Track and field gets a running start and an early jump on other spring sports, pardon the puns, due to the indoor portion of its schedule.
So while snow flurries swirled around the Southern Illinois University campus Friday and Saturday, local high school track squads were warm and toasty inside the Rec Center performing at the SIU Indoor Invitational.
The girls portion of the meet was held Friday night.
Sesser-Valier's Chelsea Miller won the long jump with a mark of 16-11, edging out Carterville's Madison Meyer by 1-1/2 inches. Herrin's Alex McVicker was fifth (16-0) and West Frankfort's Kiarha Wilce was sixth (15-10), while Sesser-Valier's Rae Lappin tied for seventh (15-8.5) and Marion's Jada McLorn was 10th (15-5.5).
In the high jump, Marion's Caroline Fletcher was sixth at 4-10 and West Frankfort's Kayla Piersol was ninth at 4-8. Marion's MarQuisha Edwards and Devin Dodson both cleared 4-6.
Miller placed eighth and Fletcher was 11th in the 200 dash -- which featured 18 heats -- with times of 27.30 and 27.65 seconds, respectively. Benton's Kaitlyn Schutt was 18th in 28.76.
Carterville's Madison Meyer advanced to the finals in the 60-meter dash and placed sixth in 8.08 seconds. Miranda Meyer, who placed second in the 100 hurdles at the Class A state meet last year, advanced to the 60-meter hurdles finals and placed 11th in 10.34.
Herrin's Abby Horn was fourth in the shot put at 38-8, with freshman teammate Bralon Mack fifth at 36-1. Benton's Christy Hayden was 16th at 32-1.5.
Herrin sophomore Maura Farrell was sixth in the 1,600 run at 5:46.91, with Benton's Jenna Johnston coming in eighth (5:50.46) and Carterville's Aurora Breeden 15th (6:02.01).
Carterville's 4x200 relay was seventh in 1:55.82, three spots ahead of West Frankfort (1:57.32).
The final race after a long meet, the 1,600 relay, featured Herrin coming in 10th (4:33.70) and Benton right behind in 11th (4:37.39) in the second of four heats.
The boys meet began at 10 a.m. Saturday with the pole vault and high jump. O'Fallon teammates Jack Klopfenstein and Patrick Riley took the top spots in the pole vault, topping out at 14 feet, while Marion's Jonah Belanger was ninth at 11-6.
The high jump finished as a duel between Chester's Kyle Landon, the defending state champion, and Massac County's Alex King, who both topped out at 6-10.
Collinsville's Martinus Mitchell and Harrisburg's Isaac Ingram drew the spotlight in the shot put as Mitchell threw 55-1.5 and Ingram went 54-4 in the first flight.
Marion's Conner Jackson and Austin Morrison tied for 13th place at 43-8.
There weren't many highlight finishes for area athletes as the large school contingent, which included Cahokia and East St. Louis, took most of the top spots.
Marion's Mitchell Rushing placed 14th in the mile run (4:44.30), Benton's Mat Buntin was 20th in the 400 (58.07) and Benton's Jesse Vanhorebeke was 21st in the 200 with a time of 25.02 in the seventh of 16 heats.
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