Collinsville sophomore Jermarrion Stewart continued to stake his claim as one of the top sprinters in the state by winning the 100 and 200 meters as he led the way for local athletes at the Belleville West/Norm Armstrong Track and Field Invitational.
Stewart, who placed fifth at the Class 3A state finals a year ago in the 400 meters, was just one of several of the athletes who took advantage of the warm, windy conditions to post their best times of the season.
But the Kahoks sprinter did even better than that. After winning the 100 meters with a time of 10.89 seconds, Stewart broke away from Triad junior Johnnie Caswell in the final 100 meters to post a time of 21.60 in the 200 meters. That time was a personal best for Stewart and tied the school record he now shares with Kennedy Mayweather.
Because of poor weather conditions, the invitational was moved from Saturday to Wednesday with 18 of the more than 30 original teams able to attend the weekday meet.
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Pushed by Caswell and several other top sprinters in the state, Stewart was in top form.
"It was a good day, and I'm happy with how I ran and my times,'' a still-out-of-breath Stewart said after the 200-meter final. "Coming out of the turn, I felt good and just kind of went for it.
"In the 100, I didn't get out of the blocks that well, but I was able to win. I'm pleased with where I am in terms of my training.''
One of two athletes along with Quincy junior Jordan Johnson — winner of the shot put and discus — to win twice in the meet, Stewart has to share the spotlight with both the Minooka Indians and runner-up Edwardsville Tigers teams.
Traveling more than 200 miles to compete, Minooka used its overall depth to finish with 120 points to edge the defending Class 3A state champion Edwardsville squad. The Tigers finished with 90 1/2 points. East St. Louis (81 1/2), O'Fallon (69) and Cahokia (54) rounded out the top five teams.
Always one of the top regular season meets of the year, the invitational is a favorite of Minooka coach Nick Lundin and the Indians.
"It was windy today, but compared to the weather we've been competing in, this is great. I'll take 70 degrees with a little wind any day,'' Lundin said.
"We've always got pretty good depth, but today it seemed like we had a lot of events where we had two kids place. That was the difference."
Edwardsville coach Chad Lakatos was also pleased by what he saw from his young squad. Senior Franky Romano was the Tigers' lone champion, winning the 800 meters in 2:00.17. But like Minooka, the Tigers relied on their depth to get the job done.
"Sure, we would have liked to had won today, but that's not the objective," Lakatos said. "The goal is to get everybody healthy and ready for the big meets in May.''
Several other local athletes won titles Wednesday..
Freeburg junior Zach Pluff won the high jump with an effort of 6 feet, 3 inches, while O'Fallon got wins from Quan Cobb in the long jump (21 feet, 10 1/2 inches) and Hayden Ybarra in the 3,200 meters (9:59.85).
The East St. Louis Flyers wins came from Raymond Mix in the triple jump (45 feet, 11 inches) and Willie Johnson in the 400 meters (48.80). The Flyers also won the 800- and 1,600-meter relays.
Mascoutah won the 3,200-meter relay.