EDWARDSVILLE — Those six field events proved prosperous for the Alton Redbirds on Wednesday in the Southwestern Conference girls’ track meet.
They won three of them and took second in the other three during the eight-team competition at the Winston Brown Track and Field Complex.
Yet all of their field points — 68 — weren’t enough for the Redbirds to push hard for the team title. O’Fallon dominated events on the track and scored 166 points to win its fourth consecutive conference championship. East St. Louis placed second with 133 points, Edwardsville took third with 119 points and Alton came in fourth with 105 points.
“O’Fallon is definitely a competitive team across the board,” Tigers’ coach MiKayla Thompkins said.
Belleville West (68 points), Belleville East (45), Granite City (45) and Collinsville (15) completed the SWC scoring.
The Redbirds got going in a hurry when LaJarvia Brown finished first in the long jump (18 feet, 11.5 inches) and the triple jump (39-4). Alton’s Katie Mans reigned in the high jump (5-4), while Murray State-bound Jewel Wagner snared second in the shot (40-3.5). Teammates Alexis James, second in the discus (122-8) and TyRiss Holloway, second in the pole vault (9-0) added to the effort.
Both James and Holloway established school records.
“It means a lot and it gives me confidence,” Holloway said about setting an AHS mark.
Mans said, “I think the field events are our special events.”
Alton coach Terry Mitchell added, “We had a pretty good day in the field, with some career-bests and school records. Alexis and TyRiss have been coming on strong. And LaJarvia was really tough in the high hurdles.”
Brown, a senior, won the 110-meter high hurdles (14.34 seconds) and was runner-up in the 300-meter low hurdles (45.27). Sophomore Rokelle Stanley of East St. Louis won the 300-meter low hurdles (44.98) by overtaking Brown near the finish line.
“It was an all right day,” said Brown, accounting for 38 points. The two-time defending state triple jump champion is already pointing to the Class 3A Rock Island Sectional on May 13.
Brown noted, “My best event today was the high hurdles. Next week, my goal is to qualify for state in all four events.”
It’s much the same strategy for Edwardsville, according to Thompkins.
“Today, it was about being locked and loaded for the conference meet. And overall, it was a good day for us,” she said. “At the sectional, it’s solely about qualifying as many girls in as many events as possible for state.”
Colleen Corkery and Gabriella Romano elevated Edwardsville in the conference competition. Corkery won the 3,200-meters (12:05.31) and Romano finished first in the pole vault (9-1). The Tigers’ 4x800-meter relay team (9:47.85) of Danielle Bohannon, Victoria Vegher, Lorie Cashdollar and Maddie Miller also won its race by finishing nearly 19 seconds ahead of runner-up O’Fallon.
“I tried to put everything in my race and I guess it was my biggest win of the season,” Corkery said. “We have a deep, deep team and good distance runners. We try to push each other all the time.”
Mans said the Redbirds are striving to do the same thing heading into the final two weeks of the season. The large-school state finals run May 20-21 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
“It’s all winding down, so we have to step up some now,” she said.
Granite City will be leaning on its sprinters at Rock Island. The Warriors finished second in the 4x100-meter relay (49.22) and the 4x200-meter relay (1:45.72) in the SWC affair. O’Fallon won both races.
“We won both of those relays at the Madison County Meet, but our handoffs weren’t good today,” Warriors’ coach Tom Miller said. “We didn’t run our best times and O’Fallon beat us.
“That’s the difference between last week and this week. It’s a good learning lesson.”
The Warriors plan is to keep Andrea Hyde, Robyn Pointer, Niya Wilson and Toni Rush working together in their top sprint relays. Hyde finished third in the 100-meters (12.38) and Rush, a freshman, was third in the 200-meters (26.36) in the conference competition.