Cahokia sweeps relays, jumps for ITT title; Boey doubles 6.79 / 22.18
By Michael Newman
Bloomington, Ill --- Cahokia stated their case as defending state champs. We are still champs until somebody beats us one of the members of the team stated after receiving their team championship. The Comanches won both Long and Triple Jumps along with all three relays to capture the team title in the Illinois Top Times Championships by scoring 95 points and win by a whopping 41 points over host Bloomington.
The foundation of the Cahokia wins started on the south side of the Shirk Center in the Long Jump. Teammates Chris Moore and Ja’Mari Ward set themselves apart from the rest of the field early in the event by jumping almost one foot farther than everyone else. In the fourth round, Moore hit the board dead perfectly in jumping 23-2 ¼ to take command of the lead. It did not look good for the freshman Ward. In his first four jumps, Ward was close to a foot behind the board and making jumps in the mid 22’s. With that trend going on, Moore passed on the final two jumps getting himself ready for the Triple Jump.
On his final jump, Ward hit the board. As he landed, sand flew high in the air like Old’ Faithful. His jump was measured at 23-4 ½ giving him the event win. It was a lifetime PR for him. “I was just trying to out jump my teammate. He had jumped farther than me,” Ward said. “It gave me incentive that he passed on the final two jumps. I had to go and get him.”
The circumstances changed in the Triple Jump. Moore, the senior and more established in this event, jumped 46-11 for the win by close to one foot. Cahokia swept the top three spots with Ward finishing second (46-0) and Jalon Monigan grabbing the third spot (45-1 ¼).
Their supremacy continued in the relay events even though it did not look like it in the 4 x 800 Meter Relay. After the first exchange, Cahokia was back in fifth place almost three seconds behind leader Pontiac. The Comanches started to make it closer. By the time they got the baton to anchor Darren Payton, Cahokia was in second and four seconds behind Pontiac. It was evident in the first 200 that Payton was going to catch Pontiac’s Shawn Milhauser as Payton was within one second of him. Payton went on to record a roaring 1:56.1 anchor to give his team a TEN second win over Illiana Christian and Pontiac. The team of Marlin Brady, Jalon Monigan, Mike Monigan, and Payton look tough to beat in this event heading outdoors.
“I was thinking to myself that this was my last time to run on this track. I had to go out with a bang,” an exhausted Payton said afterwards. “I tell our third runner every race to keep us close and bring it to me. I’ll finish the race.”
Payton had only twenty-five minutes to recover from that effort before he had to be back on the line for the 800 Meter Run. Payton did lead as he took the pack through the first 400 in 59, but you could tell that the short rest was taking effect on him. Zac Justus (Pontiac HS, Pontiac) took the lead. Justus had also run in the relay in which he ran a 2:00.9 split but had a little more rest. Justus took the lead in the last 200 from David Emmert (Sycamore HS, Sycamore) to win by a second (1:59.67) over Matthew Meyers (Aurora Central Catholic HS, Aurora). The funny thing is that Justus has only been out for track for almost two and half weeks after playing on his school’s basketball team.
“It felt great when I passed Emmert on the final curve. I was feeling it,” Justus said. “Right now, I am still in basketball shape. I am not in any means the shape I was in during cross country.”
It was looked upon that it would be a battle between Cahokia and East St. Louis-Senior for Metro St. Louis area supremacy. That never materialized.
The final section of the 4 x 200 Meter Relay became a battle between Cahokia and Bloomington as the Flyers second runner seemed to pull up and slow down as they made the second exchange losing ground. The Comanches held on to nip the Purple Raiders by eight hundredths of a second (1:31.33-1:33.41).
Cahokia feels that the 4 x 400 Meter relay is THEIR event. They did not let go of the championship as they rolled to a three second win over Kaneland and Chicago Brooks.
Jonathan Boey (MacArthur HS, Decatur) is a humble sprinter giving credit to his competitors before praising himself. He did have a little chip on his shoulder after he was defeated last week by Pekin’s Cole Henderson at Charleston. The look in his eyes as he entered the blocks showed that he would not let that happen again.
Boey had the fastest time in the prelims (6.86) by a quarter of a second. In the sprints, that is a light year. In the finals, it was the same story as he roared out of the blocks to the same margin of victory over Trey Story (Cahokia HS, Cahokia). His time of 6.79 is the eighth fastest this indoor season in the United States.
Boey had a little more pressure in the 200 but he still had control of the race as he rounded the turn. Despite the fact that he could hear the footsteps of DeShaun Jordan (North Lawndale Prep, Chicago), Boey won by the same margin that he did in the 60 (22.18 winning time).
“Everything came together today,” said Boey. “It was a great incentive after everything that happened last week.”
The best track race in the Boys race was the 1600 Meter Run. It did not look that way at the start when none of the runners wanted to take the lead. They slumbered through the first 400 in 67 seconds. Marc Maton (Glenwood HS, Chatham) was boxed during the first two laps and was able to release himself after they passed the 400.
“When we went by the 400, I was thinking gees. This is not even close to where we need to be,” said Maton. “I just turned it on.”
He turned it on in a big way going by the 800 in 2:10.9 with only Riley McInerney (Charleston HS, Charleston) and Simon Thorpe (Dixon HS, Dixon) being able to stay with the up tempo pace. Maton extended the lead to two seconds as McInerney and Thorpe were beginning to struggle. Think about it. After a cake walk of a 67 first two laps, Maton covered the next 800 in a blistering 2:07.3. The problem was, McInerney was still lurking and 400 meters was left to be run.
McInerney was close to 3 seconds behind Maton as they began the final two laps. He found a way to catch up to his Glenwood competitor. He was only a second and a half behind with 200 and had the momentum. With 75 meters to go in the middle of the final curve, Maton ran out of steam. The middle 800 had taken its toll. Maton nothing left. McInerney stormed home with a 61 second last 400 running 4:18.48 for a PR and the win. It was Maton that made that race and McInerney knew that.
“Marc had a great lead on me and he did fantastic work. For most of the race, he mentally and physically beat me,” McInerney said. “I have a lot of faith in my kick. My main goal was to get my school record. Mainly I looked at Marc and I knew I did not want it to end like that. I just gave it whatever I had left and lucky enough to go and get him.”
“I got to 1200 and I was still feeling good. 200 meters later, my legs were starting to tighten up. He got me with 75 meters to go and there was nothing that I could do,” Maton said. The Glenwood senior finished in 4:20.59.
Perhaps the most surprising race of the day was the 400 Meter Dash. Jeremiah Watson (Urban Prep, Chicago) had only run one 400 and that was back in January. While all eyes were on defending state champion Marlin Brady (Cahokia HS, Cahokia), it was Watson that took command. He won the race in 50.19 ahead of then IL#1 400 man Leroy Chapman (Antioch HS, Antioch). Watson’s time is the fifth fastest in the state.
“My strategy was to sprint the first 100 with my stride and with the last 200 go all out,” he said. “I could feel then coming on me but I kept pushing forward.”
Patrick Yerkes (Fenwick HS, Oak Park) hung back in the pack in the 3200 Meter Run as Bloomington’s Sam Doud pushed the pace. Yerkes took the lead with 400 to go and cruised to a 9:35.39 PR win by two and a half seconds over Josh Rodenberg (Waterloo HS, Waterloo). “He wanted to take the pace and I let him for 2800 Meters,” Yerkes said. “I was thinking of going with 800 to go. I had a real bad last 400 at conference. But I came back in the mile. That’s what gave me confidence today.”
The track’s other winner was Marcus Greer (ESL-Senior, East St. Louis) in the 60 Meter High Hurdles. “I went real fast over the hurdles,” said Greer.
In the field events, the big surprise came in the Shot Put. Michael Hyc (St. Laurence HS, Burbank) had an indoor best of 54-8 before this meet. He improved by close to three feet (57-5) to win the event. Brendan Duncan (Waterloo HS, Waterloo) who had gone 59-6 ¼ earlier in the month had to settle for second on Saturday.
In both the High Jump and the Pole Vault, things went to form. Alex King (Massac County, Metropolis) was the class of the field in the High Jump as he went on to win the event clearing a season tying best of 6-10. For Tyler Ginger (Olympia HS, Stanford), he controlled the Pole Vault. He won easily clearing 15-0. “I have to go over to the Cogdill Relays (at Illinois State where his team was competing) and run in the 4 x 400 meter relay for my team,” Ginger said. “I am more nervous about that then I was about the Pole Vault today.”