Belleville East senior Ja’Brionne Bacon won the 100- and 400-meter titles, and the Lancers 1,600-meter relay team earned a narrow win as East ended nine years of frustrations Wednesday by capturing a one-point victory over Belleville West in the boys division of the Belleville City Track and Field Championship.
Clinging to a 90-89 lead over the Maroons entering the final race of the night — 1,600 meter relay — the Lancers held off the Maroons down the stretch, finishing with a 95-94 win.
West had won 12 city titles in 13 years, including nine in a row, under coach Patton Segraves heading into the meet. But in his first year, interim head coach Mike Isbell and his team had reason to celebrate.
“I know everybody looks at the conference, sectional and state as the big meets that we point toward, but this was a big win for our kids. It’s a real boost for our confidence and gives our team something to be proud of accomplishing,” Isbell said. “We knew it was close and would come down to the last race. The kids did a great job tonight. It was a team effort.”
Among the other Lancers winning championships Wednesday were Ryan Mead in the long jump, Trison Paul in the pole vault, Tommy Wicks in the shot put, Zachariah Panek in the 1,600 meters and senior Marvion Brady in the 200 meters.
Belleville West was led by senior Ricky Berry, who won both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and distance runners Brian Gichuru (3,200 meters) and James Reed in the 800 meters.
“I thought coming in that we might have been a slight underdog. But I’m very proud of my team. We fought until the end and set numerous PRs,” Segraves said. “The last race of the night, and my guys ran great. We had our season best time of the season by four seconds in the 1,600-meter relay. It was a great effort by both teams tonight.”
West wins girls division
The Belleville West girls team received a combined five wins from freshmen Jessica Coughlin and Danell Meitzenheimer as they defeated Belleville East and Althoff for the team championship.
The Maroons finished with 95 points, 20 more than Belleville East (75). Althoff finished with nine points.
Coughlin finished with a time of just more than 58 seconds in the 400 meters while also winning the long jump and 100 meters. Meitzenheimer won both the shot put and discus for caoch Sally Stephens.
“I’m very pleased. We’ve really worked on building a strong team camaraderie this season and stressed the team concept,” Stephens said. “Tonight we showed that again. It was a great team effort.”
Also winning titles for West on Wednesday were Brittany Walker in the triple jump, Demi Brown in the high jump, Kelvi Searcy in the 100 meter hurdles and Kameron Frazier in the 200 meters.
Winning titles for East were Sandra Sledge in the pole vault, Megan Korte in the 3,200 meters, Seleiya Wilson in the 1,600 meters, Miraya Wright in the 300 meter hurdles and Danielle Schultz in the 800 meters.