CHARLESTON — The O'Fallon Panthers entered the Class 3A boys state track and field meet on Friday hoping to be in contention for their first-ever state track meet trophy.
On a chilly, rainy Saturday, the Panthers fell just short of that goal.
Alex Riba and Patrick Perrier placed in the top four in the 3,200 meters, while Jack Klopfenstein and Patrick Riley earned points in the pole vault as O'Fallon tied Southwestern Conference rival Belleville West for sixth place at O'Brien Stadium.
The Panthers and Maroons both finished with 27 points, well behind the 63 points scored by champion (Roselle) Lake Park, but only four behind third-place Pekin.
"The most points we had ever scored was 15 in 2006 and we scored three points up here last year. So this is the best we've ever done,'' O'Fallon coach Ron Koch said. "The kids gave a great effort.''
Winding up an impressive high school career, Riba finished second in the 3,200 with a time of 8 minutes, 59.37 seconds, while Perrier was fourth.
But with the schedule of events tightened up because of the light rain that fell throughout the meet, and with even more rain predicted for later in the day, the Panthers may have been hurt when the scheduled three-hour break between the 3,200 and 1,600 was sliced to less than two hours.
In the 1,600 meters, Riba led early before finishing 11th. Perrier placed sixth.
Klopfenstein placed eighth and Riley was ninth in the pole vault, while Chris Wiggins was fifth in the 100 for O'Fallon.
West got a second-place finish from Jamion Nash in the triple jump and medal-winning efforts from all four of its relays on the way to its 27 points.
Edwardsville placed eighth with 26 points, as the Tigers got a state-title effort from its 800 relay and a pair of medals from Julian Harvey.
In Class 1A, Wesclin senior Jason Bliven led the way with a win in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
For West, it was Nash who set the tone. The leader in the triple jump with a leap of 48-feet, 0 3/4-inches coming out of preliminaries, Nash settled for second after Lake Park's Shawn Koch went 48-4 3/4 in the finals.
West also took second in the 400 relay and placed fifth in the 800 relay, sixth in the 1,600 relay and eighth in the 3,200 relay.
The tie for sixth place also marks the fifth straight year West has finished in the top eight at state.
"I was very pleased. To place in all four relays is outstanding. I don't remember the last time a team from our area placed in the 3,200-meter relay and we were eighth in that one,'' West coach Patton Segraves said. "I'm also very proud of Jamion (Nash). I know he wanted to win it. But the silver medal is still very good. He's a kid who really worked hard during his career.''
Edwardsville won the metro-east's only Class 3A state title as Isaiah Michl, Fontez Davis, Craig James and Rene' Perry finished with a time of 1:27.98 to claim the 800 relay.
Michl, who was disqualified in the 300 hurdles for being late for his Friday preliminary, was inserted into the 800 relay by coach Chad Lakatos on Friday night.
"We also switched the legs we ran on the relay team. It was just something we kind of threw together,'' said James. "It's tough, especially, when you aren't running in the regular order. Isaiah ran a great leg and we were very determined to win.'''
Harvey had the top individual effort for Edwardsville, placing sixth in the triple jump and seventh in the high jump.
The Tigers also placed third in the 400 relay and eighth in the 1,600 relay.
Collinsville also earned some hardware as Martinus Mitchell finished fourth in the shot put.
Bliven led the way for local Class 1A athletes, running a 39.85 to win the 300 hurdles.
"I just wanted to be close coming down to the end because I finish strong. I'm always stronger at the end of the race," Bliven said. "This state (title) means the world to me. The feeling I have right now is something I've wanted ever since I started competing. It's just great. No better feeling in the world.''
Bliven also took seventh in the 110 hurdles.
Madison senior Carvel Dixon placed fifth in both the 100 and 200, while Nashville's Devin Holle and Chase Hagene finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the discus.