As things turned out, the O’Fallon High boys track team would need every point they could muster in their first dual meet action of the season.
Hosting SWC rival Belleville West last week, the Panthers’ parlayed their team depth and particular strength in the distance events to eke out the win.
The 1,600 and 800 races were the primary catalysts for O’Fallon. In the 1,600, the Panthers swept all three top spots. Cross country standout Dorrian Gordon won the event, which earned OTHS valuable team points, but the Panthers were able to cash in to an even greater extent when seniors Logan Whorton and Erik McMillan followed Gordon across the finish line in second and third place, respectively.
The Panthers duplicated the trifecta in the 800 meter run. Spencer Phillips streaked across the tape to win the event. Just .04 seconds after Phillips crossed the finish line, Gordon completed the circuit in second place. Garrett Blenkush completed the sweep for the Panthers with a third place finish.
The 3,200 was also a pivotal race for O’Fallon. Panther runners took the top two spots. Joey Black won the race with teammate Matt Gilster finishing second. Other winning performances by OTHS athletes were turned in by the 4x100 relay team, Raymond Williamson in the 110 hurdles, DeMontez McCray in the 200 and Aaron Smith in the high jump.
For Smith, the victory in the high jump competition was his second victory of the season, having won the event in the Principia Indoor the previous week.
Coach Ron Koch’s charges will face a major early season challenge this weekend when they travel to Edwardsville to compete in the annual Southwestern Illinois meet.