BELLEVILLE — A year ago, the Edwardsville Tigers’ 3,200-meter relay team came up two places short of going to the finals in the Class 3A state championship meet at Eastern Illinois University.
Danielle Bohannon hopes that doesn’t happen again this year.
“It has given us more fuel for this year to try to make the finals and go all-state and place in the top eight this year,” the Edwardsville senior said.
Edwardsville’s 4x800 team captured a win at the Belleville West Invitational on Friday. The team of Bohannon, junior Victoria Vegher, sophomore Melissa Spencer and freshman Maddie Miller finished first with a time of 9 minutes, 55 seconds under chilly and windy conditions.
“We’ve been looking to break 10 minutes since indoor (season),” Bohannon said. “We ran 10:01 at an indoor meet. To go outside and run a 9:55 was great.”
Bohannon is already optimistic about her relay team.
“I think it’s a pretty good group of girls,” Bohannon said. “Victoria and I were on the state 4x800 relay last year. Melissa was on it last year and Maddie is just a freshman. I think with our experience and Maddie’s fresh legs, I think this could be the team that we could see at state.”
The Tigers won all of their distance events on Friday. Julianna Determan won the 3,200 in 12:08.02, Lorie Cashdollar placed first in the 800 in 2:24.64 and Payton Flowers won the 1,600 in 5:30.38.
But the performances didn’t help Edwardsville win another Belleville West meet championship. The Tigers, who beat Belleville East by one point last year, finished second with 99 points. O’Fallon won the 13-team meet with 122 points.
Also on Friday, Alton senior LaJarvia Brown won all four of her events — the 100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump. She also broke her own meet record in the long jump and triple jump.
“I want to try to break meet records in every meet and to leave my name on somebody’s record list since this is my last year,” Brown said.
Brown jumped 19 feet, 4 inches in her first attempt in the long jump, which surpassed her own record of 19 feet, one-half inch that was set last year.
“I knew it was going to be cold,” Brown said. “It was a lot of wind here, like 20 miles per hour. But that helped me in the long jump, jumping 19-4 in that first jump. After that, it was a matter of trying to stay warm and focus.”
Brown finished with a 40-10.5 in the triple jump, which broke her own mark of 39-9.5 that was set in 2015. Her winning time in the 100-meter high hurdles was 15.49 and she ran a 47.02 during her first-place finish in the 300-meter low hurdles.
Alton finished fourth with 76 points. Seniors Jewel Wagner and Chayvon Buckingham placed third and fourth, respectively, in the shot put, senior Alexis James finished third in the discus and sophomore Katie Mans was second in the high jump.
The Granite City Warriors finished 12th with 16 points. They had fourth-place finishes in the 400 and 800-meter relays. Senior Andrea Hyde, juniors Robyn Pointer and Niya Wilson and freshman TyKiaza Jones competed on both relays.
The Warriors ran 49.73 seconds in the 4x100 and a 1:46.77 in the 4x200.
“I’m pretty pleased with the times that we got because we improved our times a lot,” Hyde said. “So that was a big goal for us to improve our time to get us closer to where we need to be for state and everything. The wind got us, but that’s all right.”
Last week, the Granite City 4x200 team of Hyde, Jones, Wilson and Tori Bush placed fifth with a 1:46.58 in the Class 3A Illinois Top Times indoor meet at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Hyde said the effort has given both 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams a boost of confidence for the rest of the season.
“I felt like we were going to state,” Hyde said. “By the end of the season, we’re going to go to state and we’re going to be prepared and everybody’s got to watch out for us.”
Last year, Edwardsville qualified for state in the 4x800 after placing first in the event at the O’Fallon Sectional. In the state preliminaries, the relay team finished with a 9:26.43, but placed 14th.
“We missed finals by one second,” Bohannon said. “It was disappointing, but we all tried our hardest.”
On Friday, the Tigers trailed O’Fallon after the first leg of the 4x800 before Vegher gave her team the lead for good in the second leg.
“Victoria took off, got us into a great position and really kept our lead big time,” said Bohannon, who ran the opening leg.
Bohannon, who has been a member of the Edwardsville track program since her freshman year, said she would love to end her track career with another trip to Charleston.
“It would be great,” she said. “State is on the same day as graduation. If I’m going to miss my graduation, it’s going to be worth it.”
Also for Edwardsville, senior Colleen Corkery placed second in the 3,200, senior Rachel Schoeneker was fourth in the 1,600 and senior Gabriella Romano finished fourth in the pole vault after winning the event in last week’s Southwestern Illinois Relays.