EDWARDSVILLE - The Edwardsville High boys track team got points in almost every event, for the second straight meet, the 1,600 meter combination of Ryan Luitjohan and Geo Patrylak finished one-two to provide 18 big points and sprinter Brandon Battle anchored the 4x400 meter relay team to help give the Tigers the team championship in the Winston Brown Invitational meet held Friday afternoon at the Winston Brown Track and Field Center.

Edwardsville won with 147.5 points, with Mascoutah the runner-up at 140 points, Collinsville was third with 83 points, Belleville West finished fourth at 82 points and Triad completed the top five with 74.5 points. Sixth place went to O'Fallon with 70 points, East St. Louis came in seventh at 57 points, Belleville East was eighth with 53 points, Springfield High was ninth at 47 points and Alton came in 10th with 23 points.

Marquette Catholic was 11th with 18 points, Cahokia came in 12th with 17 points, Madison was 13th with 16 points and Father McGivney Catholic was 14th with six points.

Edwardsville's performances in all events were very solid, and head coach Chad Lakatos couldn't have been more pleased with his team after the meet, the Tigers' second straight win in a major meet after having won the Norm Armstrong Invitational last Saturday at Belleville West.

"Yeah, we're pleased with where we are," Lakatos said. "We have some work to do, but I'm in a happy place right now."

Battle was in great form again, anchoring the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams, but it was the Tigers' team effort that was the key to the win.

"Yeah, most definitely," Lakatos said. "Brandon was most spectacular again today, and we're going to continue to talk about him and try to make some things happen, put him in relays in this meet, and to spice things up and not get too stagnant. He had a great day, and I'll tell you what, it's a great team performance, though. We scored a lot of points in a lot of different areas."

Besides Battle, the Edwardsville distance runners had a big day as well.

"Most definitely," Lakatos said. "We came out of the field events with some decent points, and then, we jumped on the track, and that's where our strength is. Our distance crew, late in the meet, we get 18 points from Luitjohan and Patrylak in the 1,600. They did the same thing last week at Belleville West, and those are just big points coming at the end. We didn't put points in the 200, so those out of the 16 was huge for us."

Jordan Brooks also made a big contribution to the Edwardsville cause, finishing fifth in the long jump and winning the triple jump.

"I think Jordan Brooks did in the field events," Lakatos said. "He placed pretty high in the long jump, and won the triple jump with a big (personal record), 45 and change. We had Chase West, a senior, he got second in the 300 (hurdles), and like fourth or fifth in the 110. It was just a nice balance, points just coming from all directions. It was a great meet for us."

And after the first two big meets, things are looking up for the Tigers.

"We're heading in the right direction," Lakatos said. "We're kind of crunched on not the same timing as we used to have, with a preseason, but we'll be OK. We're not going to make any excuses, we'll get back to work on Monday."

It was announced also that the Illinois High School Association will hold a state series this year, and Lakatos is very happy with that announcement as well.

"The IHSA made a decision to to have a state event," Lakatos said. "I think it's a great decision for the kids. It's just going to be a one-day event instead of a two-day, but I'm super excited after the lost season last year for those kids to have an opportunity. I just couldn't be happier for those kids."

Alton head coach Jeff White was very happy for his kids to be able to compete in the meet, and at the halfway point of the proceedings, was just as happy with the results.

"We're out here, we're just glad to be competing right now after missing out on last year," White said. "It's a lot of fun to be back on the track this year and competing."

And as with everyone else across the state, White and the Redbirds feel grateful and blessed to be having the season after missing last year when the 2020 season was called off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Yeah, we're still thrilled to be able to come out here and run a track meet," White said. "And the great thing is everyone is out here because they love track and love competing. It's an unusual year for everybody, and in all sports, we know that. Yeah, we're happy to be out here this year."

It's a young team for the Redbirds, and the distance runners and sprinters were among the leaders for the team.

"We're really happy with our young distance crew," White said. We placed third in the varsity 4-bys with three sophomores and a senior on there. We feel like we've got a pretty good core group of young guys, and we're happy. They missed out on their freshman season, and so, it's really important for them to be out here as sophomores and get some experience because we feel pretty good about some of our young guys and freshman and sophomores. And so, we need to get them used to high school track, and I think they're going to be really good. And they ran very well in the four-by-eight, and our sophomores last week at Belleville West, Christian Kotzamanis, he got third in the 1,600. So we feel pretty good about the distance guys right now, and we've got some promising sprinters, too."

The most important thing is that the younger athletes are gaining valuable experience that will help Alton down the road, and that also is having fun with the sport as well.

"It is," White said. "it has to be about fun and love of the sport right now. We didn't have our normal time to train in the off-season because of the overlap of sports. We're coming off football, and a lot of guys are coming off of football. And they still need a couple more meets to get used to being out here and doing track and field and not doing football, or doing basketball or doing soccer."

White and the Redbirds are feeling very positive about the relay teams and are high on a young sprinter who won the 100 meters at the Norm Armstrong meet last week.

"We feel really good about our relays," White said. "We had a really good performance last week from Martin Boey in the 100 meters. We had to hold him out this week, but he'll be back next week, and he got first in the 100 meters at Belleville West. He ran 11 flat, so we think he's got a pretty good shot at the 100 meters and in the hurdles going to state. We feel good our 4x800, 4x100 and 4x400 all have good shots, too."

In the sprint races, the 100 meters was won by Belleville East's Malachi Wren, with a time of 11.22 seconds, with C.J. Edison of Triad fifth at 11.37 seconds, Collinsville's Jerry Richardson sixth at 11.56 second and Kegan Bratton of the Redbirds tying for seventh with Springfield's Sevyon Williams, both coming in at 11.68 seconds. Richardson won the 200 meters with a time of 23.65 seconds, Samuel Elliott-Barnes of Alton fourth at 24.54 seconds, East St. Louis' Antwan Chairs was fifth at 24.72 second and Triad's Ethan Maxwell was eighth with a time of 25.42 seconds.

Devontae Ford of the Flyers won the 400 meters with a time of 49.59 seconds while Joe Burkhart of the Tigers was seventh at 54.44 seconds. O'Fallon's Alex Tillock was the winner of the 800 meters, having a time of 1:59.00, with the Kahoks' Theo Paxton second at 2:00.24 and Edwardsville's Liam Hoeferlin sixth at 2:04.69.

Liutjohan and Patrylak's one-two finish in the 1,600 was perhaps the key result of the meet, with both having times of 4:29.80 and 4:36.21. The Griffins' Tyler Guthrie was third with a time of 4:37.93, Drake Bleier of the Knights was fourth at 4:40.51 and Collinsville's Trey Peterson came in seventh with a time of 4:52.31. Dylan Ybarra of the Panthers was the winner in the 3,200 meters, having a time of 10:15.16, with the Tigers' Jacob Grandone placing seventh at 11:35.83 and Triad's Jacob Metcalf was eighth at 11:48.25.

In the hurdles races, the 110 meter event was won by Springfield's Sean Graves, with a time of 16.38 seconds, with East Side's Demarlynn Taylor second at 16.39 seconds, West was fifth at 16.86 seconds, Collinsville's Jackson Lee was sixth at 16.98 seconds, and a pair of Triad hurdlers, Rylee Hansen and Chase Harmon, were seventh and eight respectively, with times of 17.27 seconds and 17.70 seconds. In the 300 meter hurdles, Braden White of the Senators was the winner with a time of 43.24 seconds, with West coming in second at 43.88 seconds, Harmon was fourth at 44.52 seconds, Taylor fifth at 44.61 seconds and the Redbirds' Devon Miller was eighth at 45.58 seconds.

The Tigers swept the relay races, starting with the 4x100 race, winning with a time of 43.77 seconds, with Triad fourth at 44.73 seconds and Alton fifth at 44.99 seconds. Edwardsville won the 4x200 race, coming in at 1:30.66, with Triad fifth at 1:42.39. The Tigers won the 4x400 relay, clinching the meet with a time of 3:23.99, with the Redbirds coming in fourth at 3:36.28 and the Knights placed sixth at 3:40.23. In the 4x800 race, Edwardsville came out on top with a time of 8:16.61, Alton was third at 8:37.93 and Collinsville came in fifth at 9:09.43.

In the field events, Cahokia's Jo'Viano Howard won the high jump, clearing 1.85 meters, with the Tigers' Deshawn Larson and the Kahoks' Khalil Thorps-Watt tying for second at 1.80 meters. Over in the pole vault, Triad's Caleb Ruiz and Collinsville's Jacob Dyer tied for first, both clearing 3.97 meters, with Ruiz awarded the win on the fewer misses tiebreak. Lee finished fourth at 3.66 meters, Jackson Buck of Triad and Carter Knoyle of Edwardsville tied for fifth at 3.51 meters and the Tigers' Ethan Stukenburg was eighth at 3.20 meters.

Elijah McCauley of the Lancers won the long jump with a leap of 6.62 meters, with Thomas Hills of the Kahoks second at 6.48 meters, Aariion Jackson of the Tigers fourth with a jump of 6.44 meters, Brooks was fifth at 6.40 meters, Collinsville's Tyre Rodgers was sixth, going 6.28 meters, the Flyers' Antwan Chairs was seventh at 6.08 meters and Maxwell came in eighth with a jump of 6.04 meters. Brooks won the triple jump with his personal record leap of 13.86 meters, while Thorps-Watt was third at 12.08 meters, the Flyers' Lorenzo Cutler came in fourth at 11.75 meters, Brandon Young of Edwardsville was fifth with a jump of 11.66 meters, Garland Howard East Side was sixth at 11.35 meters and the Knights' Damon Willis was seventh at 11.20 meters.

In the throwing events, Marquette's Jake Hewitt won the shot put with a toss of 15.30 meters, while Samuel McCain of the Flyers was third at 14.29 meters, Chris Garcia-Cloud of Collinsville came in fourth with a throw of 13.23 meters, the Tigers' Ryan Garrison was sixth at 12.28 meters, Cole Van Tieghem of Triad was seventh with a throw of 12.24 meters and Collinsville's Zachary Chambers was eighth at 12.18 meters. Finally in the discus throw, Mascoutah's Barry Evans was the winner with a throw of 47.37 meters, with Hewitt second at 45.82 meters, Garcia-Cloud third at 42.82 meters, Garrison was fourth at 39.87 meters, Edwardsville's Nathan Chapman was sixth with a toss of 38.35 meters, seventh place went to McCain at 36.68 meters and Triad's Nick Joliff was eighth at 34.96 meters.

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