For the first time in six years the Cahokia Comanches entered O’Brien Stadium on Saturday as underdogs in the eyes of many to win another Class 2A state title. They left Eastern Illinois University late Saturday afternoon with another state title and a whole lot of state medals.
Senior Tyran Lyons set the tone with memorable kick in the final 200 meters as Cahokia won the 3,200 meter relay and the Comanches took off from there as they ran their Class 2A state track title streak to six years in a row with a six-point win over Geneseo at O’Brien Stadium.
Lyons, who along with Chris McGee is part of a senior class at Cahokia which has won state championships each year since the seventh grade, took the lead with just over 200 meters remaining then outran his Geneseo opponent to the finishline to give the Comanches 10 points — and despite competing without injured star Ja’Mari Ward — a much needed boost of confidence.
Less than 15 minutes later, the Comanches took the 400 meter relay title and never trailed again.
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“We miss Ja’Mari competing with us because he’s our teammate and friend, but we wanted to come out and show people that we have aren’t a one-man team,” Lyons said. “We had worked six years and never lost a state championship. We weren’t going to start now in our last meet together. Six straight titles ... now that’s a true state champion.”
The Comanches also won the 1,600 relay, placed third in the 800 relay and got a pair of top four finishes from senior Anthony McRoberts in the long jump and triple jump as well as fifth place finishes from Lyons in the 400 and McKinley Bell in the shot put.
McRoberts, who placed second the triple jump and fourth in the long jump, also provided Cahokia coach Leroy Millsap with a few anxious moments when he failed to make the opening height of 6-feet-1-inch in the high jump. But with his talented team dominating in the relays, Millsap’s concerns proved to be short lived.
“I was a little worried for a couple of minutes. They were running the triple jump and high jump at the same time and that’s tough,’’ Millsap said. “But to his credit, Anthony came back and got us big points in the triple and long jump. People don’t realize what kind of athlete is because he’s been kind of overshadowed by Ja’Mari but he’s the type of kid who can score 20-25 points in the jumps at every meet. I also was pleased with McKinley Bell in the shot put. For him to 55 feet after not throwing over 52 all year, was big for us.
“I’m not surprised we won because I know theses kids and how hard they’ve worked all year. I think they felt like they had something to prove because nobody gave them much of a chance to win it without Ja’Mari. This is a special group of kids and the senior class ... classes like this one ... they don’t come around very often.”
Comanches to be honored
The Comanches boys and girls track teams will be honored with a parade and reception in Cahokia on Sunday. People will meet at the high school beginning at 11 a.m. followed by a parade around town at 1 p.m. A reception will follow at the high school.
The Comanches girls team won its third straight state title last week.
Nelson, Triad make history
Triad senior Adam Nelson became the Knights first male state track and field champion on Saturday when he won the Class 2A 100 meter dash.
Headed to the DePaul University, Nelson got out fast and nipped Aaron Harris is Lisle High School. Nelson finished with a time of 10.72 seconds.
“That was the key. I wanted to explode out of the starting blocks and just take it from there,” Nelson said. “When I crossed the finish line, I was the most unbelieveable feeling. Winning the state championship is something I’ve wanted since I started running at Triad four years ago. It’s a dream come true.”
Nelson was also on the Knights 400 meter relay team which placed fifth.
“That’s our four straight state medal in the 400 relay and the first time we’ve been in the top five,” Knights coach Brian Weiss said. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of Adam (Nelson). He is a tremendoud student athlete and very deserving of being Triad’s first male state champion in track.”
Waterloo senior Greysan Moehrs earned a medal in the Class 2A 110 hurdles for the second straight year when he placed sixth while the Bulldogs 1,600 relay team placed fifth.
Freeburg junior Drew Wilkerson placed fifth in the 800 meters, while Mascoutah’s Chris Ferguson-Scott and Highland senior Brode Portell both placed in the Class 2A 400 meters.
Portell was fourth while Ferguson-Scott was sixth.
In Class 1A, Althoff’s Jaylon Bester placed sixth in the triple jump, while the Crusaders placed eighth in the 400 meter relay. Nashville was sixth in the 3,200 meter relay and Wesclin senior Blake Laird was seventh in the pole vault.