The Highland High School boys tack and field team’s fourth-place finish in the Blue Division of last Friday’s Mascoutah Military Invitational was highlighted by some very strong individual efforts by the Bulldogs, including a pair of record-shattering performances from junior standout Tyler Higgins in the sport’s two fastest races.
Higgins, who is the reigning IHSA Class 2A state champion in the 400-meter dash and already was Highland’s record holder in the 100, 200 and 400, broke his own school record in the 200 with a new standard time of 21.97 seconds. His time was also fast enough to establish a new Mascoutah meet record.
Higgins also lowered his own school-record time in the 100 after flashing to the finish line first in a record time of 10.81 seconds.
Senior Brode Portell and junior Evan Capelle also claimed individual championships for the Bulldogs.
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Portell won an extremely close 400 race in which a blanket could have been thrown over at least the top five finishing sprinters. Portell earned the victory with a winning time of 51.19 seconds after coming from behind and outleaning Mascoutah’s Christopher Ferguson-Scott (51.31) by 0.14 of a second at the stripe. Also right in the thick of the battle all the way to the finish were third-place Corbin Crim-Harbison of Harrisburg (51.34) and fourth-place Keenan Stegall of Alton (51.77). Mascoutah’s Isaiah Ignacio (52.08) rounded out the top five less than a second behind the winning Portell.
Capelle was the meet’s top high jumper after needing less attempts than any other competitor to clear the bar at 5 feet, 11 inches.
Portell also ran a strong opening leg of the 4 x 800 relay team that came home in second place. Portell was followed by junior Bryce Sexton, senior Hayden Smart and freshman Ben Wille as the quartet posted a strong team time of 8:20.79 which was only 2.45 seconds behind the winning time put up by Mascoutah (8:18.34).
Also, Highland’s 4 x 400 relay unit of sophomore Mason Geiger, junior Grant Thole, sophomore Sebastian Wolf and senior Sam Teipe, who teamed up to earn second place with a group time of 1:37.48.
Harrisburg finished with 140.5 team points to edge out Breese Central (137) for the team title of the Blue Division. Completing the seven teams in the Blue Division were Freeburg (106.5), Highland (96), Murphysboro (79), Salem (76) and Madison (49).
Mascoutah won the Silver Division with a final team score of 140 points to shade runner-up Granite City (132) by eight points. Alton (122) finished third, Carbondale (96) and Mount Vernon (96) tied for fourth and Belleville East (79.5) rounded out the Silver Division in sixth place.
The Bulldogs, who are coached by Bob Vance, will compete at the Granite City Warrior Relays on Friday.