The Class 3A defending state champion Edwardsville Tigers made their presence felt on Friday during the preliminary round of the state meet.
EHS' Travis Anderson has the top times in the 110-meter high hurdles (13.59) and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (38.19). A.J. Epenesa owns the best 3A throw in the discus at 205 feet, 11 inches.
Epenesa's heave is the second longest in IHSA history, but the furthest at the state meet. Lake Park's Dan Block owns the all-time best at 208-11, but he did that at sectionals. Block threw 205-8 in the '09 state finals. Epenesa and Block are the only two throwers in state history to surpass the 200-foot plateau.
Altogether the Tigers will have seven entries in six events on Saturday at state.
Anderson is in three, both hurdles as well as running a leg of the qualifying 4x100-meter relay team. He's joined by Seth Jacobs, DeVonte' Tincher and Tommy Giacobbe on the relay team. They qualified with a time of 41.98 seconds on Friday. That's the sixth best time in the field.
Tincher also made it in the long jump with a leap of 21-9.75. That's good for 12th in the sate final pool entering Saturday.
Epenesa not only made it in the discus, but also the shot put. His throw of 60-4.5 is second entering Saturday. Teammate Desmond Chapple joins him in the shot with a qualifying toss of 55-5.75, good for 12th in the field.
Unfortunately, Edwardsville's 4x200-meter relay team and high jumper Justin White didn't advance through the prelims, seeing their seasons end on Friday.
Granite City will be represented in the 4x800-meter relay. The Warriors' quartet of Will O'Keefe, Ron Allen, Andrew O'Keefe and Juwan Riggins advanced with a time of 7:53.81. It's the 10th best time in Saturday's field.
Will O'Keefe missed the cut in the 800-meter run as did brother Andrew in the 1,600-meter run.
Roxana has a qualifier in the 2A field. Sophomore Jordan Hawkins had the fourth best throw in the discus, going 164-02.
Hawkins is looking to be the first Shells' boys' trackster to bring home a medal since 2014 when Matt Hartnett was fifth in the triple jump. Erik Scott owns the only state title in Roxana's history in the 300 hurdles at the '93 Class A state meet.
Alton's lone entry, Zachary Llewellyn saw his state experience conclude on Friday. Llewellyn competed in both the shot put and the discus on Friday, but came up short in both.
The state finals will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Eastern Illinois' O'Brien Stadium in Charleston.