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Alton had several athletes achieve personal bests at Wednesday's Southwestern Conference Boys Track Championship at O'Fallon Township High School.
For a team that will be graduating just one senior and is dominated by freshmen and sophomores, AHS' 37 points could be considered impressive.
Edwardsville ran away with the team title, scoring 192 points to far outdistance the host Panthers' 125 points. Belleville West was third with 113 points, Collinsville was fourth at 108, Granite City was fifth with 53, East St. Louis was sixth at 49, then came the Redbirds and Belleville East, who brought up the rear with 13 points.
In the junior varsity competition, the Redbirds finished last with 14 points. The Tigers won the JV title as well, scoring 208 points to win going away; East St. Louis was second with 149, O'Fallon was third with 118, Belleville West fourth at 52, Granite City fifth with 36, Belleville East sixth with 31 and Collinsville was seventh with 29.
“We did pretty well,” said Redbird coach Eric Dickerson. “We had several PRs (personal records) today, and that was a pleasant surprise. Our discus throwers (Kalen Samelton and Zach Llewellyn) finished fourth and fifth and we really fought and competed very well.
“We're a really young team and I think we have some really good days ahead of us. We've run well all year and we've got a really good future ahead of us. What we need to do now is just keep working and head to the (IHSA Class 3A) sectional in a good frame of mind.”
The meet paid points for the top eight finishers in each individual event on a 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis; in relays, the top seven finishers were paid points.
In addition to Samelton and Llewellyn, who had throws of 151-2 and 142-1 respectively, Redbirds who finished in points-paying positions included Brooklyn Ellison, fifth in the high jump at 5-7; Tony Dobbins, seventh in the long jump at 19-9.5; Llewellyn, eighth in the shot put with a toss of 45-10.5; the 4x800 relay team of Arie Macias, James Steinman, Lamar Agnew and Alexander Davis, fifth in 8:32.82; the 4x100 relay team of Larry Calvin, Harrison Henderson, Simeon Brown and Tony Dobbins, sixth in 44.82 seconds; the 4x200 relay team of Antonio Henderson, Brown, Ronald Gilchrese and Dobbins, fifth in 1:34.34; Gilchrese, fourth in the 400 in 51.16 seconds; and Macias, fourth in the 1,600 in 4:34.29.
The Redbirds did not have an individual champion in the JV portion of the meet.
Individual champions on the day included Collinsville's Bailey Crone in the high jump; O'Fallon's Mason Hewitt in the pole vault; Edwardsville's Fontez Davis in the long jump; East St. Louis' James Smith in the triple jump; Edwardsville's A.J. Epensesa in the discus throw; Belleville West's Ricky Nelson in the shot put; Granite City's Juwan Riggins, Tyler Manion, Will O'Keefe and Zach Manion in the 4x800 relay; Belleville West in the 4x100 relay; O'Fallon's Dorian Gorman in the 3,200; Edwardsville's Travis Anderson in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles; O'Fallon's Demontez McCray in the 100, 200 and 400; Edwardsville's Wes Schoenthal in the 800 and 1,600; Collinsville in the 4x200 relay; and East St. Louis in the 4x400 relay.
Epenesa's discus throw of 180-4 shattered a 43-year-old mark in the event, which had been held by Granite City's Tim Robbers in the 1972 meet; Robbers had a throw of 176-5. The oldest record still on the books remained Belleville West's Tom Stock's shot put of 62-6.5, set in the 1970 championship.
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