BELLEVILLE — Three-time defending Class 2A state champion Cahokia will put its track and field arsenal on display Saturday at the Norm Armstrong/Belleville West Invitational.
The defending champions of the prestigious meet, Cahokia will be challenged by fellow Southern Illinois powers Edwardsville, O'Fallon, East St. Louis and Belleville West, along with a strong Triad squad.
And those are just the local teams which could contend, when the meet gets under way at 11 a.m. at West High School.
Maroons coach Patton Segraves thinks the field is loaded with outstanding individuals and some of the top teams in the state.
"This is going to be a fantastic meet -- best meet in the state this weekend,'' Segraves said. "There are least seven teams who could possibly take home a state trophy in May.
"We are finally going to have some nice weather, so I expect there to be some really fast times."
In all 26 teams are scheduled to compete.
Among the first-time entries are Class 3A power Minooka, Champaign Centennial, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lockport and Plainfield North.
Cahokia is led by sophomore Jamari Ward.
One of the nation's best in the long jump and triple jump, Ward already has surpassed 50 feet in the triple jump and more than 24-0 in the long jump.
Two-time defending 400-meter state champion Marlin Brady is another standout for the Comanches, while Gary Hickman is a potential state title contender in both the 110 and 300 hurdles.
The 110 hurdles should be one of the showcase events where Hickman, Belleville East sophomore William Session and Edwardsville's duo of Craig James and Isiah Michl are all state medal contenders.
Other standouts competing will be Kyrin Tucker of Normal West in the shot put, Manny Bofah of Plainfield North in the high jump, Taemon Franklin of O'Fallon in the long jump and Dorrian Gordon of O'Fallon in the 3,200.
One the nation's best in the 1,600 and 3,200, O'Fallon senior Patrick Perrier will not be there as he is competing at an invitational in Arcadia, Calif.
Tickets will be available at the gate and are $4 for adults and $3 for students and persons 55 and older.