Edwardsville's A.J. Epenesa in the discus.

Edwardsville's Travis Anderson in the 110 high hurdles.

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EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville has two boys who will have potential of coming back with IHSA State Track and Field first-place medals wrapped around their necks in A.J. Epenesa and Travis Anderson.

Edwardsville is also the repeating IHSA Class 3A State Track and Field champion. The Tigers have hopes of finishing at the top of the standings in Saturday’s finals. The Edwardsville boys compete today in the prelims.

A.J. Epenesa has the highest discus mark in the state this year with a 206-5 throw at the Winston Brown Invitational. Wheaton North’s Dan Webber is seeded second with a sectional throw of 176-9. Epenesa tossed the discus 196-9 in the sectional.

For today, Edwardsville Coach Chad Lakatos said his goal is for Epenesa to stay calm and not try to speed things up in his throws.

“A lot of times, people get up here and get nervous and aren’t focused,” Lakatos said. “A.J. has received a lot of attention as a football player and last year in track. I am confident he will step up to the plate.”

Hurdler Anderson is seeded first in the 110 high hurdles (13.9) and 300 hurdles (38.01). Belleville East’s William Session is right behind Anderson in the high hurdles and will be solid competition at state.

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Lakatos said there are a lot of solid hurdlers, but Anderson is right with the state’s best.

“Travis went 13.90 in the high hurdles at sectionals and we want him to focus and just buy himself another day,” Lakatos said. “I think he can go even faster in both the highs and lows.”

Epenesa is seeded fifth in the shot put with a sectional best of 58-3; teammate Desmond Chapple is ranked 17th with a best of 54-7.5. Machensey Park’s Josh Black has the top throw of 61-9 in the sectional, so Epenesa is not too far off that toss.

Edwardsville is ranked fourth in the 4 x 100 relay with a time of 41.76. Anderson joins the 4x100 relay team with Seth Jacobs, Devonte Tincher and Tommy Giacobbe.

The Tigers 4 x 200 relay recorded a time of 1:28.73 in the sectional and that relay at state will be Tincher, Giacobbe, Matt Swanson and Seth Jacobs.

The Tigers were in a very competitive sectional for the 4x200, with five teams making it from the sectional to the state meet. Using the team of Tincher, Giacobbe Darryl Harlan and Jacobs in the sectional, EHS ran a 1:28.73. At state, it will be Matt Swanson stepping in for Harlan.

Handoffs and execution will be the keys to success in the relays, Lakatos said.

Justin White hopes to place in the high jump. Several cleared 6-3 at sectional to qualify for state, so White will have tons of competition. He enters with a sectional best of 6-3. Devonte Tincher is ranked 17th in the long jump (22-6.75).

East St. Louis, a Southwestern Conference rival, will likely be head to head with the Tigers at state. East St. Louis is loaded in the relay events.

More like this:

May 25, 2024 - Edwardsville Ties for First in Thrilling IHSA Class 3A Finals

May 25, 2024 - Edwardsville Dominates Track Prelims, Many Athletes Into Finals

May 16, 2024 - Edwardsville Puts Many Through To Boys State Track and Field Meet, Wins Class 3A Danville Sectional, Kahoks Sixth, Redbirds 10th  

Apr 22, 2024 - Edwardsville Takes Winston Brown Invite Title, Alton High's Young Athletes Impress At Meet

Apr 9, 2024 - Allen Makes History, Breaks 42-Year-Old School Triple Jump Record As Edwardsville Wins Norm Armstrong Invite

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