H.S. TRACK PREVIEW: Locals seeking multiple qualifiers again

H.S. TRACK PREVIEW: Locals seeking multiple qualifiers again

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Eureka and Fieldcrest were represented with multiple entries at the 2019 state finals. Each will try to accomplish that again this spring. The following is capsule look at each team:

Eureka (boys)

After winning at Macomb, their first sectional title since being bumped up from one to two A, the Hornets placed ninth at Charleston. Their goal is a bit loftier with a push toward a trophy (top three).

“We have about everybody back in the field and running events,” commented head coach Brett Charlton. “A lot of guys have improved and gotten better. I think it’s doable.”

The four by four relay, which returns senior Job Knapp and a pair of juniors in Aden Sears and Micah Senior, went a program-best three minutes 18 point 52 seconds to take second behind East St. Louis (3:18.13).

“We have three guys back and a number of options for that fourth spot,” said Charlton, who begins his 20th year. “Last year, we went down with the idea we were going to challenge East St. Louis and we gave them all they wanted.”

The four by eight, which only returns senior Jack Cook, finished eighth, while the four by two welcomes back Knapp, Senior and junior Hunter Gladson. The quartet did not make it to the finals.

In the field, Trevor Heffren went six feet nine inches to win the high jump and is after a repeat.

“I definitely think it’s a possibility,” Charlton declared. “Last year, he did well at nationals. It gave him a lot of confidence. Coming out of basketball, that helps kids in the high jump.”

According to Charlton, the sophomore could challenge the elusive 7-0 barrier.

“I think he has a shot at it,” he summed up.

Another medalist back is Sears, who took seventh in the 400. Knapp (200), senior Luke Wells (300 hurdles), junior Mitchell Danner (300 hurdles) and junior and two-time qualifier Elijah Skutt (high jump) all advanced to the big meet.

The Hornets’ schedule appears below:

April 11: Metamora Relays, 11 a.m.

April 16: John Levingston Relays @ Lewistown, 4 p.m.

April 20: versus Lowpoint-Washburn/Roanoke-Benson, Princeville & Tremont, 4:30 p.m.

April 24: Metamora ABC, 5 p.m.

April 25: Winston Brown Invitational @ Edwardsville, 11 a.m.

April 27: Elmwood/Brimfield Relays, 4:15 p.m.

May 1: Roger Washburn Invite, 4 p.m.

May 5: McLean County @ Fisher, 2 p.m.

May 8: Clinton Carnival, 4:30 p.m.

May 11: @ El Paso-Gridley with Fieldcrest, 4:30 p.m.

May 14: vs. Deer Creek-Mackinaw, Farmington & Ridgeview, 4:30 p.m.

May 16: Mahomet-Seymour Invite, 10 a.m.

May 21: Metamora Sectional, 4 p.m.

May 29-30: State @ Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium, Charleston

Notes: According to Charlton, there are total of 55 out this spring. Eureka competed in three meets before the rest of the indoor portion was cancelled due to the coronavirus. The March 30 outdoor opener at Metamora was also wiped out, as is the April 2 home opener with Prairie Central and April 7 with guests Pleasant Plains and U-High. The invite at downstate Edwardsville is new on the schedule. Heffren is an inch off the program record shared by Harrison Hearne (1980) and Doug Dossey (’90)

Eureka (girls)

Two relays brought back medals from the Coles County seat, as the four by eight took third and the four by four placed sixth. Junior Alexi Fogo is the lone returnee off the four by eight, while classmate Katelyn Knapp the only one of the quartet on the shorter one.

According to second-year head coach Brandon Heider, he is confident both will have a return engagement.

“I think both do have an equal chance,” he said. “And both have a chance to get a medal.”

Junior Allison Schrock has qualified twice in the pole vault, but has yet to medal. The 10-6 she cleared in the preliminaries tied the program standard with Amy Meyer (2006) and Kelsey Heinold (’11).

“We feel pretty good. She’s worked hard in the Flying Dragons program,” pointed out Heider. “She’s really excited to try to get to that next step up and I’m excited for her.”

Fogo also qualified in the mile, while sophomore Anna Perry did the same in the 3200.

“She’s been the leader of the group,” said Heider of Fogo. “She got off to a fast start. She could break five (minutes) 10 (seconds). She’s on that type of pace.”

The team’s schedule is as follows:

April 11: Metamora Relays, 11 a.m.

April 16: John Levingston Relays @ Lewistown, 4 p.m.

April 17: Bloomington Invite, 4:15 p.m.

April 20: vs. LWRB, Princeville & Tremont, 4:30 p.m.

April 24: Dunlap Relays, 4 p.m.

April 27: Elmwood/Brimfield Relays, 4:15 p.m.

May 1: Roger Washburn Invite, 4 p.m.

May 5: McLean Co. @ Fisher, 2 p.m.

May 11: @ EP-G with Fieldcrest, 4:30 p.m.

May 14: Macomb Sectional, 3 p.m.

May 22-23: State @ EIU

Notes: According to Heider, there are 35 out. Eureka participated in two meets before the indoor portion was shelved. With the schools now closed through April 7, the March 31 outdoor opener at Metamora with Peoria Notre Dame and the April 2 home debut with Pleasant Plans and U-H are cancelled. The Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Invite is off the schedule

Fieldcrest

The four by eight of seniors Ryan Gochanour, Andrew Gochanour and Andy Wiesenhofer plus junior Christian Skaggs combined forces to reach Charleston.

The quartet will hope for lightning to strike twice.

“I feel like our chances are very strong,” said Knights’ coach Carol Bauer of back-to-back appearances. “What we did after cross country and going to a difficult sectional, we worked hard. We had real hard practices.”

There are 17 boys out for first-year coach C.J. Hamilton, who served as an assistant last season.

The 10-girl squad is led by senior Ellen Hood, who qualified in the 200, and will try to return in the sprint event.

“She has a chance. It depends on how deeply stacked the sectional is,” stated Bauer, who starts her 25th season with the girls. “She showed good improvement in cross country with her strength. She has good genetic foot speed.”

The schedule appears below (all meets are co-ed unless indicated):

April 11: Don Gooden Invite @ Mendota, 9:30 a.m.

April 14: @ Seneca with Beecher & Westmont, 4:30 p.m.

April 18: Rollie Morris Invite @ Spring Valley Hall, 9:30 a.m.

April 20: LWRB Cinder Classic @ R-B, 4 p.m.

April 21: Livingston County Invite @ Pontiac, 4 p.m.

April 28: @ Heyworth with Blue Ridge, Fisher, Ridgeview & Tri-Valley, 4:15 p.m.

April 30 (girls): Ridgeview Invite @ Colfax, 4:15 p.m.

May 5: McLean Co. @ Fisher, 2 p.m.

May 8 (boys): Tremont Invite, 4 p.m.

May 11: @ EP-G with Eureka, 4:30 p.m.

May 12 (boys): Ridgeview Invite @ Colfax, 4:15 p.m.

May 14 (girls): Tremont Sectional, 3:30 p.m.

May 21 & 23 (girls): State @ EIU

May 21 (boys): EP-G Sectional, 3:30 p.m.

May 28 & 30 (boys): State @ EIU

Notes: Each squad got an indoor meet in before the cancellation was announced two weeks ago. The April 6 outdoor opener with host Bureau Valley and Henry/Midland at Manlius is off as well as a pentangular the next day at Deer Creek-Mackinaw along with EP-G, Olympia and Prairie Central. The LWRB Cinder Classic is new on the schedule. In ’19, there were just seven girls out.

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