By Theo Tate
Raishon Bobo was all smiles when he was at the press box picking up his three medals from the Granite City Invitational on Friday.
"I'm glad I'm a Warrior," the Granite City junior said. "What Warriors do is we fight."
Bobo placed second in the 300-meter hurdles, finished seventh in the 110-meter hurdles and helped the 1,600-meter relay team place fifth at the 14-team Granite City meet. He also helped the Warriors turn in their best finish of the season as Granite City placed sixth with 44.5 points.
"The effort was great because sixth place is a high finish for us right now," Granite City coach Tom Miller said. "We placed in multiple events, not just the distance events, like we did at Belleville West (last week). When you get to run at home, everybody gives it their best."
Also on Friday, the Alton Redbirds picked up medals in six events and finished 11th with 21 points.
"It's great for the kids to come out here in these meets and run their best," Alton coach Eric Dickerson said. "To place in a meet like this with such great competition speaks louder about our kids and the way they're working to try to get better."
Sophomore Evan Rathgeb was the Redbirds' top finisher, placing second in the 3,200 with a time of 10 minutes, 25.18 seconds.
"Evan is a great kid," Dickerson said. "He's only a sophomore and he comes out and works his tail off every day."
The Warriors finished second in three events. Besides Bobo's runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles, Granite City also got second-place finishes from sophomore Will O'Keefe in the 800 and its 3,200-meter relay team (O'Keefe, junior Juwan Riggins and seniors Tyler Manion and Zach Manion).
In the 800, O'Keefe finished with a 1:57.82, but lost by 0.18 seconds to Cahokia's Chris Stanley. O'Keefe took over first place in the beginning of the second lap, but Stanley surpassed him with 50 meters to go.
"I don't know what happened at the end, but the time he ran was great, so it doesn't matter that he didn't win," Miller said. "His split in the 4x800 was amazing, so now he's going to make us have some tough choices on what we want to do for the end of the season and decide what events we're going to be best in to go to state with."
The Warriors' 4x800 finished with an 8:05.59. O'Keefe ran a 1:55 in the opening leg.
"I'm really happy with our 4x800 team," said Tyler Manion, who ran the third leg. "We ran out of our minds. We were thinking coming in and running 8:15 or 8:20 just to try to get our time down."
Bobo finished in 40.61 seconds in the 300 hurdles, 15.94 seconds in the 110 hurdles and helped the 4x400 ̶ which also included O'Keefe, Riggins and Wilyonde Bell ̶ run a 3:30.
Miller said Bobo has been a valuable member to his team all season long.
"His family has moved a lot," Miller said. "He doesn't have a lot going for him outside of school and he comes to practice and works hard and he gives his best for the team. He’s a bright kid. He's one of those Granite City track kids who have a great personality and good character. We've got kids who work hard and get better every year. I'm happy to be around kids like that."
Tyler Manion finished fourth with a personal-best time of 4:35 in the 1,600, Riggins and sophomore Raheem Beckwith had fifth-place finishes in the long jump and 300 hurdles, respectively, and senior Jovandre Cotton finished in a tie for seventh with Springfield Southeast's Keonte Caldwell in the pole vault.
Alton got fifth-place finishes from Johnathan Bumpers in the triple jump and its 800-meter relay team of Tony Dobbins, Harrison Henderson, Simeon Brown and Ronald Gilchrese, seventh-place finishes from Dobbins in the long jump and Arie Macias in the 1,600 and an eighth-place finish from Zach Llewellyn in the discus.
Both Granite City and Alton will compete in the Mascoutah Invitational next Friday.
Granite City girls place sixth in the O'Fallon Invitational
The Warriors got a pair of victories from senior Fonda Clark and sophomore Robyn Pointer in the O'Fallon Invitational on Friday.
Clark won the 300-meter hurdles in 48.10 seconds and Pointer placed first in the 400 in 1 minute, .03 seconds.
Clark also placed third in the long jump, fifth in the 100-meter hurdles and helped the 400-meter relay team ̶ which also included Pointer, Andrea Hyde and Alaria Perkins ̶ place fourth. Pointer got a third-place finish in the 100 in 12.67 seconds.
Senior Catherine Jakich finished second in the discus and third in the shot put.
Granite City finished sixth out of nine teams in the O'Fallon meet with 66 points. The Warriors’ next meet will be the Alton Invitational on Thursday.