On the list of objectives for Edwardsville boys track coach Chad Lakatos heading into the Southwestern Conference meet on Thursday was the continued all around improvement of his track team, a dominant performance in the field events and a third straight title for both his varsity and junior varsity teams.
Put simply, Lakatos and the Tigers hit the jackpot at Granite City High School.
Junior AJ. Epenesa broke his own SWC record in the discus with a throw of 190 feet, 5 inches while senior Travis Anderson continued his comeback from early season injuries by winning the 110 and 300 meters as the Tigers scored a 19-point win over East St. Louis in a battle of Class 3A state powers.
Already with two of the top 10 discus throws in the nation this season, Epenesa broke his mark of just over 180 feet he set a year year ago, then came within an inch of tying the school mark of 57 feet, 3 inches in the shot put set by Vincent Valentine. Teammate Desmond Chappel was second in the shot put with an effort of 55 feet, 1 inch.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
The 1-2 finish gave the Edwardsville thinclads a fast start and with Anderson leading a strong Tigers effort on the track, the Tigers were well on their way to another SWC title.
“That’s something we really wanted to accomplish tonight. To be able to win the Souuthwestern Conference for a third straight year in both the varsity and junior varsity levels,” Lakatos said. “AJ and Travis won two events each and they were important but just as important were the kids who got fourth, fifth and sixth place medals inn their events. It was a team effort.”
Edwardsville finished with 164 points, while the Flyers, getting wins in the 400, 800 and 1,600 meters and from Deonte Anderson in the 400 meters and Roosevelt Jones in the 200 meters, were second with 145.
O’Fallon, behind the brilliance of junior Chris Conrad, was third with 96 points, while Belleville West (85 points) and Collinsville (59) rounded out the top five schools.
East St. Louis, which also got wins from Kenny Roberson in the long jump and Marlowe Mosley in the 100 meters, just couldn’t overcome the Tigers strength in the field events.
“We thought we were pretty even with them East St. Louis on the track but we thought we had a big advantage in the field events and we had to take advantage of that,” Lakatos said. “AJ just started spinning in circle on the shot put a couple of weeks ago and for him to come with an inch of the school record was a good effort. Assistant coach (Matt) Martin does a great jof coaching the kids in the throws. I thought Travis (Anderson) looked pretty dominant in the hurdles tonight.”
Anderson finished with times of 13.96 in the 110 hurdles and 38.2 in the 300 hurdles.
O’Fallon junior Chris Conrad scored a rare double by winning the 800 meters in 1 minute, 55.61 seconds then winning the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 28 seconds. Conrad’s wins came in a time period of less than 50 minutes and he needed to hold off the charge of Andrew O’Keefe to win the 1,600 meters.
“It was tough double but I’m glad I was able to prove to myself that I could do it,” Conrad said. “The times were good. I knew Andrew (O’Keefe) was behind me and that he has ba great kick. I didn’t know if I would have enough to be able to hold him off. I just had to go as hard as I could.”
Fifth place Collinsville got wins from Bailey Crone who went 6 feet, 5 inches to win the high jump and Daniel Brown who went 14 feet, 7 inches in the pole vault
Belleville East senior Amani Franklin took the triple jump with a leap of 46 feet, 6 1/2 inches while Belleville West junior Brian Gichuru took the 3,200 meters in 10 minutes, 00.18 seconds.
Granite City won the 3,200 meter relay while O’Fallon junior Nathan Rainge won the wheelchair 200 meter title.
Due to expected thunderstorms, the start of the Class 3A Rock Island Girls Track Sectional on Friday has been moved up two hours. The meet, which includes all eight Southwestern Conference schools, will begin at 2 p.m. at Rock Island High School. The meet was orginally scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.
Southwestern Conference Track Meet
at Granite City High School
1. Edwardsville 164, 2. East St. Louis 145, 3. O’Fallon 96, 4. Belleville West 85, 5. Collinsville 59, 6. Belleville Est 46.5, 7. Alton 45.5, 8. Granite City 40
High Jump - 1. Bailey Crone (Collinsville) 6-5, 2. Travis Anderson (Ed) 6-3
Pole Vault - 1. Daniel Brown (Collinsville) 14-7, 2. Austin Blakeslee (BW) 13-7
Triple Jump - 1. Amani Franklin (BE) 46-6 1/2, 2. TJ. Lambert (OFallon) 44-9
Long Jump - 1. Kenny Roberson (ESTL) 22-10, 2. Devonte Tincher (ED) 22-3
Discus - 1. AJ Epenesa (ED) 190-5, 2. Zack Llewelyn (Alton) 145-2
Shot Put - 1. AJ Epenesa (ED) 57-2, 2. Desmond Chappel (ED) 55-6
3200 Meter Relay - 1. Granite City 8:03, 2. East St. Louis 8:07
400 Relay - East St. Louis 41.3, 2. Edwardsville 41,7
110 Meter Hurdles - 1. Travis Anderson (ED) 13.9, 2. Raymon Williamson (Ofallon) 14.7
100 Meters - Marlowe Mosley (Estl) 10.7, 2. Tyler Wilson (Collinsville) 10.9
800 Meter Relay - 1. East St. Louis 1:26., 2. Belleville West 1:29
800 Meters - 1. Chris Conrad (Ofall) 1:55, 2. Sanchez Rhodes (Estl) 1:56
400 Meters - 1. Deante Anderson (ESTL) 50.22, 2. Carlos Wells (BW) 51.2
300 Meter Hurdles - 1. Travis Anderson (Edwards) 38.0, 2. Delano Anderson (ESTL) 38.3
1600 Meters - 1. Chris Conrad (OFall) 4:28. 2. Andrew O’Keefe (GC) 4:30
3200 Meters - 1. Brian Gichuru (BW) 10:00.18. 2. Will VonAllstine (OF) 10:00.7
200 Meters - 1. Roosevelt Davis (ESTL) 21,5, 2. Deshon Buchanan (Bw) 21.7
1600 Meter Relay 1. East St. Louis 3:16., 2. Belleville East 3:23.