BELLEVILLE — Like a child on Christmas morning, Belleville East track and field coach Bryan Mitchell got more than he asked for Wednesday at the Belleville City Track and Field Meet.
Senior Aniecia Brewster sparked the Lancers with a pre-meet pep talk, then delivered the goods with wins in the 100 and 200 meters to lead the Lancers to a stunning win over Belleville West at East High School.
"We knew we had a chance. But I just wanted the girls to go out and compete to the best of their ability. I also wanted us to do better than we did last year when I think we won three events,'' Mitchell said. "I think we won more than three this year.
"I'm just so proud of the girls. They wanted this (city title) and they wanted it bad. You could see that in the last (1,600) relay. I'm especially happy for my seniors, because they had never won a city championship. I know what it means to them.''
Led by the brilliance of Brewster and a victory and school-record effort of 11 feet by Anna Gailius in the pole vault, East finished with 90 points, nine more than West.
Althoff, getting a win from Savannah Ames in the 1,600, finished with nine points.
The night wasn't a total loss for West, which got wins from senior Tevin Suggs in the 100, 200 and 400 and won its fifth straight boys crown.
West, which finished with 121 points, scored a 67-point win over East (56 points)
Althoff placed third with a point.
But the talk of the night were the Lancers, who started quickly with Gailius setting her record and Brynesha Mosby claiming the triple jump.
Mitchell said Brewster's emotional pep talk set the tone.
"First of all, Aniecia is a great athlete and she's our emotional leader,'' Mitchell said. "Plus, we were able to get a lot of season and P.R.'s (personal records). It was a great team effort.''
Other Lancer winners included Miya Dorsey in the 300 hurdles, Maggie Munie in the 800 and Haley Inyart in the 3,200.
East also won three of four relays.
Competing without four of its top athletes, including sophomores Jasmine Berry and Tatyanna Lewis, West was led by a pair of double city champions.
Mashele Belk set a personal record in winning the discus with a throw of over 111 feet. She also won the shot put.
Junior Claudette Day captured the long jump and the 100 hurdles.
West coach Paul James called the loss disappointing.
"Of course you're disappointed when you feel like your team has a chance to win and falls short. A different day and maybe it's a different outcome,'' James said. "We were without four of our top athletes, but credit goes to East.
"They came out and did what they had to do to win the meet.''
In the boys race, Suggs broke his own school record in the 200 with a time of 21.7 seconds and the Maroons' 400 relay also set a city mark of 42.2 to lead the way.
West's boys also won all four relays as they breezed to a fifth straight city title. The championship also is the seventh in eight years for coach Patton Segraves.
"I'm very pleased. I thought we did a great job in the field events and that carried over to the relays and then on the track. To be city champions means a lot to these kids,'' Segraves said. "Tevin (Suggs) just had a tremendous night by breaking his own school record in the 200 meters and then also winning the 100 and 400.
"But he's a senior. This is his time where he needs to step up and be a leader and tonight he showed what Tevin Suggs can do.''
West dominated in the field events. Pierre Gee-Tucker swept the shot put (48-4) and the discus (138-8). Jamion Nash won the triple jump (46-1), Antione Davis took the long jump (21-2), Brian Hill claimed the high jump (5-10) and Austin Blakeslee won the pole vault (8-0).
Other winners for West included Josh Freivogel (800), Evan Alcorn (1,600) and Hunter Cason (3,200).
East was led by William Session, who won the 100 hurdles, and Brandon Gray, who captured the 300 hurdles.