O'Fallon freshman Roderick Williams won the long jump with a personal-best 21 feet, 7 inches, while teammates Braden Johnson and Nathan Vasquez took home titles in the shot put and discus, respectively, Tuesday as the Panthers won the St. Clair County boys track meet.
Competing at Belleville West High School, the Panthers also used wins by Garrett Blenkush in the 800-meter and Lucas Capistrant in the 3,200-meter to help them finish with 140 points, two more than East St. Louis' 138. Mascoutah finished a distant third with 112 2/3 points.
The win is the second of the season for O'Fallon and first-year coach Joe Speaks. But competing and winning against perennial state title contenders East St. Louis, Cahokia and Belleville West — and doing it when they experimented with different combinations in the relay events — took on special meaning for Speaks and his team.
"We were able to win some events, and then we had a whole bunch of kids who placed anywhere from second through sixth place. We won by two points. Every point counted today," Speaks said. "It was a great effort by our kids. They have a lot of heart, and today it showed."
"For high school kids, it's all about being positive and positive reinforcement. To be able to come out here in a meet in which you have East St. Louis, Cahokia and Belleville West, and come out on top, it's big. These kids deserve it. They've worked hard."
Second-place East St. Louis was led by senior Raymond Mix, who won the triple jump with a leap of 45-4 1/2, and Deante Anderson, who nipped teammate Willie Johnson in the 400-meter.
Two of the top Class 3A 400-meter runners in the state, Anderson finished in a time of 48.76 seconds, and Johnson had a time of 48.81. Also winning for the Flyers were their 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams.
Mascoutah won both the 400- and 3,200-meter relays and received a win from Eddie Wilson, who won the 100 meters in 11.13 seconds.
The lone double-winner was Cahokia sophomore Stephen Harris, who won the 300 hurdles (39.63 seconds) and the 110-meter hurdles (14.98). Comanches junior Darreon West won the 200-meter title in 22.42 seconds.
Another standout on the night was Freeburg senior Charlie Parrish. One of the favorites to compete for the Class 2A 3,200-meter state title after winning the indoor state crown in Bloomington last month, Parrish has competed in national caliber meets all over the country in the past few weeks.
The Kansas State University recruit ran in his first ever 5K steeplechase event at the Texas Relays, ran a career-best time of 9:17 in the 3,200-meter at a meet in Arcadia, California. Then, last week at a meet in the Chicago area, Parrish ran a time of 9:16 in the 3,200.
The goals for Parrish are to win the 3,200-meter state crown in Charleston and to break the Class 2A state mark of 9:08. Not challenged on Tuesday, Parrish finished with a time of 9:25.
"Winning the state indoor championship was a breakthrough time for me. I feel truly blessed," Parrish said Tuesday. "It's been a great experience, although the race in Chicago last week wasn't my best. The pace was really fast."
Freeburg junior Zach Pluff won the high jump with a leap of 6-4. Belleville East sophomore Trison Paul won the pole vault with an effort of 12-0.