Big hits, kicks and jumps
In a battle of two of the top girls track and field teams in the state, it was the Belleville West Maroons who came out on top on a rainy Wednesday afternoon in East St. Louis.
University of Nebraska recruit LaQwasia Stepney won the long jump and 100-meter hurdles, and the Maroons got clutch wins from Jessica Coughlin and Britney Mosby as they edged East St. Louis for the team title at the St. Clair County Girls Track and Field Meet.
The defending Class 3A state champion in the long jump, Stepney had a winning leap of 18 feet, 7 3/4 inches on Wednesday to lead the way for the Maroons.
Belleville West, which placed third in the Class 3A state finals a year ago, finished with 183 points at Clyde Jordan Stadium, eight more than the host East St. Louis Flyerettes (175).
East St. Louis placed second in the Class 2A state finals a year ago.
Stepney also won the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.2 seconds, while Coughlin won the 400 meters in 57.9 seconds. Both Stepney and Coughlin were members of the Maroons’ winning 400-meter relay team.
Walker rounded out the Maroons’ champions with a winning jump of 36-2 1/2 in the triple jump.
East St. Louis’ second-place effort was led by Kaila Poole, who won both the shot put (37-6) and the discus (116-6).
Other Flyerettes winning county titles were Shonjahnea Griggs in the 800 meters (2:25.2), Veronica Sherrod in the 300-meter hurdles (44.3) and Markia Lampley in the 200 meters (26.0).
East St. Louis also won the 800- and 1,600-meter relays.
Belleville East (116 points), O’Fallon (111) and Mascoutah (65) rounded out the top five teams.
Belleville East was led by championship efforts by Laila Graham in the high jump (5-2) Sunnie Collins in the 100 meters (12.4) and Hannah Eastman in the 1,600 meters (5:22). The Lancers also won the 3,200-meter relay.
O’Fallon’s Kaitlyn Walker won the 3,200 meters in 11:53, while Mascoutah freshman Olivia Lee won the pole vault with an effort of 9-6.