WOOD RIVER – It's certifiable the Roxana High track programs came of age Monday. The Shells soared to the top of the board in Madison County small-schools competition.
They scored 78 points to win the Green Division boys’ team championship at East Alton-Wood River High’s Memorial Stadium and also tallied 65 points to share the girls’ title with Metro East Lutheran.
“I’m ecstatic,” Roxana coach Juli Akal said. “I’m so pumped for the kids. It’s been a long time since the kids have won the county meet.”
It marks the first time the Shells snared both Green Division crowns the same year. Curiously, the girls split the spoils with MELHS in 2000. Roxana’s boys hadn’t finished first since 1975.
Akal added, “It’s a great thing. We had a lot of good performances from the boys and girls. We were shooting for second place in the girls, so I’m thrilled with what we did.”
Freshman Jordan Hawkins was just as thrilled to be part of the Shells’ victory celebration.
“We were trying to win this for Coach Akal,” he said. “It’s awesome to win the team title.”
The 6-foot-3 Hawkins did his part by winning the shot with a throw of 42 feet, 1.5 inches and the discus with a toss if 136-2. “I’m coming along each meet and it’s big time to win twice in the county meet,” he said.
Teammate Joey Johnson, another freshman, finished first in the 110-meter high hurdles at 16.8 seconds and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles at 44.8. Jeddah Gallego won the 400-meters in 52.13 and ran the anchor leg on the 4x400-meter relay team, first in 3:39.3.
“Coming in as a freshman, it’s definitely surprising,” Johnson said of his two wins. “The team title means a lot because we haven’t won in quite a while.”
J.D. Thaxton of the Shells won the 80-meters in 2:10.0 and joined Jarod Foiles, Brady Lewis and Gallego on the 4x4 relay.
Breden Springman of host EA-WR prevailed in the 1,600-meters at 5:02.3 and the 3,200-meters in 10:50.1. “It was fantastic to get two wins,” he said. “I knew I had to go all-out in 3,200-meters.”
Eli McKinney of Civic Memorial took honors in the triple jump by going 38-4. The Eagles’ 4x800-meter relay team of Frank Trost, Patrick Kelly, Weihua Li and Brett Lane won its race in 9:12.1. And Jarrett Lacquement of CM was tops in the high jump at 5-6.
Madison (65 points) finished second to the Roxana guys. CM (63), EA-WR (51), Marquette Catholic (seven) and MELHS (four) rounded out the boys’ scoring. The Explorers brought six guys and one girl to the county competition.
“It’s my first year as head coach, so it’s a learning experience for me,” Explorers’ coach Richard Jones said. “But I enjoy it very much.”
Kryston Scifres and Cassie Vanzo enjoyed what they did for the Roxana girls’ team. Scifres won the 800-meters in 2:35.0 and the 1,600-meters in 5:49.7. Vanzo finished first in the 100-meter high hurdles in 18.3 and the 300-meter low hurdles in 56.6.
“I feel really good to win twice, though it’s more about (better) times than wins,” Vanzo said.
Scifres said, “My times weren’t my best, but it feels good to win both races. And it was great to win it as a team.”
In addition, Roxana’s 4x800-meter relay team of Mackinley Arnett, Shalyn Edwards, Jessica Baggett and Katrina Oldendorph won its race in 11:25.9.
Alex Singleton of CM finished first in the 3,200-meters at 12:45.5 and the Eagles’ Allie Troeckler outran the competition in the 400-meters at 1:04.6. Troeckler also teamed with Monica Baker, Amanda Sykes and Tahler Davis on the winning 4x4 relay team, best in 4:43.1. Davis also went 14-3 to win the long jump.
“It’s my second meet back after my injury and I’m excited to be back,” said Troeckler, who was sidelined with a pulled groin. “I think I’m almost 100 percent healed.”
The Oilers’ 4x100-meter relay team of Carissa Gilreth, Kyara Price, Kaylee Dailey and Haley Kerpan won its race in 55.4. Aurora Herbert paced co-champion Metro East Lutheran by winning the shot (33-6.5) and the discus (79-6). Teammate Javia Hardaway was first in the 100-meters (13.56) and the 200-meters (29.4).
“I’m really happy with our effort,” Knights’ coach Dave Redden said of the girls. “We brought only eight participants and two of them were throwers. We tried to get as many points out of all our slots and we did that.”
CM scored 46 points to take third in the girls’ action. EA-WR (28), Madison (24) and Marquette (5) completed the team scoring.
The Red Division, or large-schools competition, is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Collinsville. Alton, Edwardsville, Granite City, Triad, Highland and the host Kahoks are in the field.
MADISON COUNTY GREEN DIVISION MEET
Roxana 78, Madison 65, CM 63, EA-WR 51, Marquette 7, Metro East Lutheran 4
4x800-meter relay – CM, 9:12.1; 4x10-meter relay – Madison, 45.4; 3,200-meters – Springman, EA-WR, 10:50.1; 110-meter high hurdles – Johnson, Roxana, 16.8; 100-meters – McGill, Madison, 10.62; 800-meters – Thaxton, Roxana, 2:10.0; 4x200-meter relay – Madison, 1:34.0; 400-meters – Gallego, Roxana, 52.13; 300-meter intermediate hurdles – Johnson, Roxana, 44.8; 1,600-meters – Springman, EA-WR, 5:02.3;200-meters – McGill, Madison, 21.67; 4x400-meter relay – Roxana, 3:39.3; Long jump – Thomas, Madison, 18-11; Triple Jump – McKinney, CM, 38-4; High Jump – Lacquement, CM, 5-6; Shot – Hawkins, Roxana, 42-1.5; Discus – Hawkins, Roxana, 136-2;
Roxana 65, Metro East Lutheran 65, CM 46, EA-WR 28, Madison 24, Marquette 5
4x800-meter relay – Roxana, 11:25.9; 4x100-meter relay – EA-WR, 55.4; 3,200-meters – Singleton, CM, 12:45.4; 100-meter high hurdles – Vanzo, Roxana, 18.3; 100-meters – Hardaway, Metro East Lutheran, 13.56; 800-meters – Scifres, Roxana, 2:35.0; 4x200-meter relay – Metro East Lutheran, 2:08.0; 400-meters – Troeckler, CM, 1:04.6; 300-meter low hurdles – Vanzo, Roxana, 56.6; 16,00-meters – Scifres, Roxana, 5:49.7; 200-meters – Hardaway, Metro East Lutheran, 29.4; 4x400-meter relay – CM, 4:43.1; Long Jump – Davis, CM, 14-3; Triple Jump – Griffin, Madison, 31-11; High Jump – Redden, Metro East Lutheran, 4-0; Shot – Herbert, Metro East Lutheran, 33-6.5; Discus – Herbert, Metro East Lutheran, 79-6.