Illinois Top Times: Carlinville wins team championship behind Denby 15-6 vault win
By Michael Newman
Bloomington, Ill --- It was a week ago at the Gene Armer Invitational where Adam Coulon (Tri Valley HS, Downs) had set the national freshman record in the Pole Vault. On the same day, Jack Denby (Carlinville HS, Carlinville) won clearing 14-6. The two met on Friday. On this day it was easier for these tow to compete against each other as they have trained with each other for the last four years in the flying Dragons Pole Vault Club in Bloomington.
Both cleared 15-0 and went to 15-6 tied with the same amount of misses. When they missed at 15-6, it was time for a jump off with the first athlete to clear 15-6 would win the event. Denby on his first attempt cleared putting the pressure on Coulon. His approach was good but the plant had him veering to the right. “We’re just best friends. It’s not a competition. We are just trying to get PR’s every meet,” Coulon said. “I’ve been having a problem (with the veering). I’m trying to fix that up. At Gene Armer, everything went just right.”
Denby’s winning vault was accomplished on a new pole that he had never used before. “I finally figured what was going wrong. I really wasn’t hitting the box,” he said. “It felt great. I have been working on it for a while and I finally hit it.”
Denby had Carlinville’s only win. They still had enough to win the team competition by two points over Champaign St. Thomas More.
The Sabers had two race wins to boost them to that second place standing. In the 4 x 800 Meter Relay, a strong third leg by Jacob Helfrich broke open a close race a gave the quartet the win by thirteen seconds (8:07.02) over St. Joseph-Ogden.
Their other win came in the 1600 Meter Run, which was the wildest race of the night. After a slow 35 second first 200, Jesse Hahne (Schlarman HS, Danville) started to push the pace clicking off 34 seconds laps. With a little over 300 hundred meters to go, Connor Ehnle (Tremont HS, Tremont) passed Hahne in an effort to take command of the race. The gap between Ehnle and Nick Hess (St. Thomas More, Champaign) grew as they started the bell lap. It looked like Ehnle was on his way to victory on the back stretch as his lead continued to grow.
In the middle of the final turn, Hess started gaining on Ehnle. Down the final straightaway, it did not look like it was possible for Hess to catch him, but Ehnle started to struggle. In the last 10 meters, Hess came on Ehnle’s right shoulder. Sensing this, the Tremont runner started moving to the outside heading towards Lane 4. Both dove for the finish line.
The officials conferred about what had just happened. They had determined that Ehnle had interfered with Hess. The St. Thomas More runner was awarded the win.
“I did not think I was going to get him,” Hess said.” He started to tighten up a little bit and I started inching closer and closer. I thought I was running out of time, running out of room.”
In the other distance race early in the evening, Hahne took command of the 3200 Meter Run in the first 200 hundred meters. He went on for a convincing seventeen second win over Luke Hill (Marquette Academy HS, Ottawa). “The main concern was to win the race today,” said Hahne. “Today was about consistency. Coach and I had talked about hitting 35’s per lap. I maintained it for the first mile. The third part of the race I fell apart. I still have time to work on that.”
Blake Hale (Robinson HS, Robinson) had the fastest seed time heading in the 800. He wanted to try to run better than he did last week at Charleston. “When we went by the 200 in 29, I knew that was not going to happen,” Hale said. He had control of the race throughout and went on for an easy two second win (1”59.15) over Tanner Osing (Havana HS, Havana).
The only double winner on this day was Joe Morrow (Hales Franciscan HS, Chicago). It was more of a redemption of how he raced last Sunday at the Chicago Catholic League Championships. In the 60 Meter Hurdles, his CCL rival Marlon Britton (Leo Catholic HS, Chicago) clipped over the fourth and fifth hurdle which Morrow took advantage of. He went on for the win (8.24) over Payton Holmes (Mercer County HS, Aledo) and Britton.
In the 200 Meter Dash, Morrow ran more aggressively down the back straight. He was able to hold off Brent Albertson (Flanagan-Cornell HS, Flanagan) to win by seven hundredths of a second (22.73-22.80). “My coach told me to get off to a good start and keep my speed all the way around,” Morrow said. “He said I would win if I did that… I did.”
Kyle Landon (Chester HS, Chester) was looking for another big weekend after clearing 7-0 last week at Charleston. Landon was moving back and forth between the Long Jump and the High Jump. He took his first attempts in the Long Jump. His third round jump was 21-3 which his foot was about 9 inches behind the board. His coach whispered that the effort was past 22 if he hit the board.
He let the competition play out in the High Jump until he got to 6-4. All that was left was Matt Utterback (Pleasant Plains HS, Pleasant Plains) and Landon. On his first attempt of the competition, Landon cleared by about 6 inches. A sign of good things to come. Utterback failed on all three attempts at 6-4 giving Landon the win. The competition, however, had just begun.
The bar was raised to 6-6 where he cleared on the first attempt. The same result at 6-9 where he cleared with a little room to spare. The bar was raised to the meet record 6-11 ¼. He missed on his first two attempts and seemed to tense up. His coach yelled at him, “Have some fun!” He seemed to be looser on the final attempt but just brushed the bar. His night was over in this event. He then moved back over to the Long Jump to complete his final three jumps. On his final jump he jumped a seasonal best of 21-8 to capture second behind event winner Devin Johnson (Erie-Prophetstown HS, Erie) who jumped 21-9 ¾ in the fourth round.
In his second meet of the year, Ryan Pearce (Villa Grove HS, Villa Grove) has been making up for lost time while watching fellow competitors in different classes in the Shot Put. He improved on his seasonal best by almost two feet in winning the event (56-6).