High School Sports

Officials discuss fate of East St. Louis track meet after spectator brawl


After a fight broke out in East St. Louis, officials met Wednesday to discuss the fate of the Southwestern Conference track meet.

The fight on Tuesday night broke out just as the first track event had finished. Spectators began fighting in the stands and several East St. Louis athletes began fighting as well, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Southwestern Conference Commissioner Bill Schmidt said administrative officials and athletic directors from the eight SWC schools were meeting among themselves Wednesday. A meeting of the athletic directors will be held Thursday to discuss if and when the meet will be resumed.

"There will be no decision made today (Wednesday),'' Schmidt said. "We will meet as a conference on Thursday to discuss what exactly happened and if the meet will be resumed or canceled.''

The East St. Louis School District also released a statement saying they "had no warning of any potential unrest at the track meet" and are "conducting a full investigation into the altercation."

"We strive to ensure that all of our students, staff and patrons are safe and secure on our premises," the statement read. "We regret that the incident occurred and that the athletes were unable to compete that evening. At this time, we do not know whether or not the Southwest Conference track meet will be rescheduled."

Schmidt said that for safety reasons, the decision to suspend the meet was the correct one.

"First and foremost was the safety of the fans, parents and athletes who were on hand to watch the SWC boys track meet at East St. Louis High School,'' Schmidt said. "When the altercation broke out in the stands, the officials took into account what was happening and made the correct decision to suspend the meet."

The fight escalated, and several security officers and school administrators stepped in to stop the altercation, the Post-Dispatch reported.

East St. Louis District Athletic Director Darren Sunkett did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Dean Cirddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean ‏
Kaley Johnson: 618-239-2526, @KaleyJohnson6