The Highland Middle School boys and girls track and field teams competed at the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association Class L State Track and Field Championships Meet May 9 in Carterville.
The Bullpups arrived in Carterville with five boys and five girls set to compete in a variety of events.
Katelyn Marti was the most successful HMS athlete both on the track and in the field and she also wrote her name into the school’s history books.
Marti qualified in four events, but opted to not run in the 400 because she wanted to try and go after the school record in the 800.
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That decision paid off as Marti flew to a 2:26.71 to break Rece Portell’s record from one year ago and score the Bullpups’ best overall state medal with a second-place finish. She crossed the finish line just slightly more than a second behind 800 champion Gabby Watson of Collinsville.
Marti was also HMS’ only jumper among the field events as she competed in the long jump. Marti jumped her personal best of 14 feet, 11 inches in a steady rain. The jump was good enough to pick up the fourth-place medal.
“Marti had an historic season. She is on the top 10 list in four events. She is a gifted athlete,” said HMS coach Doug Bradley.
In Highland Middle School history, Marti ranks first all time in the 800, third in the 1,600 (behind only McKendree University recruit Jayden Shelton and current Washington University runner Emily Holtzclaw), fourth in the long jump and seventh in the 400.
Marti also helped the girls’ 4 x 400 relay team pick up a medal. She was joined by Lily Becker, Sam Hengehold and Carly Rakers. The quartet could not duplicate their effort from a week earlier in the qualifying meet, but they still earned the fifth-place medal with a time of 4:32.07.
Marti was not the only Bullpup to medal on the track. The first athlete on the track for the Bullpups was Isaac Jones. Jones ran the 400-meter dash in a time of 58.99 seconds to grab the fifth-place medal in that event.
In addition, the boys’ 4 x 400 relay team of Jones, Connor Schuster, Jacob Maas, and Ben Wille ran their fastest time of the season with a 4:02.79. That time was good enough to win an eighth-place medal.
The throwers, competing in a downpour, were unable to break into the medals.
Abby Beyer finished ninth in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 30 feet, 2.25 inches and Ross Spies finished 12th with a throw of 37-10.5.
In the discus, Beyer’s throw of 76-06 was good enough to place 10th.
Becker and Hengehold both earned spots in the 1,600-meter run at the meet. Becker’s time of 5:53.3 was good enough for 10th place, while Hengehold’s 12th-place finish came in a time of 5:56.24.
“This season will be special because it was the first season we ever had sixth graders,” Bradley said. “None of them ran at state but we’re excited about the experience that a few of them got this year that will make our team stronger down the road.”
At the SIJHSAA Class S State Track and Field Championships in Herrin on May 9, St. Paul had two boys and one girl earn medals.
For the boys, Sam Lutostanski earned a fourth-place medal in the high jump after clearing the bar at 5 feet, 4 inches and Sam LaPorta took sixth in the shot put with a throw of 41-0.75.
And for the girls, Alyssa Noll finished sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 14.34.