Cahokia girls track coach Roscoe Dowell will be the first to say his team has a long way to go to equal the success of the Comanches' boys squad.
After all, the Comanche boys have won four Class 2A state titles since 2006 and should be in the running for a third straight championship later this month in Charleston.
But with major invitational titles at Centralia, Timberland (Mo.) and Rockwood (Summit) so far this spring, the Comanche girls have shown promise.
"We knew we had a good group of athletes in the field events and a couple of freshmen who would be good coming into this season. So far the girls in the field events have carried us,'' Dowell said.
"I think having a program which has been so successful in the past few years like our boys have been is tremendous incentive for our girls. We don't have to look very far to find the very highest level of excellence in track and field in Illinois.''
Now athletes like Daisha Townsend and Dasha Thomas are out to prove they are also among the best in Illinois.
Townsend is ranked second in the state in the Class 2A shot put, while Thomas won the triple jump at the St. Clair County Meet last week.
Thomas, who also excels in the hurdles, along with Raynesha Lewis, who competes in the long jump, high jump and triple jump, are both freshmen.
"We knew they were both tremendous athletes. Raynesha had never high jumped until this year and Dasha had never competed in the triple jump. They are catching on real fast.'' Dowell said. "Daisha (Townsend) and Lashonda (Brewer) have also scored a lot of points for us in both the shot put and discus.''
While Dowell has been happy with the performance of his team this spring, he knows the Comanches have a tough road ahead of them before reaching the IHSA Girls State Track Meet. Cahokia will be one of 22 teams competing at the Class 2A Triad Sectional on May 9 at Triad High School.
Dowell feels that, with 22 teams competing, it will be even tougher for local athletes to advance. The 22-team field is the largest Class 2A Sectional in the state.
"We feel that having 22 teams is a little unfair in that it makes it more difficult to quality for the state meet,'' Dowell said. "Especially when you see other sectionals with 15 and 16 teams. I think there's one up north with 14.''
Other local teams competing with Cahokia at Triad include Central, Mater Dei, Columbia, East St. Louis, Freeburg, Mascoutah, Triad and Waterloo.
Highland, Civic Memorial, Jerseyville, Roxana and Wood River are competing at the Jacksonville Sectional.
Class 1A and Class 3A Sectionals are being held at Sparta and Belleville East on May 10.
Competing at Sparta will be Althoff, Metro East Lutheran, Lebanon, Madison, New Athens, O'Fallon First Baptist Academy, Okawville, Red Bud, Sparta, Wesclin and Gibault
At the Class 3A Belleville East Sectional will be Alton, Belleville East, Belleville West, Collinsville, Edwardsville, Granite City and O'Fallon
The 2013 Girls State Track Meet is set for May 16-18 at O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.