High School Sports

Sprinters, relay teams lead East St. Louis to Class 3A Collinsville Sectional title

Edwardsville junior Travis Anderson had pair of impressive wins in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and teammate AJ Epenesa continued to dominate in the discus on Friday at the Class 3A Collinsville Track and Field Sectional.

But Anderson and Epenesa couldn’t slow down the East St. Louis Flyers.

Displaying its depth and raw speed in the sprints and relays, East St. Louis won the 400, 800 and 1,600 meter relays while Deonte Anderson was second in the 400 meters and Roosevelt David placed second in the 200 meters to lead the Flyers to the team title at Collinsville High School.

Kenny Roberson added a second-place finish for East St. Louis in the long jump, but led by a sparkling time of 1 minute, 27.01 seconds in the 800-meter relay, East St. Louis was able to defeat defending Class 3A state champion Edwardsville for the championship.

Delano Anderson added a second-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles for the Flyers whose individuals will lead a strong group of thinclads into the Class 3A state track and field meet on May 27-28 at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.

East St. Louis finished the day with 93 points, while Edwardsville had 71.

Anderson, Epenesa pace Edwardsville

The most dominant athlete in the nation in the discus, Epenesa had a throw of 196 feet, 9 inches to win the event and broke Vincent Valentine’s school mark in the shot put with a throw of 58 feet 3 inches to finish second.

But the University of Iowa recruit may have taken a back seat to Anderson who set to personal records of 13.90 seconds in the 100 and 38.01 seconds in the 300 meter hurdles to lead the the way for the Tigers.

“I’m blessed. I’m truly blessed,” Anderson said. “To be able to set two personal records on a night like this, I’m very happy. I’m extremely happy with my times. My goals are to win both next week at state. I want to stay right in the high 13’s in the 100 hurdles and right around 38 seconds in the 300 hurdles. The colleges like that.”

Edwardsville’s other top two finish came in the 400-meter relay.

Conrad continues to surprise

O’Fallon junior Chris Conrad continues to benefit from a year of training of track and field as he won the 800 meters with a time of 1 minute, 51.99 seconds.

Conrad, who has split time in both track and field and soccer in recent years, made track his top priority in the past year and has quickly become one of the premier 800 runners in the state.

That fact was evident when he outkicked Heath Warren, of Springfield, and Will O’Keefe, of Granite City, to the finish line.

“I felt good today and I had a lot left coming down into the final 150 meters,” Conrad said. my goal is to win the state title next week. I’m thinking a time of 1:50 should have a chance.”

O’Fallon senior Aaron Smith won the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 7 inches, while junior Nathan Rainge won the wheelchair 100, 200 and 400 meter titles.

Belleville West leads the rest

In what was supposed to be a down year, Belleville West coach Patton Segraves’ team had one of its finest performances on Friday at Collinsville.

Getting a vault of 13 feet, 7 inches from Austin Blakesles in the pole vault, West will be represented at the state finals in 10 events. Blakeslee’s second place finish was the highest of any Maroons qualifier.

Granite City got a win from its 3,200 meter relay team and Andrew O’Keefe in the 1,600 meters, while Collinsville was led by a victory from Daniel Brown in the pole vault (14 feet, 1 inch) and a second-place finish from Bailey Crone in the high jump.

Belleville East got a win from Amani Franklin in the triple jump (47 feet, 1 1/4 inch) and a second-place finish from William Session in the 110 meter hurdles. Session is the defending state champion in the 110-meter hurdles.

Session placed third in the 300-meter hurdles but had to start the race twice to do it. In his heat, Session was forced to stop before getting to the first hurdle when he noticed the hurdle was not where it was supposed to be.

After appealing to the rules committee, Session was granted a second chance but had to run the race alone. His time of 38.79 seconds placed him third but well within the time required to qualify for the state finals.

At the Class 2A Springfield Lanphier Sectional

Highland junior Tyler Higgins won three individual championships to lead the way as Highland placed second in the Springfield Lanphier Sectional on Friday at Lanphier HIgh School.

Higgins won the 100 meters in a time 11.14 seconds, the 200 meters in 22.46 seconds in the 400 meetrs in a time of 49.33 seconds. Higgins is the defending state champion in the 400 meters.

Highland also advanced Brode Portell in the 400 meters and Jacob Plocher in the 3,200 meters.

Results of the Class 2A Carterville Sectional had not been posted at press time.

Dean Criddle: 618-239-2661, @CriddleDean