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Du Quoin girls track repeat as sectional champs

  • The Lady Indians are eagerly anticipating the state track and field championships next week, after running past the competition to win the 1A sectional on Wednesday.

    The Lady Indians are eagerly anticipating the state track and field championships next week, after running past the competition to win the 1A sectional on Wednesday.
    Courtesy of Du Quoin High School

By Geary Deniston
Contributing writer
updated: 6/4/2021 1:18 PM

Led by two of its fabulous juniors -- Jalynn Wood and Grace Alongi -- the Du Quoin girls track and field team easily beat second place Hamilton County to successfully defend its 2019 sectional title Wednesday at Van Metre Field.

"We're pretty strong in a lot of areas, so we knew coming in we had a pretty good shot of winning," said Du Quoin coach Shane Boyett.

The 1A state finals will be held June 10 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

Wood defended her sectional title in the pole vault by clearing 8-7, and her title in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.62 -- .01 seconds over Maci Tosh from Goreville.

The 100 hurdles came down to whoever leaned over the line first," Wood said. "I didn't jump as high as I wanted to today in the pole vault, but I knew I had to just clear the first bar so I could qualify for state.

"We're going to train really hard the next couple of days so I can attempt to get a personal record at state. My record now is 10-7, but I would like to jump 11."

Wood was the leadoff runner for the first place 4x100 relay team which included freshman Ashley Waters, sophomore Riley Atkins and senior Delanie Dearmond.

Wood just missed winning her fourth event, but still qualified in the 300-meter hurdles for the second time, finishing second to Tosh by 1.30 seconds with a time of 51.58. Tosh also finished second in the long jump to qualify in three events.

As a freshman Wood finished seventh in pole vault at state, but didn't advance to the finals in the 100 and 300 hurdles.

Alongi also qualified in four events -- winning the 400-meter dash for the first time by 3.14 seconds with a state qualifying time of 1:00.28, and the triple jump for the first time with a distance of 32-11.

"I was really happy with a new PR in the 400," Alongi said. "My one before was 1:01.5 or something like that, so I'm real happy to get one flat because at state there's going to be a lot of people at a minute. Before today I think I was in the top 10, so I'm really hoping this puts me in the top five or six at least to get me into the fast heat to give my best shot.

Alongi said her triple jump result was a bit of a shock. "This year I just decided to do it because we needed two jumpers. I'm hoping to get a PR when I get up there and really lay one down."

Alongi was also ran the third leg of the winning 4x800 and 4x400 relay teams. As a freshman two years ago Alongi qualified for state as a member of the 4x800 relay team and by finishing second in the 800-meter run behind her sister Gabby.

Senior Jacqueline Crain qualified for her third straight state final in three events. Crain ran the second leg on the 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams and finished second to teammate junior Olivia Phillips in the 800-meter run with a state qualifying time of 2:24.86.

"We knew the 4x800 and 4x400 relays were really strong, but our sprint relays did really well and those were two big wins," Boyett said. "We think the way Crain ran today she has a shot to place up at state."

As a freshman Crain qualified as member of the 4x800 relay team that finished eighth in the state. She also qualified in the 800-meter ran. As a sophomore Crain returned to state as a member of the state champion 4x400 relay team and the second place 4x800 relay team.

Phillips won the 800-meter run at the sectional for the first time by 5.55 seconds with a state qualifying time of 2:19.31. Phillips just missed out qualifying in the 400-meter dash for the second time by .68 seconds.

"I was one second off my PR, but I'm still proud of myself that I was able to maintain that time that I needed to be able to go into the fast heat for state," Phillips said.

Phillips qualified in the 4x400 relay and in the 4x800 for the second year taking over the anchor position from Gabby Alongi. As a freshman Phillips won a state title as a member of the 4x400 and finished second in the 4x800 and the 4x200.

Junior Lauren Heape qualified for the state finals for the first time as a member of the winning of the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.

Senior Maddie Robison is making her third straight appearance at the state finals in the pole vault, with a second-place finish at sectionals for the third year in a row.

Dearmond is making her second trip to the state finals as a member of the 4x100 relay team and by finishing in the triple jump. As a freshman Dearmond won the sectional title in the pole vault, but didn't advance to the finals at the state meet.

Six Lady Indians are making their first trip to the state finals. Three sophomores are making their first trip after missing out on their freshmen year when the season was canceled last year.

Sophie Hill won the high jump with a leap of 5-1.75 while Atkins ran the third leg on the 4x100 relay and Neveah Loos did the same on the 4x200.

"It's exciting," Hill said. "I just had to go up and do my thing and do what I know how to do. I had a 5-4 jump, but didn't clear, but that's ok. I just have to work on my form and I'll be good."

Three true freshmen are also making their first appearances. Waters ran the second leg of the 4x100 and the third leg of the 4x200. Kallie Oestreicher ran the opening leg of the 4x200 and Lainey Miler finished second in the 1600.

Pinckneyville girls relay teams qualify

The Pinckneyville Lady Panthers qualified all four relay teams by finishing second to Du Quoin. Katie Jackson, Promise Jones, Moe Morgenthaler and Cagney Kwiatkowski ran on both the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams. Morgenthaler, Kwiatkowski, Ashlee Hirsch and Emily Baggett ran the 4x400 and Emma Francis and Aurora Wright joined Hirsch and Baggett on the 4x800.

Second place Hamilton County qualified three individuals with Maddie Karcher winning the 1600- and 3200-meter runs, Ashlee Wellen finishing second in the 3200, and Desirae Dockery second in the 100-meter dash.

From Carmi-White County Jessica Smith won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes and Kalei Burchfield finished second in the discus.

Kayla Braun from Sparta qualified by winning the shot put and discus. Also qualifying by finishing second were Emma Tolbert from Johnston City in the shot put, Lauren Soellner from Chester in the high jump, Emersyn Robbins from Fairfield in the 200 and Brooklyn McKee from Sesser-Valier in the 400.

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