Depth carries Triad to another MVC title

News-DemocratMay 3, 2013 

— Race after race and event after event, the Highland Bulldogs were able to match the individual talent of Triad on Thursday at the Mississippi Valley Conference girls track and field meet.

But the Bulldogs couldn't match the Knights' depth.

Abi Sowash cleared 5-feet-5-inches to win the high jump, Jenniba Johnson won the 100 meters and the Knights dominated the relays as they captured their eighth straight MVC title on a cold, rainy night at Jersey Community High School.

Johnson, one of the top Class 2A sprinters in the state, dodged the raindrops well enough to finish in a time of 13.2 seconds.

Johnson's win came just minutes after teammate Tyler Bakarich won the 100 hurdles for the Knights, who used their wealth of talent to sweep the relays and finish with 165 points.

Highland, getting two wins apiece from Lena Giger, Allison Zobrist and Bailey Leitschuh, finished with 131.

The victory also was the Knights' seventh straight under coach Brian Weiss, who has built the Knights into one of the top Class 2A track programs in Southern Illinois.

"I'm very pleased and proud that we were able to win another MVC title. Winning the conference is always one of our goals every year,'' Weiss said. "Our relay teams really came through for us and to be able to sweep all four races just shows how much time we put in to it and what kind of team we are.

"The girls were cheering and yelling for each other and that's great to see.''

The top-ranked Class 2A athlete in the state in both the shot put and discus, Giger led the way for Highland. The relaxed Bulldogs junior won the shot put with a throw of 45-6, after breaking her own school and MVC meet record in the discus with a throw of 143-6.

So laid back was Giger that before she made her final throw in the shot put, she did a cartwheel off to the side of the ring.

"That's just me. I like to have fun,'' Giger said. "I'm not one to set goals about how far I want to throw the shot put and discus each meet. Of course, it was nice to break the discus record today, but it was my record I broke.

"I'd like to go over 49 feet this year in the shot put. But really all I want to do is continue to improve in both events. To improve my form. And to have fun. It's got to be fun.''

Leitschuh won the triple jump (34-6) and the 200 meters (27.73) while Zobrist won the 1,600 (5:29.5) and the 3,200 (11:28).

Highland junior Emily Holtzclaw won the 800 in 2:27.69.

But Triad was able to offset those wins with its depth.

"We had our share of wins, but again it was our depth which was a difference,'' Weiss said. "I can only think of a couple events where we didn't have two girls place for us. In a meet like this that's pretty good."

Jersey (93 points), Civic Memorial (62), Waterloo (56) and Mascoutah (13) rounded out the field.

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