Big hits, kicks and jumps
Two months after leading the East St. Louis Flyers magical run through the Class 3A basketball postseason playoffs, culminating with the state championship, Terrence Hargrove Jr. is trying to do it again.
A two-time first team all-state basketball player, Hargrove and nationally-ranked sprinter Willie Johnson will lead a rejuvenated and focused Flyers track team during the preliminary round of the Class 2A State Track and Field Meet at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston Friday.
A year after seeing their dreams of state title end following a brawl in the stands during the Southwestern Conference Meet, which eventuallly led to East St. Louis Superintendent Arthur Culver later canceling the remainder of the season, the Flyers return to Eastern Illinois University this weekend with enough athletes to win the state team title.
Now all coach Barry Malloyd’s team has to do is execute.
Hargrove, participating in track and field for the first time, had the top sectional high jump in the state last week, clearing 6 feet 8 inches. He’ll team with Johnson, who has the top time in both the 200 meters (21.84) and 400 meters (49.15), to lead East St. Louis when Class 2A prelims begin at 9 a..m. Friday.
The IHSA boys state finals begin Thursday at 10 a.m. with the Class 1A prelims. The Class 3A preliminaries begin at noon on Friday and the finals in all three classes are set to begin on Saturday at 10 a.m..
In addition to Hargrove and Johnson, the Flyers have several athletes who posted top five performances at the Herrin Sectional last week.
Marcus Lampley has the third best time in both the 200 meters (22.03) and 400 meters (49.92), and Jamariantte Burgess (14.78) has the third best time in the 110 meter hurdles. The Flyers also have third best time in the 400 meter relay (42.9) fourth best in the 800 meter relay (1:29.6) and third fatest time in the 1,600 meter relay (3:23.1).
Several other schools also have athletes in the top five following sectional competition. Freeburg senior Zack Pluff has the fourth best high jump (6-6), Corbin Schwable is fifth in the 800 meters (1:57.9) and Noah Williams is fifth in the 300 hurdles (39.4). The Midgets are also fourth in the 1,600 meter relay (3:24..0 Triad has the fourth best time in the 400 meter relay (42.95).
The Mascoutah Indians are led by junior Devin Wills who has the second best time in the 100 meters (10.8), Matt Wilson has the fifth best effort in the shot put (52-11) and are second in the 800 meter relay (1:29l.4).
Waterloo has two runners in the 800 meters, Jackson McAlister, 2nd (1:56.6) and Eli Ward (1:57.0), who is fourth.
Collinsville junior Jermarrion Stewart is yet to beat Plainfield North superstar Marcellus Moore in the 100 and 200 meters, but Stewart did have the best time in both events while competing in the Bloomington Sectional last week.
The outgoing Stewart ran a time of 10.51 in the 100 meters and 21.51 seconds in the 200 meters. Moore,l the defending state champion in both events had the third best time in the 100 meters (10.79) and fiifth best time (21.83) in the 200 meters in his sectional meet.
Granite City senior Andrew O’Keefe, edged at the finish line in the 1,600 meters a year ago, has the third best sectional time (4:18,5) while Edwardsvlle junior Jack Pifer has the fourth best time (4:21..0).
O’Fallon has the fourth bst time in the 1,600 meters (3:21.4)
Madison senior Kendall Kennedy has a chance to bring home two state medals late Saturday if he can repeat his performance of a week ago during sectional competition.
Kennedy tied for the third best high jump in the state at 6 feet 3 inches and also posted the third best time in the 110 meter hurdles at 15.15 seconds.
Dupo’s Bryce Chadduck has the second best throw in the discus (166 feet 7 inches) while Tyler Guthrie of Father McGivney in Glen Carbon has the third best time in the 1,600 meters (4:31.2).