Sports

Schoenthal, Anderson, help Edwardsville win SWC boys track crown

Running in what could have been the final 1,600 meter race of his high school career, Edwardsville senior Wes Schoenthal gave a sparse turnout at the Southwestern Conference Boys Track and Field Meet something to remember Wednesday at O’Fallon High School.

A little over an hour after capturing the 800, Schoenthal took the lead early then ran away from Tyler Manion of Granite City and Dorrian Gordon of O’Fallon — finishing the 1,600 in 4 minutes 15.07 seconds to lead the way for Edwardsville, which coasted to its fifth SWC title in six years.

“I had a lot left after the 800 meters and the weather conditions made it just a great day to run,’’ Schoenthal said. “I don’t know what I’m going to run next week at sectionals.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll run the 800 meters, but I don’t know if the coaches will put me in the 1,600 meters or have me run a leg in the 3,200-meter relay. Whatever helps the team the most, I guess. I want to thank my teammates tonight. They really pushed me.’’

Edwardsville, which also got individual wins from AJ Epenesa in the discus, Fontez Davis in the long jump (22-feet, 7 1/2-inches), Travis Anderson in the 110 hurdles (14.52 seconds) and 300 hurdles (39.82), finished with 192 points, far ahead of second-place place O’Fallon (125 points).

Belleville West was third with 113 points. Collinsville rounded out the top four teams with 108.

But it was Schoenthal who had perhaps the best night of any Edwardsville individual.

His time of 1:55.77 was nearly three seconds faster than runner-up Spencer Phillips of O’Fallon in the 800. He then beat Manion by 16 seconds in the 1,600.

Gordon, one of the top distance runners in the state, finished third in 4:33 after winning the 3,200 earlier in the meet with a time of 9:38.04.

“Wes had just a tremendous night. He’s one of those kids who comes to practice every day and just works so very hard,’’ Edwardsville coach Chad Lakotos said. “He ran a great race in the 800 meters and he just had so much left for the 1,600 meters. That was great too see.

“Fontez (Davis) I’m sure will tell you that he wasn’t happy with the way he jumped, but 22-7 is a solid effort and Travis (Anderson) also had a great night in the hurdles. I told the kids before the meet that the first-place finishes weren’t going to decide if we won here tonight. It was going to be the kids who placed second, third or fourth. It was a great team effort.’’

Epenesa, who had the best discus throw in the state and seventh best in the nation on Saturday of 194-3, broke the conference mark set in 1972 by Tim Robbers of Granite City of 176-5. Epenesa’s record throw Wednesday was 180-4.

But Schoenthal, Anderson and Epenesa had to share the spotlight with O’Fallon senior Demontez McCray.

The 6-4 McCray scored the sprinter’s trifecta when he swept the 100, 200 and 400 titles.

McCray’s night started by winning the 100 in a time of 10.8. Less than 45 minutes later, the Panthers standout won the 400 in 49.60 before completing the feat with a time of 21.49 in the 200.

“Am I surprised I won all three races tonight? Yes. But I got out of the blocks really strong in the 100 meters and my best two races are the 200 and 400 meters,’’ McCray said. “I was a little worried about my hamstring which has been tight, but I was able to get all three. It feels really good.’’

O’Fallon also got a win from Mason Hewitt in the pole vault (13-0).

Third-place West got a win from senior Ricky Nelson in the shot put (51-8 1/2 ) and its 400 relay, which finished in 41.92.

Collinsville got wins in the 800 relay and from high jumper Bailey Crone (6-3).

East St. Louis ran a winning time of 3:20.70 from its 1,600 relay. The Flyers’ James Smith won the triple jump with an effort of 44-2.

Granite City won the 3,200 relay in 8:06.4

Contact reporter Dean Criddle at dcriddle@bnd.com or 618-239-2661.

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