Credit: Eileen Meslar

The idea for announcing track meets came to Billy Poole-Harris on a whim. “I was at a meet at Proviso West, and I decided to announce the meet because no one else was doing it. I’ve been announcing ever since.” An assistant special education teacher and the boys’ cross-country coach at Whitney Young high school, Poole-Harris announces dozens of meets throughout the area—including the state high school championships. He graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School in 2002, where he ran cross-country and the 3,200-meter. “I’m a long-distance runner, but I love the sprints as well. I want to capture the feeling of a horse race—building toward the finish where the great runners are going at it stride for stride.” He’s known for his wisecracks. “I try to have fun while giving the runners the acknowledgments they deserve. My first joke was in a long-distance race. The last runner was straggling in and I said, ‘No child left behind, so let’s give him some encouragement.’ People laughed and that only encouraged me.”