GODFREY — LaJarvia Brown and Katie Mans made sure the 20th annual Alton Girls’ Track Invitational — the first major event on the new AHS track — had their imprints on it.
Brown won three events, two of them records. Mans provided a record-setting victory in the 10-school event. Alton scored 105 points to finish fifth.
O’Fallon snared the championship by scoring 155.5 points. East St. Louis placed second with 137.5 points and Cahokia came in third with 124 points. Edwardsville nabbed fourth with 110 points and Granite City was seventh with 27 points. Triad (67 points), Hazelwood Central (22 points), Carrollton (9 points) and Madison (9 points) rounded out the team scoring.
If not for a balky hurdle in the 300-meter lows, Brown likely would have registered four wins in as many events. She won the 100-meter high hurdles in 14.2 seconds, the long jump with a meet-record leap of 19 feet, 1.5 inches and the triple jump with a meet mark of 40-7.
“It was still a pretty good day for me,” said the 5-foot-3, 120-pound Brown, a senior bound for Texas A&M. She held previous meet records in both the long and triple jumps.
What tripped her up in the 300 lows was a hurdle she hit about halfway through the race. Brown tumbled to the track, then recovered and still managed to finish sixth with a time of 50.05. Fortunately, she wasn’t injured.
“That’s the first time it’s happened to her,” AHS coach Terry Mitchell said of Brown clipping a hurdle and getting derailed. “But she handled it well in getting up and finishing the race. I’m sure she will use that as an inspiration when she’s competing next week.”
Brown noted, “My steps were off and I hit the hurdle with the wrong leg. I’m fine. I’ll get it back next week.”
Mans, a sophomore, leaped 5-7 in the high jump to win and eclipse her previous school record of 5-6. The Alton Invite record also was 5-6.
“I have no idea what the difference was today,” Mans said. “I felt like I was in a hole until last week. Then something clicked. And it was good to get the school record here. It’s the highlight of my career so far.”
The Redbirds ran second to Edwardsville in the 800 sprint medley and the frosh-soph 4x400-meter relay. AHS teammates Chayvon Buckingham and Jewel Wagner finished third and fourth, respectively, in the shot. Buckingham, a senior, likes the new facility.
“It’s better than West,” she said of Jim Wigger Track at Public School Stadium. “I love competing here and you don’t have to travel to West every day. You can just walk up the hill here to practice and compete.”
Relay teams spurred Edwardsville. The Tigers’ sprint medley team, anchored by Lori Cashdollar, finished first in 1:49.8. They also won the frosh-soph 4x400-meter relay in 4:19.80.
Colleen Corkery was runner-up in the 3,200-meters and Gabriella Romano placed second in the pole vault. Cashdollar ran second to Cahokia’s Mariya Hudson in the 400-meters at 59.3 seconds.
Hudson won that race in 55.75, plus the 100-meters in 12.18 and the 200-meters in 24.57. Her 200 and 400 times were meet records.
“Overall, it was a great day,” Edwardsville coach MiKayla Thompkins said. “I was pleased with it. Cashdollar may not have run her fastest times overall, but she had a stellar day.”
Come Tuesday, it figures to be a battle between Edwardsville and Alton for the large-school portion of the Madison County title at EHS.
“It looks like it’s going to be a nice fight for first place,” Thompkins said. “It could go back and forth.”
Granite City also aims to be part of the county skirmish. The Warriors likely will lean on their sprinters. The Warriors finished second to O’Fallon in both the 4x100-meter relay (48.40) and 4x200-meter relay (1:43.05) at Alton. Niya Wilson, TyKiaza Jones, Andrea Hyde and Toni Rush ran on both of those relays.
“We’re rebuilding with better numbers than we had last season,” Granite City coach Tom Miller said. “We have some good sprinters and our distance team is improved.”