Clayton Lakatos demonstrates some tremendous speed after a handoff in one of the relays at Collinsville. (Photos by Dan Brannan)EDWARDSVILLE - A second-place finish to East St. Louis in the final heat of the 4x400 meter relay gave Edwardsville the eight points they needed to nip the Flyers by one point to win the Collinsville Invitational track meet Saturday afternoon at Kahok Stadium.

The meet is the final important meet before the local teams compete in their conference meets and the IHSA sectional meets in the next two weeks as preparations for the state meet pick up.

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The top three places were very tight indeed, as the Tigers won the team title with 93 points, edging out the Flyers, who had 92 points, while Cahokia was in a very close third place at 87 points. O'Fallon was fourth with 46 points, in fifth place was Alton with 38 points, sixth place went to Mascoutah at 35 points, Columbia was seventh with 32.5 points, Centralia came in eighth with 28 points, the host Kahoks were ninth at 25 points and Chatham Glenwood rounded out the top ten with 24 points.

Among other local schools, Civic Memorial was 13th with 17 points, Triad and St. Mary's Catholic of St. Louis tied for 21st with 10 points each, Roxana was 26th with four points and Highland and Springfield tied for 27th with three points apiece.

The Tigers had a great team effort all day and it helped Edwardsville win the meet.

"It was a great team effort across the board," said Edwardsville head coach Chad Lakatos. "It's a loaded invitational and you can come out winning this, it's saying something. So I'm proud of the kids the way they performed today and it's good time for us, heading into the conference and sectional."

The Tigers will be hosting the local Class 3A sectional on May 17 and Lakatos thinks the team will be ready to go and hopes to qualify many of his athletes as possible.

"You know, our lineup's a little different for next week," Lakatos said, "we'll be going for points. So we're going to try to maximize that. And then, the following week, we get to host sectionals, so we're excited about that and we'll focus on what we can get to state and I think we're in a good spot. We've got a lot of talent, a lot of young kids, so we're excited where we're at and hopefully, we can finish the season the right way."

The Redbirds also had good performances, with sprinter Will Harris placing third in the 100 meters and Sam Elliott-Barnes fourth in the 200 meters. Alton feels that their also in a good position to do well in the next two weeks.

"We're feeling pretty good," said Alton head coach Jeff White. "This is a big meet for us, this is sort of a bellwether meet to kind of see where we're going to shape up for conference and sectional and we've been pretty happy with how most things have gone for us today. We've hit some state qualifying times and that's what we need to do for sectional. We're starting to run our best times right now and we're happy about that. We're thrilled."

The best times couldn't come at a better time for the Redbirds, with the most important meets of the season fast approaching.

"Yeah, we're getting to a point in the season where we're running out of time," White said. "And we have to come up with some answers for some races and solidify where different athletes are going to run for that sectional meet and I think we got a pretty clear picture of that today."

The Eagles had great performances from their middle distance runners, with Justice Eldridge taking the 800 meters and Jackson Collman finishing fourth in the 1,600 meters. It's a big momentum builder for CM going into the Mississippi Valley Conference meet and the Class 2A sectional at East Alton-Wood River on May 18.

"Really tickled," said Eagles' head coach Jake Peal. "Our sprints ran some (personal records) in the relay, in the distance events, we had some guys step up, we broke school records in both the 800 and 1,600 and we're really getting sharp at the right time for conference and sectionals coming up in the next couple of weeks, just really pleased."

In addition to both Collman and Eldridge, D.J. Dutton has had a very good season running for the Eagles and the team has had an overall outstanding year. It's something Peal is very happy about.

"Really, really pleased about where we're at right now at this point of the season," Peal said. "It's been a long season, going from indoor to outdoor. But the fact we're still engaged and right now, starting to run our best is just really exciting."

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And at the tight time, too.

"That's right," Peal said. "Eagles rise in May," he said with a laugh.

The Warriors also had some good performances as well, despite having some problems and illnesses, and are ready for the Edwardsville sectional.

"Yes, they're doing really well," said Granite head coach Tom Miller. "We had a few hiccups this week; we have one athlete is sick today, one of our high jumpers, Amari Rodgers-Parrot, is a little banged up from a meet on Wednesday. But overall, we're doing well."

The Warriors have enjoyed a successful season thus far, although they haven't scored as many points as usual, and a young team is looking ahead to the sectional.

"Yes it has," Miller said. "We haven't scored as many points as we used to, but we have a very young team. We have one senior on the team and we only have three juniors on the team."

Rodgers-Parrot and Isaiah Ford have been the focal points on Granite this season and both have performed well in helping to lead the Warriors.

"They're doing outstanding," Miller said. "I can't wait to see what Amari's going to do the next two years and our young jumpers, Isaiah Ford, Logan Webb, Antonio Dean and Demonte Walker. So we don't lose anyone from that group."

In the sprints, Kenneth Buchanon of East Side won the 100 meters with a time of 11.20 seconds, with Edwardsville's Darren Wilson second at 11.23 seconds and Harris third at 11.24 seconds, while Casey Borkowski of Jersey came in at 11.65 seconds and Triad's Owen Lightner was right behind at 11.68 seconds. Devion Montgomery of the Flyers won the 200 meters at 21.81 seconds, with Buchanon coming in third at 22.15 seconds, Elliott-Barnes was fourth at 22.25 seconds and Triad's Louis Yohannes was seventh at 22.61 seconds. Shawn Rodgers of Granite had a time of 22.80 seconds, while Borkowski was right behind at 22.91 seconds.

Montgomery won the 400 meters with a time of 48,81 seconds, while teammate Quentin Stepney was fourth at 50.01 seconds, with Jalek Nelson of the Kahoks had a time of 52.50 seconds and Edwardsville's Alex Uder was in at 52.79 seconds. In the 800 meters, Eldridge won with a time of 1:57.70, with East Side's Darris Ivy fifth at 2:00.35 and Collinsville's Andrew Gonski sixth at 2:01.90. The Tigers' Jack Paty had a time of 2:05.01, while Collinsville's Trey Peterson was in at 2:05.23.

In the 1,600 meters, the winner was Ethan Hogan of Columbia at 4:12.82, with Collman fourth at 4:25.46 and Dutton seventh at 4:31.24, while Drew Twyman of Triad had a time of 4:41.13 and the Tigers' Ben Ziobro was in at 4:42.82. The 3,200 meters was won by Cale Smith of Decatur Eisenhower at 9:50.11, with Jackson Amick of Edwardsville second at 10:05.69 and Noah Gallivan of the Redbirds was fifth at 10:31.27, while Highland's Christian Knobloch had a time of 10:37.63 and Sam Kuckuck of the Knights was in at 10:59.79.

In the hurdles races, Joshua Guyton of St. Mary's won with a time of 14.98 seconds, with East Side's Armonie Jones seventh at 15.79 seconds and both Alton's Simon McClaine and Rodgers-Parrot both came in at 16.17 seconds, with Roxana's Keylon Caruthers in at 16.46 seconds. In the 300 meters, Keyshawn Lyons of Cahokia won the event at 40.20 seconds, with McClaine third at 40.43 seconds and Jones was sixth at 41,54 seconds. Alton's Charles McAfoos had a time of 43.07 seconds and Patrick Chism of Edwardsville was in at 44.65 seconds.

In the relay races, Edwardsville won the 4x100 meters with a time of 41.75 seconds, with Triad second at 41.89 seconds and East St. Louis third at 42.30 seconds, while Roxana had a time of 43.79 and Granite City was in at 44.84 seconds. The winners of the 4x200 meters were the Tigers at 1:27.11, while the Flyers were second at 1:28.83 and the Redbirds came in third at 1:29.60, with the Kahoks in at 1:33.92 and the Eagles having a time of 1:38.92. East Side won the 4x400 meters with a time of 3:19.81, with Edwardsville second at 3:21.91 and Alton was third at 3:26.99, while Collinsville was in at 3:32.92 and Highland had a time of 3:44.39. In the 4x800 meters, the winners were the Panthers at 8:02.18, with the Tigers third at 8:14.99, the Redbirds were fourth at 8:18.69, the Flyers came in fifth at 8:19.00 and the Bulldogs were sixth at 8:28.26, while the Knights had a time of 8:33.99 and East Alton-Wood River was home at 9:08.94.

In the field events, the high jump was won by Jo'Viano Howard of Cahokia, going over at 2.00 meters, with Collinsville's K.J. Thorps-Watt tying for second with Nicholas Deloach of Cahokia, both going over at 1.95 meters, Deloach taking second on the fewest misses rule, Curtis Bownes of East Side was sixth, clearing 1.90 meters and teammate Denium Powell and Edwardsville's Devyon Hill-Lomax tied for seventh, both going over at 1.85 meters, with Powell taking seventh on the fewest misses rule. Ford went over at 1.80 meters and John Story of Highland cleared 1.70 meters. In the pole vault, Ethan Stukenberg of Edwardsville and Evan Alexander of Rochester shared the first place points, both going over at 4.32 meters, with the Tigers' Nick Helton sixth, going over at 3.71 meters and Zach Rice of the Knights clearing 3.10 meters and teammate Ben Hudson going over at 2.64 meters.

Kellen Brnfre of the Tigers won the long jump, going 6.73 meters, with teammate Jaydon Cole coming in sixth at 6.44 meters, Roxana's Paxton Osmoe had a jump of 6.17 meters and Shamond McClain of East Side went 6.13 meters. In the triple jump, Deloach won with a jump of 14.57 meters, with Thorps-Watt second at 13.46 meters, McClain was fourth at 12.81 meters and Edwardsville's Joshua Anoke was eighth at 12.39 meters, while teammate Brandon Young was right behind at 12.25 meters and Tyreque Baker of the Flyers had a jump of 12.15 meters.

In the shot put, the winner was JehChys Brown of Centralia, who had a throw of 18.00 meters, with Edwardsville's Iose Epenesa third at 15.74 meters, East Side's Andrew Bownes was fifth at 15.16 meters and Dorian Arguellas of the Tigers was seventh at 14.55 meters, while Jonathan Sewell of Collinsville got off a throw of 13.83 meters and Alton's Christian Hardin had a toss of 13.55 meters. In the discus throw, Brown also won, having a throw of 53.48 meters, with Epenesa second at 53.21 meters, Devin Habermehl of the Kahoks was fourth at 48.37 meters, Roxana's Ashton Noble was fifth at 48.00 meters, Sewell came in seventh at 45.45 meters and teammate Shane Box was eighth at 43.79 meters. CM's Josh Hodge came up with a throw of 43.52 meters and Bownes had a toss of 43.23 meters.

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