The OTHS girls track team passed their first major test of 2015 last weekend, racing their way past a crowded field of 14 teams to secure the Southwestern Illinois Relay championship.
The big victory was fueled thanks to an exceptional day of competition by the Panther relay teams with plenty of quality performances by individual OTHS athletes. Coach Neil James’ squad doubled the score on their nearest opponents, the Alton Redbirds, amassing 126.5 team points to the Redbirds’ 68.
The Panthers out-ran their opposition in the 4x800, 4x200, 4x400 and distance medley. Kersten Douglas continued her early season domination in the sprints, winning the 100. Jasmine Spearman collected the other O’Fallon blue ribbon, muscling her way to victory in the shot put. Other OTHS tracksters, adding points to O’Fallon’s margin of victory, were second place finishers Abby Carney in the high jump and the hurdle shuttle quartet. Third place ribbons were collected by Brooke Witzel in the 1,600 and MacKenzie Ryan in the triple jump.
“Our girls did a fantastic job,” James said. “Our relay teams were well prepared and ran great splits. We got an extra boost from Kersten Douglas and Jasmine Spearman. Overall, I was very pleased with the outcome. We faced a number of top programs and were ready to meet the challenge. It puts us on the right track to achieve our team goals for the season.”
The O’Fallon High boys track team came up just a few points short of making the SWIL competition a clean sweep for the Panthers. The OTHS squad collected six first place medals during the day, but it was not quite enough to catch the Edwardsville Tigers, who took the team title with 131 points. Coach Ron Koch’s squad ended the afternoon with 115 points.
O’Fallon athletes earned three individual titles. High jumper Aaron Smith won his fourth consecutive meet with a winning leap of 6’4”. TJ Lambert out-distanced the field to win the triple jump, and distance standout Dorrian Gordon picked up O’Fallon’s third blue ribbon in the 1,600. The remaining Panther first place points were secured by three relay teams. O’Fallon roared past the field of competitors to win the sprint medley, 4x100 and 4x400.
In a tune-up meet earlier in the week, the OTHS boys dismantled Belleville East 98-47—a decidedly easier victory than the narrow one point victory over Belleville West the previous week. The Panthers dominated the field events and distance races. O’Fallon took all three places in the discus and shot put and secured the top two spots in the high jump and pole vault. Zayne Smith led the sweep of the discus event, Brandon Hunter claimed the top spot in the shot put, Aaron Smith won the high jump and Johnathan Whitaker took honors in the pole vault.
In the distance events, senior Dorrian Gordon was the catalyst for a dominating OTHS performance. Gordon won both the 1,600 and 3,200 races. Second and third place finishers in both events were also OTHS athletes.
DeMontez McCrary, Darryl Cobb and Joey Black put the final touches on O’Fallon’s rout, winning the 100, 200 and 800, respectively.
The Panther boys team hopes to springboard off their early successes this Friday when they host the annual O’Fallon Relays.