Flyers get by Panthers to win St. Clair meet

News-DemocratApril 30, 2014 

— Legendary East St. Louis coach Nino Fennoy will be the first to say that with three weeks left before the state track meet that there is still work to be done.

But at a chilly Clyde Jordan Stadium on a windy Wednesday, the Flyerettes continued to show progress.

Jamella McGraw won the 800 meters and freshman Jada Marshall won the 1,600-meter title to lead the way a East St. Louis nipped O'Fallon for the team championship at the St. Clair County Track Meet.

In a meet that wasn't decided until the points of the final event -- the triple jump -- had been counted. East St. Louis ended the competition with 146 points, seven more then O'Fallon (139 points) and 17 more then a young Cahokia squad, which finished with 129.

"I've said for a long time that the teams in southern Illinois are among the best in the state. Look at what we've done at the state level in the past few years,'' Fennoy said. "There has always been the athletes down here. It's just that now I think the coaches are doing more with those athletes.

"I was pleased at how we performed today. But we've still got work to be done in the next couple of weeks."

Aaliah Herron won the third individual championship for East St. Louis, throwing the shot put 41 feet, 9 inches to edge Cahokia sophomore Daisha Townsend for the title.

Townsend did win the discus with a throw of 120-2.

Pre-meet favorite O'Fallon got wins from its 3,200 relay team, Iva Shepard in the pole vault and senior Sydney Neal in the 3,200.

But it was not a good day overall for the Panthers, who competed without a few standouts including junior Tami Cardenas in the 800.

"It was just one of those days where we didn't compete like we normally do or like we need to at this time of year,'' Panthers coach Neil James said. "Ciara (Jones) had a great day by tying the school record in the triple jump with a jump of 36-9, but I thought our younger kids kind of lost their focus a little bit.''

The individual standout of the day was Cahokia junior Raynesha Lewis. The versatile Comanches edged Jasmine Berry of Belleville West in the 100 hurdles then posted easy wins in the triple jump (38 feet) and long jump (17-9).

One of several exceptional young athletes on the Comanches squad, Lewis' best days are ahead.

"She (Lewis) had a tremendous day. I thought she looked very strong in both the jumps and then to beat Jasmine (Berry) in the 100 hurdles was a big win for her as well," Comanches coach Roscoe Dowell said. "The freshman (Mariya) Hudson is the real deal as well. We're still awfully young with a lot of freshmen and sophomores.

Hudson won the 400 in 57.5.

Fourth-place Belleville East (99 points) got individual wins from Sidne' Williamson in the 200 meter and its 800 and 1,600 meter relay teams

Berry bounced back to win the 300 meter hurdle to help West place fifth with 95 points.

West senior Kelsey Shannon won the high jump, tying her personal best effort of 5-8. Abrea Hopson of West won the 100.

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