The Cahokia Comanches made history last year when they became the first Class 2A team to win all four relays at the same Illinois High School Association boys state track and field track meet.
Last Saturday against many of the nation’s best high school track athletes and teams, the Comanches flashed that winning form again.
University of Missouri recruit Ja’Mari Ward ran a stunning leadoff leg of 47.4 seconds and teammates Tyran Lyons, Chris McGee and Chris Stanley followed suit as Cahokia ran the nation’s top time in the 1,600 meter relay — 3 minutes 18.99 seconds — of the 2016 indoor season in winning the title at the Arkansas High School Indoor Invitational.
With elite track and field thinclads from all over the nation competing in the prestigious event held annually at the indoor facility at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, the Comanches, led by their strength in the relays, Ward and senior field events star Anthony McRoberts, more then held their own by winning three events and placing in four others.
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That pleased Cahokia’s veteran coach Leroy Millsap.
“It was a good start and I’m pretty happy with how the kids did for what was basically our first competition of the (indoor) season,” Millsap said. “It was a long bus ride and I think we may have tightened up on the trip, but our times were good. The kids say I’m greedy. But we can do better in some events. We’ve still got work to do.”
In addition to the win in the 1,600 meter relay, Cahokia also won the 3,200 meter relay with Stanley, McGee and Lyons combining with Chris Raymond to finish in a time of 8:05.99.
Ward, making his season debut, jumped just four times — twice each in the long jump and triple jump — and was in good form. Perhaps the nation’s top high school combination athlete in the triple jump and long jump, Ward won the triple jump with a leap of 48 feet, 10 1/2 inches, but placed second in the long jump — despite leaping a respectable 24-6 1/2.
McRoberts was third in the triple jump with an effort of just over 45 feet, second in the high jump at 6-6 and fourth in the long jump with an effort of 21-10.
“Anthony had a great meet,” Millsap said. “I think he’ll be a 7-foot high jumper before the end of the season.”
Cahokia will be back in action next Sunday when it competes in a big meet at the University of Missouri’s indoor facility.