Travis Anderson will soon leave his Edwardsville home for his new life as a student-athlete at the University of Nebraska.
He knows there will be adjustments ahead, and, as he learned during his senior year on the Tigers’ track and field team, the road to success won’t always be smooth.
During the 2017 season, in fact, the outgoing Anderson learned just how bumpy that road can be.
The defending state champion and Class 3A state track meet record-holder in the 110-meter hurdles missed a large portion of the outdoor season with hamstring injuries.
“There are kinks and bumps along the way. Every athlete has them,” Anderson said. “I hurt the right hamstring in practice, and it was a little scary because it was actually my first track injury. I was afraid it was torn, but it was just pulled. We just had to let it heal.”
A second injury followed — this one to the left hamstring.
But in Charleston, Anderson first repeated his 110-meter hurdles state championship, then helped Edwardsville clinch the Class 3A state title by winning the 300-meter intermediate hurdles crown.
The Edwardsville High School boys track program has won two state titles and placed second twice in the past four years, and Anderson, the team leader, was named the Belleville News-Democrat Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
When I finished my time and saw the 13.59, I had to look at it again. I’m like ... wow. I didn’t run that fast this year, but I was close.
Travis Anderson, Edwardsville hurdler
Anderson set the state mark of 13.59 seconds in the 110-meter preliminaries a year ago. His winning time of 13.79 seconds at the 2017 state meet easily outclassed the time of 14.34 turned in by runner-up Landon Keefover, of Antioch. Anderson then turned in a time of 37.86 seconds to win the 300-meter hurdles over Jaden Jackson, of Palatine Fremd, who was second in 38.06 seconds.
Anderson competed in only five outdoor meets this season because of his injuries.
“It was tough in terms of timing. I wanted to be out there with Matt (Griebe), challenging and making him better in the hurdles everyday in practice, and I wanted to be out with (DeVonte) Tincher and the other relay guys working on our handoffs. Not being able to be out working with my teammates in my senior year ... that was tough to handle,” Anderson said. “But from a performance standpoint, I was fresh and strong once the postseason began. It was almost like the start of the indoor season.”
Anderson came close to breaking the 110-meter hurdles state record, posting a time of 13.67 in the preliminaries.
There are kinks and bumps along the way. Every athlete has them. I hurt the right hamstring in practice and it was a little scary because it was actually my first track injury.
Travis Anderson, Edwardsville hurdler
“I guess I’m a little disappointed not getting the record. My goals coming into the year were to win the county, sectional and state meets in both, and I came pretty close to doing that,” Anderson said. “The 13.59 I ran the year before ... man ... that blew me away.
“(William) Session, of (Belleville) East, ran 13.8 in the prelims, and up until that my best time was 13.89 seconds, and so when he put up his time, I thought I would be the second or third seed. When I finished my time and saw the 13.59, I had to look at it again. I’m like ... wow. I didn’t run that fast this year, but I was close.”
Anderson finished his high school career with six individual state medals, including three state championships.
Anderson will leave Edwardsville later this month for Lincoln, where he will attend summer school and begin working out with his new college teammates. Anderson chose Nebraska over Iowa, Illinois and Ohio State.
“Iowa was probably my second choice,” Anderson said. “What set Nebraska apart were the facilities. Plus, the coaching staff was great, and I felt very comfortable around them from the start.
“I’m healthy right now, but with the hamstring injuries, it’s still in the back of your mind. My goal for next year is just to be able to compete. I’ll maybe run in some relays and could run an occasional 400-meter (hurdles), but I think I’ll mostly run in the 110 hurdles.”
Athlete of the Year
- Travis Anderson, Edwardsville
Coach of the Year
- Chad Lakatos, Edwardsville
- 100-Meter: Jermarrion Stewart, Collinsville
- 200-Meter: DeVonte’ Tincher, Edwardsville
- 400-Meter: Deonte Anderson, East St. Louis
- 800-Meter: Chris Conrad, O’Fallon
- 1,600-Meter: Ben Flowers, Jerseyville
- 3,200-Meter: Charlie Parrish, Freeburg
- 110-Meter Hurdles: Travis Anderson, Edwardsville
- 300-Meter Hurdles: Travis Anderson, Edwardsville
- Discus: A.J. Epenesa, Edwardsville
- Shot Put: A.J. Epenesa, Edwardsville
- Long Jump: Marquis Murray, Cahokia
- Triple Jump: Andra Ward, Cahokia
- High Jump: Torrey Deal, Granite City
- Pole Vault: Blake Neville, Edwardsville; Jadon Elliott, Triad
- 400-Meter Relay: East St. Louis (Anthony Bartley, Jarrell Anderson, Malcolm Bell, Deonte Anderson)
- 800-Meter Relay: East St. Louis (Anthony Bartley, Jarrell Anderson, Joshua Tolson, Delano Anderson); Cahokia (Marquis Murray, Keondre Wells, Elijah Rice, Darreon West)
- 1,600-Meter Relay: East St. Louis (Deonte Anderson, Reyondous Estes, Willie Johnson, Joshua Tolson)
- 3,200-Meter Relay: East St. Louis (Reyondous Estes, Bryuan Manuelm, Willie Johnson, Joshua Tolson)
- 100-Meter: Dorian Brown, O’Fallon; Jarrell Anderson, East St. Louis; Jaylon Bester, Althoff
- 200-Meter: Trevore Sanders, Collinsville; Marquis Murray, Cahokia
- 400-Meter: Jermarrion Stewart, Collinsville
- 800-Meter: Will O’Keefe, Granite City; Drew Wilkerson, Freeburg; Chris Stanley, Cahokia; Brandon Schnitker, Nashville
- 1,600-Meter: Andrew O’Keefe, Granite City
- 3,200-Meter: Roland Prenzler, Edwardsville
- 110-Meter Hurdles: Mett Griebe, Edwardsville; Delano Anderson, East St. Louis
- 300-Meter Hurdles: Delano Anderson, East St. Louis
- Discus: Jordan Hawkins, Roxana
- Shot Put: Kalen Samelton, Alton, Bruce Wachowski, Edwardsville
- Long Jump: DeVonte Tincher, Edwardsville
- Triple Jump: Shunn Grace, Cahokia
- High Jump: Justin White, Edwardsville
- Pole Vault: Ian Alberts, Freeburg
- 400-Meter Relay: Mascoutah, Cahokia
- 800-Meter Relay: Edwardsville
- 1,600-Meter Relay: Waterloo, Nashville, Belleville East
- 3,200-Meter Relay: Mascoutah, Nashville
100-Meter: Micah Panik, Belleville East; Jacob Ridenhour, Jerseyville; Johnnie Caswell, Triad; Collin Thomas, Central; Eric Griffin, Madison; Ben Mueth, Gibault; 200-Meter: Tyler Higgins, Highland; Anthony Bartley, East St. Louis; Darreon West, Cahokia; Eric Griffin, Madison; Garrett Rappolee, Lebanon; Jarrell Anderson, East St. Louis; Jermarrion Stewart, Collinsville, Eddie Wilson , Mascoutah; 400-Meter: Brandon Roberson, Cahokia; Willie Johnson, East St. Louis; Collin Thomas, Central; Tommy DeClue, Marquette; Derryn Holmes, Nashville; Andre Ells, Althoff; Marcus Lampley, East St. Louis; Dawson Holden, Waterloo; 800-Meter: Franky Romano, Edwardsville; Joey Black, O’Fallon; Brandon Johnson, Mascoutah; Craig Collier, Freeburg; Caleb Zgonina, Nashville; 1,600-Meter: Chris Conrad, O’Fallon, Brandon Schnitker, Nashville, Luke Goebel, Mater Dei; Will O’Keefe, Granite City, Ethan Price, Mascoutah, Charlie Parrish, Freeburg; Joey Black, O’Fallon; 3,200-Meter: Javon Watkins, Madison, Ethan Price, Mascoutah; Andrew O’Keefe, Granite City; Max Hartmann, Edwardsville; Jacob Plocher, Highland; 110-Meter Hurdles: Dontez Pittman, Madison; Ricky Berry, Belleville West; Keondre Wells, Cahokia; Ben Rakers, Central, Ryan Davis, Mascoutah; Holden Evans Wesclin; Keegan Spirak, Mater Dei; 300-Meter Hurdles: Matt Griebe, Edwardsville, Dontez Pittman, Madison; Austin Kimbrel, Jerseyville; Keegan Spirak, Mater Dei; Max Fowler, New Athens; Ricky Berry, Belleville West; Jordan Smith, Granite City; Ryan Davis, Mascoutah; Discus: Bruce Wachowski, Edwardsville; Jackson Ivers, Waterloo; Zach Wheeler, Mascoutah; Bryce Chadduck, Dupo; Kenny Spisek, Dupo; Kalen Samelton, Alton; Shot Put: Jacob Brown, Wesclin; Antonio Williams, Wesclin; Zach Wheeler, Mascoutah; Long Jump: Jaylon Bester, Althoff; Kenyon Johnson, Belleville East; Raymond Mix, East St. Louis; Brendan Meng, Freeburg; Glen Gibbons, Mascoutah; Triple Jump: Jaylon Bester, Althoff; Torrey Deal, Granite City; Brendan Meng, Freeburg; Travis Thier, Waterloo; Will Zehnder, Triad; Jarred Silvia, Mascoutah; Carl Moore, Madison; Tyler Traub, Okawville; Raymond Mix, East St. Louis; Ian Parker, Belleville West; High Jump: Tabor Kozuszek, Nashville; Austin Kimbrel, Jerseyville; Freddie Waller, Belleville East; Zach Pluff, Freeburg; Pole Vault: Sebastian Wolf, Highland; Kyle Ciborowski, Wesclin; Brett Shirley, Wesclin; Mason Eads, Collinsville; 400-Meter Relay: Collinsville; Madison, Althoff, Marquette; Edwardsville, Alton; 800-Meter Relay: Mascoutah; Madison, Wesclin; Belleville East, Alton; 1,600-Meter Relay: Mascoutah; Alton, Edwardsville, Cahokia, Freeburg; 3,200-Meter Relay: Alton, O’Fallon, Edwardsville, Wesclin, Freeburg.