COLLINSVILLE — Pushed to the limit by one of the best 1,600 meter runners in the state in Danville's Johnny Leverenz, O'Fallon senior Patrick Perrier showed why he is one of the nation's premier distance runners Saturday at the Collinsville Invitational.
Emotionally energized by the presence of Leverenz, Perrier bolted out to an early lead and never trailed, finishing in a meet-record smashing time of 4 minutes, 7.51 seconds to lead the way for metro-east athletes on a perfect afternoon at Collinsville High School.
"Was I extra motivated? Yes I was motivated. My goal was 4:06, but I'll take 4:07, I wanted to go out and be right at 2:03 at the half-mile mark and I was at 2:04 and so I was right there,'' Perrier said. "He (Leverenz) had run 4:10 this year and was second in the state in (Class 2A) cross country. It just felt great to go out and run a race like that.''
The 2013 Class 3A state cross country champion, Perrier's time Saturday was over eight seconds faster than his best time of the season (4:15.54) and nearly three seconds faster than the previous meet record of 4:10.41 set a year ago by former teammate Alex Riba.
Riba is now a member of the track program at Texas A&M.
Perrier, however wasn't the only elite local athlete to shine at Collinsville High School.
Three-time defending Class 2A state champion Cahokia received a pair of wins from triple jump/long jump standout Jamari Ward and romped to a 40-point win over Class 3A power Edwardsvile in the 24-team event.
The Comanches finished with 119 points, followed by Edwardsville (79). Three other Southwestern Conference schools O'Fallon (65), Collinsville (57) and Belleville West (54) rounded out the top five.
Ward won the long jump with a leap of 24-feet, 3-inches then later captured the triple jump with an effort of 49-2. Ward had one jump of over 51 feet in the triple jump, but was just over the board and called for a foul. The sophomore also ran the anchor leg on the Comanches' 800 relay, which was edged by Edwardsville at the wire.
"It was a good day. It was tough to come back and jump after running in the (800) relay. But I guess it was all right,'' Ward said. "I feel like I'm right where I should be this time of year. The goals are still 25 feet in the long jump and 51 feet in the triple. I think they are realistic.''
The Comanches also got wins in the high jump from sophomore Anthony McRoberts (6-4) and senior Gary Hickman in the 100 high hurdles.
Although happy with the win, Cahokia coach Leroy Millsap said there is a lot of work to be done in the next two weeks to prepare for the Class 2A sectional.
"I'm happy with the sophomore (McRoberts) in the high jump and Jamari had a good day in his events. But you know me, I'm greedy,'' Millsap said. "Honestly, I was hoping for a little more today.''
Second-place Edwardsville got a sparkling effort from Wes Schoenthal in the 800 (1:55.2) and the Tigers also added a win in the 400 relay (42.1) to their victory in the 800 relay (1:27).
Senior Pat Riley joined Perrier as champions from O'Fallon, clearing 14-9 to win the pole vault.
Host Collinsville also had a solid day as Harry Uyehara won the discus and Martinus Mitchell took the shot put.
Fifth-place Belleville West only win came in the final event, where it ran a 3:18.2 to win the 1,600 relay.
Other local winners included Lance Mueller of Waterloo in the 3,200 (9:40.9) and Andre McGill of Madison in the 100 (11.0 seconds).
Carbondale's Tayvonne Landry joined Ward as the meet's only double winner, taking the 200 and 400.