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Photo by Theo Tate
Freshman TyKiaza Jones, juniors Robyn Pointer and Niya Wilson and senior Andrea Hyde are helping the Granite City 400 and 800-meter relay teams turn in an outstanding season this spring.
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Photo by Bill Roseberry
Granite City senior Andrea Hyde accepts the baton from teammate Robyn Pointer during the 4x100-meter relay at the Southwestern Conference meet in Edwardsville on May 4. Pointer was the second leg, while Hyde was the third leg in the event.
Andrea Hyde already has set her plans for next year.
The Granite City senior will compete in track and field at Illinois College. Hyde recently announced she will compete for the Division III school in Jacksonville.
“It’s very important because I started track in my sixth-grade year,” Hyde said. “I came out for track in my sixth-grade year at Coolidge (Junior High), so I started in Granite City and I’m finishing it here at Granite City.”
Now, Hyde is planning to finish her three-year high school track career at Granite City in style. She’s looking to help the 400- and 800-meter relay teams qualify for the Class 3A state meet at Eastern Illinois University.
“I truly believe that our 4x100 and 4x200 will qualify for state,” said Granite City assistant coach Fred Layne, who has been coaching the girls’ relay teams this season. “The plan is if everything goes right and the execution is right, then we’re on the podium.”
Hyde and the Granite City girls’ track team will compete at the Class 3A Rock Island Sectional on Friday. The 16-team meet includes Alton, Collinsville, Edwardsville, East St. Louis, Belleville West, Belleville East and O’Fallon.
Hyde, juniors Robyn Pointer and Niya Wilson and freshman TyKiaza Jones are helping the 4x100 and 4x200 teams turn in an outstanding season. The relay teams won titles at the Madison County meet on April 28 and placed second in the Southwestern Conference meet on May 4.
“The best part about it is they’re all so close,” Layne said. “They’re all friends. They work out together and they run together. A lot of stuff they do outside of school is together. I know a few of them are best friends and track has brought them even closer. The best part about it is they’re willing to work. In the past, you can get kids with so much talent, but the work and the drive aren’t there like they usually should be for an athlete of their caliber. Not only are they putting in the work in the classroom, but on the track. It’s coming and showing itself in competition for them.”
Granite City set a meet record in both relay events at the county meet. The 4x100 team ran 48.49 seconds and the 4x200 squad ran a 1:43.07.
The Warriors finished first in both relay events at the inaugural Granite City Warrior Relays on April 29. At the conference meet, the Warriors finished second to O’Fallon in both relay events.
Hyde credits Layne for the relay teams’ successful season.
“He’s been a great impact on us,” the Granite City senior said. “He wants the best for us, which is great.”
Layne said he started having high hopes for the relay teams during an indoor meet in February at Principia College.
“We ran our first indoor meet and we had three of them in the open 55-meter dash in Principia and all of them made finals,” Layne said. “It was at that point where me and (head coach) Tom (Miller) said, ‘We might have something going here.’ TyKiaza made finals in the hurdles; Andrea won the 200. We started to realize that we might have something special going on.”
In late March, Granite City’s 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.
Layne said he’s pleased with the way Jones has performed in her freshman season. Last year, when she was an eighth-grader at Coolidge Junior High, Jones earned all-state honors in the 100-meter hurdles at the Illinois Elementary School Association state meet, placing eighth.
“Not only is she exceptional in running, but she can do long jump and high jump,” Layne said. “She’s a hurdler. She’s exceptional in pretty much anything she does if she wants to do them. So we put her in different events every week. In every meet, she’s got something different. She’s been pointing out for us. You can’t expect more out of a freshman than I think she’s giving us.”
Wilson transferred from Edwardsville this year.
“She’s an exceptional athlete with great running form and good work ethic,” Layne said. “She’s my lead leg on the 4x100 and she was the lead leg on the 4x200 for a while before I changed the order around a little bit. Out of the blocks, she’s grade A and she’s the one who gets us going in the 4x100.”
Pointer is looking to qualify for state for the second straight year. Last year, she competed in the 200 at Charleston.
“Robyn had a slow start to her year,” Layne said. “She’s finally getting back on page and getting back on track. She’s healthy. Her times have fallen.”
Hyde is enjoying the best season of her high school track career. She got first place in four events — 4x100, 4x200, 100 and 200 — at the county meet, finished first in the 4x100, 4x200 and 100 at the Warrior Relays and earned all-Southwestern Conference honors in the 4x100, 4x200 and 100.
“My only regret with Andrea is I didn’t have her for four years and I had her for only one,” Layne said. “I think if I had worked with her for four years and had her go through the same workouts and stuff that we’re doing now, she would be even a higher-caliber state athlete than she is.”
Hyde said she enjoys competing with Pointer, Jones and Wilson.
“I have a great group of girls running with me and they make my senior year awesome,” she said. “They’re the greatest relay team I’ve ever had.”
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