The Highland High boys track and field team continued to click off impressive individual and team finishes last week.
First, on Tuesday of last week, Highland traveled to East Alton-Wood River High School and put its considerable depth on display, dominating the quadrangular meet. The Bulldogs were the champions in 11 of 17 overall events en route to racking up 118.5 team points to leave their three opponents in the dust.
The other three squads were much closer in competition to one another than they were to Highland. Breese Central finished with 56.5 points to edge out Wesclin’s 49 points for runner-up honors. Host Wood River rounded out the quadrangle meet at 30 points.
Then on Friday, Highland traveled to O’Fallon High School and captured first place in six events to score a second-place showing in the Blue Division of the O’Fallon Relays, which is the Bulldogs’ best-ever finish there.
This is Saturday, Highland is scheduled to compete at the Belleville West Invitational, which starts at 11 a.m.
Staking its claim as the second best Class 2A team in the metro-east behind four-time defending state champion Cahokia, the Triad Knights used their depth to compile 140 team points and win the Blue Division, edging out their Mississippi Valley Conference rivals Highland (123) and Mascoutah (122.5).
Rounding out the seven-team Blue Division were: Mt. Vernon (106), Freeburg (82.5), Salem (81) and Centralia (75).
Highland coach Bob Vance said there was at least one error as they did not give HHS senior Grant Riggs credit for winning the high jump after clearing the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches.
“It would not have been enough to catch Triad, but it would have been only about a 7-point difference (instead of 17),” said HHS Bob Vance. “We went into the meet thinking we were going to win, but we knew Triad and Mascoutah would both be tough to beat. We got some great efforts, but we came up a little short. I was really happy for the fresh/soph guys who came through in several events for us. Those young guys are running good times, comparable to what our current seniors were running when they were freshmen.”
Highland won six events and finished second in four others. In fact, there were only two events that the Bulldogs did not score a point in.
Triad received wins from Clayton Nickerson in the 300 hurdles and Devon Webster in the triple jump. Nickerson led the Knights, finishing the 300 hurdles in 42.84 seconds as he defeated runner-up Chandler Belt (45.53) by nearly 3 seconds. Webster took the triple jump title with an effort of 42-8. The Knights also won the 4 x 100 relay and 4 x 110 shuttle-hurdle relay.
Triad also received several top-five finishes in the relay events. The win is the second in the three years the O’Fallon Relays have had a the two-division format.
Highland sophomore Tyler Higgins ran a time of 11.01 to win the 100 meters as he led the way for the second-place Bulldogs.
In addition to Higgins in the 100 and Riggs in the high jump, Highland also took home titles in the 4 x 200 relay, 4 x 800 relay, the sprint medley relay and the distance medley relay.
The Bulldogs’ 4 x 200 relay consisted of senior Brendan Sands (24.0), senior Logan Geiger (23.6), senior Gage Geiger (23.5) and junior Sam Teipe (23.6), who teamed up to post a winning time of 1:34.71.
Highland’s quartet in the 4 x 800 relay were senior Trevor White (2:03.3), junior Hayden Smart (2:12.4), senior Ben Menke (2:15.0) and Riggs (2:06.4), who joined forces to run a victorious team time of 8:45.83.
HHS’ foursome in the sprint medley relay were senior Matt Bartels (25.2 in the 200), senior Logan Kharibian (25.3 in the 200), Higgins (49.5 in the 400) and Riggs (2:14,4), who together clocked a triumphant team time of 3:46.38.
The Bulldogs’ unit in the distance medley relay was composed of Smart (3:34 in the 1,200), sophomore Evan Capelle (56.1 in the 400), Menke (2:15.7 in the 800), and White (4:40.7 in the 1,600), who posted a first-place team time of 11:25.76.
Also placing for Highland at the O’Fallon Relays were: the 4 x 100 relay team of Sands (11.0), Logan Geiger (11.5), Gage Geiger (11.4) and Teipe (10.9), second place (44.80); the frosh/soph 4 100 relay team of Mason Geiger (12.1), Ivan Orozco (11.3), Sebastian Wolf (13.1) and Chase DeProw (11.6), second place (48.09); the frosh/soph 4 x 800 relay team of Bryce Sexton (2:16.6), Capelle (2:30.6), Brock Schrage (2:21.1) and Brendan Schrage (2:23.6), second place (9:31.8); Logan Geiger, third in the 100 (11.35); Sands, fourth in the triple jump (39-7); Capelle, fourth in the high jump (5-4); the frosh/soph 4 x 200 relay team of Grant Thole (26.3), Mason Geiger (26.4), Orozco (25.0) and Wolf (25.4), fourth place (1:43.12); Teipe, fifth in the long jump (20-1); junior Austin Bush, fifth in the shot put (38-9); the 4 x 110 shuttle-hurdle relay team of Bartels (19.4), senior Trevor Langhauser (18.5), Kharibian (19.5) and freshman Noah Schmitt (20.4), fifth place (1:17.81); Mason Geiger, sixth in the pole vault (7-6); Langhauser, seventh in the 300 hurdles (47.98); Logan Geiger, eighth in the long jump (19-0); and sophomore Shane Yetter, eighth in the 3,200 (11:51.67).
Coach Vance was happy with his team’s performance in winning all but six of the events and beating the next closest competitor, Wesclin, by more than double at 62 points.
“I was impressed with how we took care of business at Wood River,” he said. “We had a lot of guys step up with strong performances, and it showed how deep we are. I think we had 33 or 34 personal records, and that’s what we are all about — getting better.”
Highland swept all four relays. Making up the Bulldogs’ winning relay teams were: the 4 x 100 squad of Sands (11.2), Logan Geiger (10.8), Gage Geiger (11.8) and Teipe (10.1) with a team time of 43.9; the 4 x 200 quartet of Sands (24.8), Logan Geiger (22.5), Gage Geiger (24.0) and Teipe (23.5) with a combined time of 1:34.8; the 4 x 400 unit of Riggs (53.4), White (52.8) Menke (56.4) and Sands (63.4) with a combined time of 3:36.6; and the 4 x 800 group of Menke (2:13.3), Sexton (2:16.1), junior Brode Portell (2:19.2) and White (2:13.7) with an overall time of 9:02.2.
Highland individuals posting victories were: Higgins in the 200 (22.6) and the 400 (50.3); Logan Geiger in the 100 (10.9) and the long jump (19-6.5); Riggs in the 800 (2:10.7); White in the 1,600 (4:44.0); and Brendan Schrage in the 3,200 (11:16.4).
Also placing as individuals for the Bulldogs were: Capelle, second in the 800 (2:16.2) and second in the high jump (5-4); Sands, second in the 200 (22.9) and third in the long jump (18-5.75); Gage Geiger, second in the 100 (11.1); Teipe, second in the triple jump (36-8); Portell, second in the 400 (56.2); Smart, second in the 1,600 (5:02.2); Langhauser, second in the 300 intermediate hurdles (47.3); Bush, second in the shot put (41-7.5); Bartels, third in the 110 high hurdles (19.0); sophomore Jacob Plocher, third in the 3,200 (11:52.3); Langhauser, fourth in the 110 high hurdles (19.9); senior Zach Chapman, fourth in the discus (103.4); Riggs, fifth in shot put, 36-10); and Schmitt, fifth in the triple jump (32-7).