EDWARDSVILLE - The new outdoor track and field season got off to a successful start as Edwardsville won the Southern Illinois Relays meet Friday afternoon at the Winston Brown Track Center at Edwardsville High, while Alton finished in a tie for sixth place and Granite City came in ninth.

The Tigers had a score of 148 points to win the meet, with O'Fallon coming in second with 113 points, Belleville West was third at 91 points, Collinsville was fourth with 81 points, Belleville East came in fifth at 43.5 points, the Redbirds tied for sixth with Mascoutah at 36 points apiece, Rockwood Summit of Fenton, Mo. was eighth at 32.5 points and the Warriors were ninth with 25 points.

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Although the weather conditions were a bit chilly and windy, the sun was out from start to finish, making it a very pleasant day for the opening of the outdoor season. And the Tigers had a great start to the season as well.

"We're off to a good start," said Edwardsville head coach Chad Lakatos. "It's a chilly start, it's been windy and chilly all day, but the kids have not complained, they've performed well. Overall, I'm pleased with this first outdoor meet."

As with everyone involved with the meet itself, Lakatos felt that it was great to be back out with everyone after the cancellation of the meet in both 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Most definitely," Lakatos said. "We haven't run this meet in two years. And you look around, nobody's wearing masks, everybody's healthy, everybody's having fun. It's just a great feeling, the sun's out. You couldn't ask for more."

Although the wind was strong throughout, putting a chill into everything, it was great just to be back out and running things as close to normal as possible.

"Most definitely," Lakatos said with a smile. "Indefinitely chilly. It's not fun running in a tank top in these conditions. But these guys are toughing it out, I don't want them to get a bad experience with our sport. Sometimes, you have to run in these conditions. And our guys have stepped up and performed well today."

Redbird coach Jeff White was also pleased to be outdoors and competing in the meet as well.

"It's good to be outside in a normal season," White said, "to be kicking things off with this relay meet. It's a good chance to get outside for the first time and see what we have looking forward to the end of the year."

And things looked exceptionally well for the Redbirds also.

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"We've had some nice surprises in the field events," White said, "in the discus and in the long jump. Gage Depew and Christian Hardin in the discus, they got third and seventh and Noah Hardin, I think he got seventh in the long jump. But we were pretty happy with those performances coming out. Noah's new at track, so he's doing a pretty good job and in his first meet. And Simon McClaine in the 110 hurdles, he got second place, went 17.00. And so, I think Simon is going to be a standout athlete for us this year in the hurdle races."

Overall, White was very happy with how things were turning out in the opening meet.

"As a team, we're happy to be out here," White said, "and the weather, it was a little cool, but the sun is out, I think the wind died down a little bit here. But we're happy to be out here and running track this spring and doing things, like in a normal season."

In the 100 meters, Tamarion Bivines of O'Fallon won with a time of 11.10 seconds, while the Tigers' Johnnie Robinson came in at 11.88 seconds, Ron Ivy of the Warriors had a time of 11.96 seconds and Jacoibi West of the Redbirds was in at 13.24 seconds. In the 110 meter hurdles, Lakatos won with a time of 16.70 seconds, with McClaine second at 17.00 seconds, Granite's Amari Rodgers-Parott was sixth at 17.71 seconds and Ajaylin Rodgers-Parott's time was 22.72 seconds. In the 300 meter hurdles, Lakatos won his second event with a time of 42.82 seconds, with Anthony Butler of the Redbirds seventh at 47.84 seconds and teammate Davonte Miller coming in at 55.90 seconds.

In the 1,600 meters, Noah O'Renic of the Maroons won with a time of 4:44.80, while Edwardsville freshman Hugh Davis was second at 4:51.56, teammate Scott Baxter was fifth at 5:07.88, Granite's Sam Yeager was eighth at 5:17.95, while teammate Aiden Harris came in at 5:20.14, the Redbirds' Marquez Singleton was clocked in 6:01.20 and teammate Isaiah Ouechani came in at 6:02.22.

In the relay races, West won the 4x100 meters with a time of 43.85 seconds, with Edwardsville second at 43.97 and Granite fourth at 47.06. The 4x200 meters went to the Maroons at 1:31.59, with the Tigers second at 1:32.75 and the Redbirds were fourth at 1:39.00. The Maroons and Tigers also finished one-two in the 4x400 relay, with West coming in at 3:34.28, Edwardsville having a time of 3:41.37, Granite City was in at 3:55.15 and Alton's time was 3:58.65. In the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay, Belleville East was the winner at 3:44.00, with the Tigers coming in at exactly 4:00.00. Edwardsville won the 4,000-meter distance medley relay at 11:03.05, with Alton coming in fourth at 11:58.36.

In the field events, Collinsville's Khalil Thorps-Watt won the high jump, going over at 1.78 meters (five feet, 10 inches), while Deshawn Larson of Edwardsville tied for second with Zach Wolf of Belleville West at 1.73 meters (five feet, eight inches), with Larson taking second on the fewest misses tiebreak.

Ethan Stukenberg of the Tigers took the pole vault, going over at 12 feet even, while Sonny McGill of Belleville East won the long jump, going 6.19 meters (20 feet, three-and-three-quarter inches), with Noah Hardin placing seventh at 5.75 meters (18 feet, 10-and-a-half inches), the Tigers' Beau Brandt came in eighth at 5.68 meters (18 feet, seven-and-three-quarters inches), Ian Poston of Granite jumped 5.59 meters (18 feet, four-and-a-quarter inches), and Ajaylin Rodgers-Parott went 5.32 meters (17 feet, five-and-a-half inches).

Thorps-Watt took the triple jump, going 13.66 meters (44 feet, nine-and-three-quarters inches), with Edwardsville's Gino Montgomery second at 12.42 meters (40 feet, nine inches), teammate Brandon Young was third at 12.40 meters (40 feet, eight-and-a-quarter inches), Ivan Gaston of the Warriors was sixth at 11.35 meters (37 feet, three inches) and teammate Paramanmol Singh had a jump of 10.42 meters (34 feet, two-and-a-quarter inches).

Kevin Meza of the Kahoks won the shot put with a toss of 14.22 meters (46 feet, eight inches), tying with the Tigers' Iose Epenesa, but Meza won on a tiebreak, Granite Jayden Moore was fourth at 11.97 meters (39 feet, three-and-a-quarter inches), the Tigers' Dalton Brown came in eighth at 11.12 meters (36 feet, five-and-three-quarter inches), Alton's Christian Hardin had a throw of 10.60 meters (34 feet, nine-and-a-half inches), teammate Brandon Hayes came up with a toss of 10.33 meters (33 feet, 10-and-three-quarters inches) and Granite Jcoryn Landry had a throw of 9.20 meters (30 feet, two-and-a quarter inches). Finally, in the discus throw, Epenesa won with a toss of 43.25 meters (141 feet, 11 inches), while Depew was third at 35.54 meters (116 feet, seven inches), the Tigers' Nathan Chapman was fourth at 34.66 meters (113 feet, eight inches), Christian Hardin was seventh at 29.63 meters (97 feet, two inches), Landry had a throw of 25.83 meters (84 feet, nine inches) and Moore came up with a toss of 21.84 meters (60 feet, five inches).

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