charleston.
“EIU grabbed my consideration and my coronary heart,” Battle mentioned. “It looks like house to me. It’s stunning and I like it there.”
Japanese Illinois competes within the Ohio Valley Convention, alongside SIUE, in Division I of NCAA Athletics.
At EHS, Battle made a reputation for himself throughout his sophomore season when he went 49.54 within the 400-meter dash on the Collinsville Invitational. It was the second-best time of any freshman or sophomore within the state.
Battle went on to compete within the 400 dash and the 400-meter relay on the state meet, which is run on the monitor at Japanese Illinois College. For Battle, the journey to state was like an unofficial go to, although, he hadn’t began schools simply but.
“It’s wonderful to have that have with going to state after which staying within the dorms. It’s a phenomenal monitor. Simply being there felt superior,” Battle mentioned. “I can’t wait to return there and compete there for 4 years.”
For pretty much as good as Battle’s sophomore season was, he was decided for even larger issues as a junior.
In fact, these targets have now been shifted to his senior season.
Battle has his sights set on college information for the 200 and 400 sprints. DeVonte Tincher owns the 200, going 21.68 in 2017, and Dameon Morgan has the 400, going 48.28 in 2017.
“Some athletes have that inside drive and Brandon has it. You may inform from a younger age that Brandon was going to be that chief,” Edwardsville coach Chad Lakatos mentioned.
The drive and work ethic aren’t the one character traits that separate Battle from the others.
“A part of being a coach is creating and growing these relationships with student-athletes. When you have got good ones come via, you wish to cherish and maintain onto selected,” Lakatos mentioned. “It’s been a pleasure to be round him. He’s what Tiger Monitor is all about.”
Battle and Lakatos nonetheless have yet another yr collectively, and the sprinter has been laborious at work to verify it’s his greatest but.
On Jan. 2, Battle traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, to compete within the USATF Indoor Hoover Alumni Invitational.
Competing within the Males’s 17-18 Division, Battle took second within the 400-meter dash, ending in 48.78. He completed ninth total within the 200-meter dash in 22.23. His time within the 400 is ranked because the fourth-best within the nation — the quickest time is 47.89 from Virginia’s Jayson Ward — and his 200 is ranked twenty second.
“I do know I can positively go quicker. It’s pushing me to maintain training,” Battle mentioned.
Now, Battle hopes that momentum will carry over into the highschool season.
Battle can be working the 200 and 400 sprints and a be a serious a part of all three relays.
“I wish to win state as a person and as a staff,” Battle mentioned. “These are positively my targets.”
A state championship could be fairly the way in which to finish his time as a Tiger.
“It’s been wonderful right here and I like it. I really like this college a lot, my friends and my buddies. This is among the premier colleges in Illinois,” Battle mentioned. “I’m going to overlook it once I go away.”