Iose Epenesa is off to a fantastic start with wins in both the shot put and discus in the Southwest Illinois Relays Meet on Tuesday. (Photos by Dan Brannan)EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High School boys track team, coming off a very good indoor season, performed well and won the Southwest Illinois Relays meet, the first big event of the outdoor season, Tuesday afternoon at the Winston Brown Track and Field Center at Edwardsville High.

The Tigers took first place with 161 points, with O'Fallon coming in second at 142 points, third place went to Mascoutah at 81 points, Alton finished fourth with 74.5 points, in fifth place was Granite City at 44.5 points, Collinsville was sixth at 32 points, SIUE Charter was right behind in seventh at 31 points and Maryville Christian was eighth at 16 points.

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The day started out overcast and damp, but the sun finally came out near the end of the meet and it made Edwardsville coach Chad Lakatos a very happy person.

"Great, now that the sun came out," Lakatos said with a smile. "It started off a little chilly and wet, but the sun started coming out here towards the end and yeah, things are going well. Currently just in the lead a little bit over O'Fallon, so we've got the (distance medley relay); looks like we're going to take second here. And then, we've got the (4x400 meter relay) and we've got the field event, the pole vault, still going on. So we should get some quality points out of pole vault and then, hopefully, we can score some out of the (4x400), we're going to get some out of the DMR as well. So overall, the first outdoor meet's going pretty well so far."

The Tigers are coming off a successful indoor season, climaxed by several good performances at the Illinois Top Times meet in Bloomington last weekend. Lakatos feels that the performances during the indoor season will translate very well into the outdoor season.

"Yeah, I definitely think it gives us a chance to springboard into the outdoor season," Lakatos said. "We had one of our better indoor seasons that we've had in a long time and I definitely think we can take that momentum and hopefully, carry it into the outdoors. And looks like we're off to a good start."

Lakatos feels that several athletes will stand out on the Tigers this season, including one returning All-Stater in Malik Allen in the triple jump.

"We've got some names kind of scattered all over," Lakatos said. "We've got some good young talent mixed in with some veterans. Malik is coming off, I guess, our only All-Stater from last year in the triple jump. So we're going to look for him to do some big things. The list really can continue. Ethan Stukenberg, we're looking for him to do well throughout the year in the pole vault, then we've got Gino Montgomery, we've got Kellen Brnfre, we've got Iose Epenesa, we've got Clayton Lakatos, we have Zach Layne, Darren Wilson is another name, we've got Jaydon Cole. We just have a lot of young talent that we're going to spread around. And our distance crew's young, we've had three freshmen (set personal records), they went one, four and six today. So we're young in that area, but they're going to balance out, scoring throughout the year for us."

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Another promising sprinter, Charles Shaw of SIUE Charter, won the 100 meters with a time of 11.41 seconds, with Josh Davis of the Warriors third at 12,17 seconds, Edwardsville's Jeremey Lyles was fourth at 12.23 seconds, Maryville's Kai King came in fifth at 12.27 seconds, Korey Word of the Tigers was sixth at 12.35 seconds and Gabe Malone of the Lions was seventh at 12.40 seconds. Edwardsville's Colin Thomas won the 1,600 meters at 4:44.90, with Alton's Noah Gallivan second at 4:47.86, Taylor Davis of Edwardsville was fourth at 4:48.69 and the Tigers' Sam Wittek came in sixth at 4:50.92.

Epenesa took first in the shot put at 13.82 meters, with Collinsville's Devin Habermehl second at 13.72 meters, teammate Zach Chambers was third at 13.05 meters, Brett Moss of the Tigers was fourth at 13.01 meters and Alton's Christian Hardin was seventh with a throw of 12.22 meters.

In the discus throw, Epenesa also won with a toss of 49.86 meters, with Chambers second at 42.04 meters, Habermehl came in third at 41.84 meters, Edwardsville's Dalton Brown was fourth at 40.47 meters, in fifth place was the Kahoks' Jonathan Shepherd at 35.53 meters, Brett Moss of the Tigers was sixth at 35.01 meters and Maryville's Josh Coulby was eighth at 33.23 meters.

McClaine won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.91 seconds, with Amari Rodgers-Parrott of Granite City third at 16.61 seconds, the Cougars' Justin Spiller was fourth at 16.96 seconds, Edwardsville's Patrick Chism was seventh at 18.70 seconds and Alton's Charles McAfoos was eighth at 18.74 seconds. McClaine also won the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 41.73 seconds, with Rodgers-Parrott second at 44.80 seconds, Spiller was third at 45.36 seconds, McAfoos was seventh at 47.67 seconds and Jake Jennings of the Tigers came in eighth at 48.59 seconds.

In the relay races, O'Fallon won the 4x100 meters at 45.37 seconds, with Granite coming in second at 45.49 seconds, Alton was third at 45.67 seconds and Edwardsville was fourth at 45.74 seconds. In the 4x200 race, the Panthers took the win at 1:35.48, with Alton third at 1:36.44, Edwardsville was fourth at 1:36.52, Granite City came in fifth at 1:38.14 and Maryville Christian was sixth at 1:46.18. In the 4x400 meters, Edwardsville took the win at 3:37.12, with Alton third at 3:38.91 and Granite came in fourth at 3:46.42.

In the medley relays, the sprint medley was won by the Panthers at 3:47.80, with the Tigers second at 3:56.50, the Lions were third at 3:56.65 and the Redbirds came in fifth at 3:58.81. In the distance medley, O'Fallon won the race at 11:00.05, with Edwardsville second at 11:33.29 and Alton was fourth at 12:34.13.

In the field events, Joshua Anoke of the Tigers, Trystn West of the Panthers and Wyatt Hester of the Indians all tied for first in the high jump at 1.72 meters, while Devyon Hill-Lomax of Edwardsville ties for fourth with Granite's Antonio Dean at 1.67 meters and both Zane Hoover of Alton and Isaiah Ford of Granite tied for sixth, both clearing 1.62 meters. In the pole vault, Stukenberg won the event, going over at 3.50 meters, with teammate Eli Gilbert tying for second with Isaiah Petersen of Mascoutah at 3.20 meters and Nick Helton tied for fifth with Michael Sheppard of O'Fallon at 2.90 meters.

Shaw took the win in the long jump, going 5.76 meters, with Lyles tying for second with Sheppard and Wyatt Stoltz of Mascoutah at 5.75 meters, Jacob Wahl of the Tigers was fifth at 5.71 meters, Harris came in sixth at 5.60 meters and Edwardsville's Keyon Stemmons was eighth at 5.53 meters. The triple jump was won by Bryant Colby of O'Fallon, who jumped 12.09 meters, while Evan Henderson of Edwardsville was third at 11.62 meters, teammate Brandon Young was fifth at 11.22 meters, Harris came in sixth at 11.14 meters and Ford was eighth at 10.63 meters.

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