Big hits, kicks and jumps
The East St. Louis Flyers are back and dominating at the Class 2A Boys State Tack Meet.
Nationally-ranked Flyers junior Willie Johnson and teammate Marcus Lampley posted the two fastest times of the day in the 400 meter preliminaries to lead the way for East St. Louis which advanced 13 entries into the finals with a rare display of talent and speed Friday at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
Showing the form which has made him one of the elite 400 athletes in the nation the past two years, Johnson won his heat in 48.47 second, while Lampley won his heat in 48.97 seconds. The Flyers duo were the only runners to break 49 seconds on a warm, windy Friday morning at Eastern Illinois University.
Johnson and Lampley also are in the finals in the 200 meters and will join teammate Jamariantte Burgess (110 and 300 meter hurdles) as East St. Louis individual athletes who will compete in two open events.
The Flyers also posted top three times in the 400, 800 and 1,600 meter relays and advanced all-state basketball player Terrence Hargrove into the finals of the high jump. The St. Louis University recruit eased into the finals with a leap of 6 feet 3 inches.
In all 31 Class 2A metro-east area entries earned trips to the finals on Friday. The medal round in all three classes is set for Saturday beginning at 10 a.m.
While Burgess, Lampley and Johnson led the way for East St. Louis, several other metro east area schools and individuals also posted impressive performances.
Columbia junior Ronnie Hunsaker is currently fifth in the long jump after leaping 21 feet 8 inches. Hunsaker is also in the finals of the triple jump.
The best metro east athlete in the pole vault for the past two years, Triad senior Jaden Elliott advanced with a leap of 13 feet 3 inches.
Mascoutah junior Devin Wills is in the finals of the 100 and 200 meters, while Matt Wilson (shot put) and the Indians 400 and 800 meter relay teams also moved on. Freeburg senior Zach Pluff moved into the finals in the high jump, while Cahokia junior Steve Harris advanced in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles.
Waterloo’s Jackson McAlister and Eli Ward are in the finals of the 800 meters.
The Class 3A preliminaries had not been completed at press time.