Highland senior Jayden Shelton was crowned the Madison County champion in high school track’s two longest races after sweeping the titles of the 3,200-meter and and 1,600-meter runs at the Madison County Championships Monday at Collinsville.
In the 3,200, Shelton, a McKendree University running recruit, ran together with a pair of Edwardsville runners, Julianna Determan and Kennison Determan, for five laps. But her competitors could not keep up with her pace. She ended up winning the two-mile race with an eight-lap time of 11 minutes, 50.42 seconds, which was more than 22 seconds ahead of Determan and 29 seconds out in front of Determan.
“I felt really good in that race,” Shelton said. “And I wasn’t tired at all when it was time for the mile. I’ve put in a lot of training over the winter, and my rebounds are a lot better.”
About an hour and a half later, Shelton found herself down by about 80 meters in the 1,600 before again showing off her endurance, eventually capturing the one-mile title a time of 5:27.81, nearly nine seconds better than runner-up Elizabeth Lynn and almost 13 seconds better than Bailey McGuire, both of Edwardsville.
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“The first two girls started out fast, and I got behind,” Shelton said. “I finally caught the second of the two and I thought that would be good, because honestly, I wasn’t aiming to get the win. I felt good, so I figured, ‘Why not?’ I could tell by her breathing that she was struggling, so I got past her and ended up winning. I really wasn’t expecting to win both.”
Shelton’s times are not quite there, but are fast approaching state-qualifying standards. The qualifying mark in the 1,600 is 5:25, so she is only two seconds off in that event. She is just 10 seconds shy of the 3,200 qualifying standard of 11:40.
Shelton believes that, with her conditioning and momentum, those two marks are reachable for her by the time the Springfield Southeast Sectional arrives next Thursday, May 14.
Highland coach Erin Cotto said the 1,600 was an insane race.
“She usually has negative splits (meaning her early splits are slower than her later splits),” Cotto said. “She runs opposite, focusing on the later part of the race, but that comeback was incredible. She was so far behind and to make it all up in such a short time. She’s impressed overall this season. She put in a lot of work and the results are showing.”
Other HHS results
Highland had several other impressive performers at the county meet, led by senior Bailey Leitschuh. Leitschuh not only hopped to a third-place finish in the triple jump, but she also hit the state-qualifying mark of 34 feet, 8 inches for the first time this season. She had an extra inch to spare with a season-best leap of 34-9.
“I am getting to where I want to be slowly but surely,” said Leitschuh, who garnered the ninth-place medal last spring at the IHSA Class 2A Girls State Track and Field Meet. “I just actually got to where I am supposed to be in the season, so that’s good. I know that I can hit a (state) qualifying mark now at least, so it’s good that I’ve got my mojo back in a way. As long as I hit the (qualifying) mark, I really don’t care if it’s like right on it or just over it. As long as I get to go (to state), then I get do it there (at state).”
Other individuals scoring points for the Lady Bulldogs by placing in the top-six positions (the top five in each event earned a medal) in at least one event were: the freshman Rece Portell, fourth place in the 800 (2:30.42) and fifth in the high jump (4-4); sophomore Sarah Beth Wiegman, fourth in the 3,200 (12:49); senior Megan Hundsdorfer, fifth in the 100 high hurdles (17.75) and sixth in the 300 low hurdles (53.61); freshman Alyssa Freimann, fifth in the 400 (1:04.91); and senior Mireille Beaubien, sixth in the 800 (2:38.45).
Highland’s best relay finish came from the 4 x 800 team, which scored a second-place finish. The quartet of junior Allison Zobrist, Portell, Beaubien and sophomore Courtney Hengehold posted the second-best team time of 10:35.25.
The Lady Bulldogs’ other three relay teams finished as follows: the 4 x 200 unit of Amy Sutterfield, Melanie Wick, Ariel Smock and Lyndi Stone, third place (1:58.57); the 4 x 400 group of Brianna Becherer, Freimann, Wiegman and Portell, fourth place (4:37.36); and the 4 x 100 quartet of Sutterfield, Wick, Brenna Maas and Leitschuh, fifth place (54.99).
Edwardsville won the girls’ county team title for the 15 consecutive year and swept both the girls’ and boys’ team titles for the seventh year in a row. The Tigers rung up 153 final team points to beat out runner-up Triad (117) by 36 points.
The rest of the county large schools finished as follows: Alton (100), Granite City (67), Highland (62) and Collinsville (43).
Edwardsville got individual event wins from Danielle Bohannon in the 400 (1:01.45), Autumn Harris in the 100 hurdles (15.20).
The Lady Tigers also swept all four of the relays , the 4 x 800 (10:02.12), the the 4 x 100 (50.56), 4 x 200 (1:46.36), and the 4 x 400 (4:14.51).
Triad received first-place finishes from Jenniba Johnson in the 200 (26.21), Abigal Richter in the 800 (2:24.94), Allison Richter in the shot put (42-05.50) and Claire Buck in the pole vault (10-06).
Alton’s LaJarvia Brown continued her record-breaking season with two more records. She won her three individual events, including shattering meet records in the triple jump and 300 hurdles.In the triple jump, Brown sailed way past her old mark of 37-11 set one year ago with a new record distance of 40-2. She also set a new standard in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.89. The old mark of 45.14 was established in 1989 by Christina Perozzi of Edwardsville.
Brown also won the long jump with a leap of 17-6.
Other county champions were Alton freshman Katie Mans in the high jump (5-4),Granite City’s Catherine Jakich in the discus (126-02) and the Warriors’ Andrea Hyde in the 100 (12.92).