The dominant track team in Southern Illinois throughout the 2015 season, the O’Fallon Panthers remained undefeated as they romped to the title on Friday at the Class 3A O’Fallon Girls Track and Field Sectional.
But it was Belleville East senior Miya Dorsey who stole the show.
On a rainy Friday night at O’Fallon High School, Dorsey won the 100- and 300-meter hurdles then ran a strong anchor leg to help the Lancers win the 1,600 relay to lead the way for local individuals
The start of the meet was delayed by thunderstorms for nearly three hours, but that didn’t seem to faze metro-east athletes who qualified for the Class 3A state track meet, which begins Friday at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
O’Fallon, which got a win from Samantha Tidwell in the 3,200, qualified 11 entries for state and finished with 109 points as it romped to the title.. Bloomington placed second with 56 points. Normal was third with 53.
One week after winning the Southwestern Conference title, the Panthers advanced to Charleston in all four relays and also got top three efforts from Tami Cardenas (800), Noelle Gilster (3,200), Mya Watson-Blake (high jump) and Angela Burch (1,600).
It was the kind of effort Panthers coach Neil James has seen many times this year. aND this time, with the pressure on, O’Fallon responded again.
“There were a couple of places where we could have done better, but as a coach how can I be disappointed when we advanced as many kids to state as we did tonight. And a lot of them were personal-bests,’’ James said. “We advanced in all four relays and for the most part we advanced athletes where we thought we would.
“I’m very pleased. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do at state next week.’’
Dorsey, who won the 100 hurdles in 15.07 seconds and the 300 hurdles in 43.21, knows what she can do after she put on some of the top individual performances of the night..
Coming from behind, she then helped the Lancers win the 1,600 relay, upsetting top-seeded O’Fallon along the way.
“I wanted to help my team win the 1,600 relay. I just gave it all I had in the end,” an out-of-breath Dorsey said following the 1,600 relay. “The hurdles, I knew there were some great runners in both events. ... I just did my best. I wanted to win both and I did.’’
East also qualified in the 400 and 800 relays while senior Sidne’ Williamson advanced in the 200 and Tamar Mosby earned a trip to state in the high jump.
It was also a special night for Belleville West senior Ni’Jia McNamee.
Injured nearly all season, McNamee won the 400 in 57.78 and also took home second place in the 200.
“It was good. Very good,’’McNamee said. “My goal next week is to make the finals.”
West also moved on in the 400 meter relay.
East St. Louis got a championship effort from Aaliyah Herron in the shot put (42-feet, 1/4-inch), while Granite City was led by Katherine Jakich, who placed second in the shot put.
Contact reporter Dean Criddle at email@example.com or 618-239-2661.