TROY — East St. Louis senior Markita Rush did her part to make sure the Flyerettes left Triad High School on Thursday with a new piece of hardware for their trophy case.
The premier Class 2A hurdler in Southern Illinois, Rush won the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and the Flyerettes also captured two relays on their way to winning the Class 2A Triad Girls Track and Field Sectional.
Looking to put the finishing touches on an impressive four-year career, Rush was in top form.
She won the 100 hurdles in 14.62 seconds, then came back with a dominating performance in the 300 hurdles, where she finished with a time of 44.79.
East St. Louis also won the 400 and 3,200 relays and had a total of 12 entries qualify for the Class 2A state finals.
"It was a great team effort,'' Flyerettes coach Nino Fennoy said. "We knew it would be a tough sectional with Cahokia being a tough opponent and a Triad program which continues to get better. And Carbondale has always been strong.
"I was pleased. The girls have worked hard for this. Now we'll go back tomorrow (Friday) refocus and get ready for the state finals."
East St. Louis finished with 93 points, 11 more than Cahokia (82). Triad was third with 81, followed by Carbondale with 75.
Freshman Dasha Thomas paced Cahokia's second-place finish with wins in the long jump and triple jump.
Rush and Thomas were just two of the local athletes to shine on what turned out to be a perfect night to perform for the 22 teams in the field.
A total of 43 metro-east athletes and relays earned berths in the Class 2A State Track and Field Meet, which will be held May 17-18 at O'Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Thomas won the long jump with an effort of 17-feet-9-inches, then came back two hours later to take home the title in the triple jump with a leap of 36-4.
The Comanches also qualified 12 entries for state.
"Dasha has been jumping well for us all year. She did a good job for us again tonight,'' Comanches coach Roscoe Dowell said. "Overall, we did pretty good. We only had 12 girls competing here tonight.
"The goal next week is to finish someplace in the top 10.''
Host Triad was led by Jenniba Johnson, who qualified in four events. Johnson won the 100, placed second in the 200 and was on two relays which earned state berths.
Triad also got wins from Abi Sowash, who went 5-5 to take the high jump, and Claire Buck won the pole vault with an effort of 10-0.
Triad will have 11 entries in the competition in Charleston.
"I'm very happy and proud of the girls. We had a very disappointing sectional last year, when we only got two individuals out,'' Knights coach Brian Weiss said. "We bounced back well. The girls dedicated themselves over the summer to improving and tonight we saw the results of that hard work pay off.''
Perennial Cahokia Conference power Freeburg advanced three athletes to the state finals. Eighth at the state finals in the shot put a year ago, Freeburg junior Abby Lealaimatafao earned a return trip in that event with a third-place finish.
Lauren Mense (pole vault) and Chelsea Hill (400) also qualified for the Midgets.
Freeburg also advanced its 1,600 relay.
One of the state's top cross country runners, Mater Dei junior Madeline Lager earned a state bid by running a 11:50.2 to win the 3,200.
The Columbia Eagles will be represented in Charleston by Amy Rzepczynski, who qualified in the high jump by clearing 5-2. Teammate Becca Krebel advanced in the shot put.
Ciara Lohman placed fourth in the triple jump and will be the Central Cougars lone state entry.