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High-flying East St. Louis advances 13 entries to Class 2A state track meet

The East St. Louis Flyerettes took a big step toward their first state championship since 2012 Friday at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.

Saving the best for last, the Flyerettes put the finishing touch on an excellent preliminary round performance, posting a time of 3 minutes 54.9 seconds in the 1,600 meter relay to put themselves in the hunt for for the 2019 state title.

Led by its 1,600 meter relay team of Shonjahnea Griggs, Faith Mitchell, Maysha Vickers and Jariah Turner , East St. Louis advanced 13 of its entries into the final round on Saturday.

East St. Louis also has the top time in the 400 meter relay (47.2 seconds) and the 800 meter relay team (1:41.5). Of the Flyerettes nine individual athletes who will compete on Saturday, the duo of Veronica Sherrod (45.26) and Maysha Vickers (45,73) had the second and third best times in the 300 meter hurdles.

Several other local schools also enjoyed good days on Friday in Charleston.

The Mascoutah Indians will have four entries in the finals including DeJae Hudson in the long jump and Anya Holloway in the 300 meter hurdles. Both posted top eight performances Friday.

Freeburg also advanced three entries including Ella Siebenberger who went 10 feet 6 inches to make the finals in the pole vault, while Breanna Chandler moved on in the 800 meters.

East St. Louis’ Jariah Turner competes in the class 2A 4x400-meter relay preliminary race at the IHSA Track and Field State Finals on Friday. [Photo: Chris Johns/PhotoNews Media] Chris Johns Stlsportsphoto

Also in medal contention are Jade Bivens of Columbia (long jump) and Highland sophomore Taylor Kesner who had a throw of 40 feet 7 inches to reach the finals in the shot put.

Also in the finals is defending 3,200 meter state champion Jenna Schwartz of Waterloo.. There are no prelims in the 3,200 meters.

Results of the Class 3A prelims on Friday were unavailable at press time. They’re available at

Class 1A

Althoff’s sensational sophomore Nariah Parks began her day Thursday hoping to take a first step toward becoming the Crusaders’ first track and field state champion in 26 years.

On Saturday, Parks will have two chances to achieve that accomplishment.

The state runner-up in the Class 1A 400 meter final a year ago, Parks turned in a time of 57.81 seconds, the best of the four preliminary heats on Thursday and is the athlete to beat heading into the final day of competition Saturday at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.

Looking to become Althoff’s first female state track champion since 1993 when Beth Voellinger won the Class A high jump, Parks also posted the second best time in the 200 meters at 25.96 seconds.

Parks is one of two metro east area athletes who qualified in two events on Thursday. Madison senior Janiya Collins has the fourth best time in the 100 meters (12.32) seconds and the third best time in the 200 (26.07).

Mater Dei senior Carly Etter advanced to the finals in the high jump, clearing 5 feet 2 inches, while Nashville advanced to the finals of the 800 meter relay with the seventh best time of 1 minute, 46.74 seconds. Members of that team are Destyn Herrington, Jadah Heidel Talanie Kozuszek and Halle Rueter.

Rounding out the Class 1A finalists are Abby Riechmann of Okawville, Brooke Biffar of Gibault and Sarah Vanover of Dupo, all in the 3,200 meters.

The 2019 IHSA Girls State Track Meet concludes on Saturday at O’Brien Stadium. Finals in all three classes beginning at 10 a.m