For competitors in Saturday's finals of the IHSA State Track and Field meets, there is no longer the anguish of possibly being the only person in a race to not medal.
For this year's State Finals, all nine runners in the finals of sprints and relays will receive medals. In the past, only the top eight finishers in each event -- those who earned team points -- left Charleston with a medallion.
``I think it's great,'' said Rock Island coach Michelle Menke. ``Top nine in the state is terrific and deserves something.''
That could also make for some better races on Saturday, says Moline coach Crick SantAmour.
``I think it will take the pressure off girls and let them perform better,'' he said.
Keeping track: It will be easier this year to keep tabs of the competition going on at Eastern Illinois University's O'Brien Stadium. All you have to do is log on to the Internet and hear the action live on iHigh.com, an IHSA Internet partner. The site is illinois.iHigh.com.
You'll be able to listen to stadium announcer Matt Piescinski, along with assistant announcers Lisa Ferry (for girls) and Al Janulis (for boys), make the live call of every heat of every race. They'll also bring you updates from the field events throughout each day.
Remember, though, this is not a radio broadcast. The stadium announcer does not speak continuously. Listen for a while and you will be able to hear competitor calls, race introductions, live descriptions of each race, instantaneous ``unofficial'' results of each race, official results of each race (15-30 minutes after each event), official results of each field event (15-30 minutes after each event) and team scores.