The O’Fallon girls track team didn’t celebrate another Belleville West Invitational championship this year.
Still, the Panthers were able to leave Belleville West with some hardware. O’Fallon earned a trophy after finishing third with 83.5 points in the 12-team meet on Monday (April 6).
“We have a great group of kids,” O’Fallon coach Neil James said. “They all buy into what we’re doing. Whether they’re one of our top varsity kids or one of our top JV/freshman/sophomore kids, they all want to do their best and try to improve their times.”
The top three teams receive trophies. Edwardsville edged Belleville East 105-104 to win the team championship. Last year, the Tigers finished second to O’Fallon by 41 points.
The Belleville West meet was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved to Monday due to rain. That forced O’Fallon to use its ‘B’ squad for the Belleville West meet because the Panthers were scheduled to compete in a meet in Festus, Mo., on Tuesday.
“It was really nice getting those kids an opportunity to compete in a varsity meet,” James said.
The Panthers, who recently won the Southwestern Illinois Relays, didn’t have any first-place finishes at the Belleville West meet after having six last year. They got second-place finishes from Rachel Russel (3,200), Sarah Duffy (1,600), Abby Carney (triple jump) and their 800-meter relay team of Deidra Murray, Alexis Acoff, Dartrenetta Holman and Victoria Pugh.
Russel finished with a time of 12:10.7 in the 3,200, Duffy ran a 5:41.27 in the 1,600, Carney jumped 35 feet, 2 inches in the triple jump and the 800-meter relay team ran a 1:49.54.
Duffy also helped the 3,200-meter relay team—which also included Marta Durk, Anna Langevin and Danna Jenkins—place third.
Holman and Pugh each earned three medals. They helped the 400-meter relay team—which also included Murray and Angelica Cecil—finish fifth. Holman finished fifth in the 200 and Pugh helped the 1,600-meter relay team—which also included Durk, Sierra Workman and Mary Kate Porath—place fourth.
Jasmine Spearman finished fourth in the shot put, Workman placed fifth in the 400, Aimee Stein finished fifth in the pole vault and Casey Carter finished in a tie for fifth with Triad’s Lexie Wheeler in the high jump.
Ebony Bee, who transferred from Hazelwood West last fall, was the only O'Fallon senior competing Monday. She placed third in the high jump and fifth in the long jump.
Bee said she was pleased with her team’s effort.
“They give it their all,” Bee said.