Senior A.J. Epenesa won the discus and shot put, and the Tigers ran their top times of the year in the 400- and 800-meter relays as they captured a school record fourth straight SWC championship.
Still competing without injured senior Travis Anderson, the Tigers manged to edge East St. Louis in both the 400-meter relay — finishing with a time of 42 seconds — then rallying to nip the Flyers with a time of 1 minute, 28.62 seconds in the 800-meter relay. The Flyers finished with a time of 1 minute, 28.66 seconds.
Those two finishes, along with a combined 36 points from Epenesa and fellow senior Bruce Wachowski in the shot put and discus, helped the Tigers finish the day with 150 points to edge East St. Louis (132 1/2 points) and O’Fallon (88) for the title.
The meet was the first at home for Edwardsville since it played host to the Southwestern Illinois Relays in March. The Tigers’ other home meet, the Winston Brown Invitational, was canceled by rain.
“Competing at home for the last time, it meant a lot to our seniors. We recognized them before the meet,” Tigers coach Chad Lakatos said. “The SWC meet is one of three we point at as ones we want to really win. To be able to four-peat, the first time in school history, that’s great.”
Epenesa won the discus with a throw of 179 feet and the shot put (56 feet, 11 1/2 inches), while Wachowski was second in both. The Tigers also got wins from Blake Neville in the pole vault (14 feet, 4 inches) and Devonte’ Tincher in the long jump (23 feet, 2 inches).
Second-place East St. Louis was led by the Anderson brothers, Dalano and Deante’, who combined for three wins. Delano Anderson breezed to wins in the 110-meter hurdles (14.67 seconds) and 300-meter hurdles (38.88 seconds). Deante Anderson won the 400 meters in 48.36 seconds.
The Flyers also won both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays.
Torrey Deal, of Granite City, and Chris Conrad, of O’Fallon, were also double winners. Deal won the high jump (6 feet, 6 inches) and triple jump (46 feet, 2 inches), while Conrad won both the 800 meters (1 minute, 56 seconds) and the 1,600 meters (4 minutes, 27.09 seconds). In both races, Conrad rallied to beat Granite City senior Will O’Keefe. It is the second straight year Conrad scored the rare double in the 800 and 1,600 meters.
“Losing to Chris Stanley, of Cahokia, at the Collinsville (Invite) was a real wake-up call for me. Now I can just go out and run,” Conrad said. “This means a lot. I really wanted to win both of them again.”
Granite City sophomore Andrew O’Keefe won the 3,200 meters, while Collinsville freshman Jemarrion Stewart won the 100 meters (11.05 seconds) and teammate Trevore Sanders won the 200 meters (22.11 seconds).