Update: The East Relays scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25, have been moved to the Auburn High School field house because of the weather forecast.
Rockford Public Schools and East High School are bringing back the East Relays this year, a longstanding premier track invitational. The East Relays started in 1943, and the event thrived in the 1960s through the 1990s.
“Not only was it a premier track meet, it was the place to be,” said East alumni and E-Rab Director of Track and Field Anthony Wilson. “It was so big, the stadium would be filled up.”
Lauded as one of the best meets in the Midwest, the invitational drew top teams from surrounding states. But the last meet of its kind was in 2004. The event will continue this year in conjunction with the school’s 75th anniversary.
The goal is to launch the relays this year, then grow the meet in the coming years. Some interested schools couldn’t participate this year because of contracts to participate in other meets that weekend. The hope is that teams from all over the Midwest will again want to come to Rockford to participate in the East Relays.
“We want to bring track and field into the spotlight, not only for East High School athletics, but for RPS 205 athletics,” Wilson said.
This year’s event will also honor longtime East High School coaches Dan Salvi and Chuck Wallin. The meet grand marshal is Jerry Holloway, a 1975 East graduate and former NFL player who received All-American honors in both football and track at Western Illinois University.
RPS 205 coaches and athletic directors pushed to bring back the East Relays, said Mat Parker, Director of Athletic Activities & Program Development. The meet wouldn’t be possible without support from the community. “This is another example of the trust that not only the community has in RPS 205, but support from the region in RPS 205 athletics.”
The event’s main sponsor is AdkinsTrak. Marchan Adkins is a 1984 East High School alumni and President/CEO of AdkinsTrak. Adkins is donating timing services for the meet. His company works the clock for college meets and the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympics. Other sponsors are: Woodward, Inc., SwedishAmerican Health System, Blackhawk Athletic Club, Ringland-Johnson Construction, UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockford Park District.
The following high school teams will participate in the East Relays co-ed track meet at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 25, at the Auburn High School field house.
- Boys: Auburn; East; Guilford; Jefferson; Christian Life; Winnebago; Proviso East; Milwaukee King; Bowman Academy from Gary, Indiana.
- Girls: Auburn; East; Bloomington High School; Bowman Academy; Milwaukee King; Proviso East.