The high school track scene now shifts from indoors to outdoors including the Eureka and Fieldcrest squads. The following is a capsule view of each team:

Eureka (girls)

Due to Dunlap’s continued enrollment increase, the Eagles will move up from two to three A this spring. That benefits the Hornets’ four by eight relay that returns senior Courtney Heffren, sophomore Alexi Fogo along with seniors Tessa Wiegand and Emma Argo. They posted a program-best time of nine minutes, 26 point 94 seconds, which was second to the Eagles’ 9:25.29 in the 2018 finals.

“They know they have a target on their back,” pointed out first-year coach Brandon Heider. “They know U-High is right around the corner. They walked away with the state indoor title (Saturday). That’s their motivation to win the outdoor.”

The four by four, which brings back senior Amy Pineda, Wiegand and Heffren, qualified, but did not place.

Heider, a former assistant, takes over for Olivia Morris, who resigned after two seasons. He’s logged 16 years as an assistant, as he started with the boys before he shifted to the girls.

He noted the transition has gone flawlessly.

“It’s easy, the distance girls especially, who I worked with,” Heider said. “It’s made my job easier.”

Heffren was ninth in the 400, while Argo (1600) and a pair of sophomores, Madison Colburn (discus) and Allison Schrock (pole vault), also qualified. Pineda, who recently gave a verbal commitment to Division II McKendree University, set the program standard in ’18 in the long jump at 17 feet 11 ½ inches. She spent her first season at Deer Creek-Mackinaw in ‘16, where she placed eighth in the event.

While the relays get a major of the pub, the field events have made waves as well.

“We like they’re being underrated,” said Heider. “Those three girls (Pineda, Colburn and Schrock), I think, have a chance to medal.”

A total out 38 girls are out, an increase of six from ’18.

“I like more,” Heider admitted. “I told the girls my goal was 40. The girls we have out maybe they can convince some others girls to come out.”

Eureka opens this afternoon at 4 p.m. with a triangular at Metamora along with Peoria Notre Dame. The rest of the schedule appears below:

April 2: versus Pleasant Plains & U-High, 4:30 p.m.

April 6: Metamora Invitational, 10 a.m.

April 11: John Levingston Invite @ Lewistown, 4:30 p.m.

April 12: Bloomington Invite, 4:30 p.m.

April 15: vs. Lowpoint-Washburn/Roanoke-Benson, Princeville & Tremont, 4:30 p.m.

April 18: Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley Invite, 4 p.m.

April 22: Elmwood/Brimfield Invite, 4:15 p.m.

April 26: Roger Washburn Invite, 4 p.m.

April 30: McLean County @ GCMS, 2 p.m.

May 3: Tremont Invite, 4 p.m.

May 9: Metamora Sectional, 4 p.m.

May 17 & 18: State @ Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium, Charleston

Notes: The Tremont Invite replaces the St. Joseph-Ogden Invite on the schedule. Heider’s wife, Jody (Klaus) Heider, and the former Olivia Klaus are first cousins. Dunlap (1,324) is 25 above the two A cutoff line of 1,279. The Eagles won the two A crown in ’18 with 102 points, which doubled second place East St. Louis Sr. (51). Heider is the son of former Lowpoint-Washburn basketball coach Gary Heider. The younger Heider has three assistants who will work with the field eventers in Caitlynn Bane (formerly Eeten), Kaleb Merritt and Keith Neilsen

Eureka (boys)

Two relays brought back state medals in ’18. The four by four, which returns senior Connor Standish and sophomores Aden Sears and Micah Senior off a third-place showing, where they set a program record of 3:21.91.

“It’s just one, being healthy and two, getting better,” declared Hornets’ coach Brett Charlton in terms of finishing higher. “Three of the boys went 49 (seconds) in their split. In reality, we can go under 3:20. This group is capable.”

Also, the four by two has junior Job Knapp, Sears and Senior in the fold from a quartet that finished eighth. A third relay, the four by eight, qualified, but did not make it to the finals. It returns Standish along with fellow seniors Eli Steinbeck and Alex Heinold.

“For sure, we can definitely get three out. I’m hopeful we can get all four out,” said Charlton, who starts his 19th spring at his alma mater.

He added the program has made a fairly seamless transition in the bump up from one to two A, as Eureka is in their fourth year in the larger classification.

“It has not affected us. In a lot of ways, it’s made us a better team,” Charlton explained. “It’s made us rise to the next level. They know we’re one of the smallest two A schools, but we’ve been very competitive.”

While state medalist Chase Hunziker (ninth, discus) and qualifier Emmanuel Blakes (300 hurdles) graduated, another qualifier, sophomore Elijah Skutt, returns in the high jump.

There are 53 boys on the roster, down a tick from 55 in ’18.

“We usually try to get to 50. It’s a good number. We’re more competitive in the relays and events. For a school our size, it’s the perfect number,” added Charlton.

On Monday, Sears took the 400 and long jump to help the Hornets to an 81-65 triumph over guest Metamora. Knapp (200), Skutt (triple jump) and Mitch Danner (300 hurdles) were among the other individual winners.

The remainder of the schedule is listed below:

April 2: versus Pleasant Plains & U-High, 4:30 p.m.

April 6: Metamora Invite, 10 a.m.

April 11: John Levingston Invite @ Lewistown, 4:30 p.m.

April 15: vs. LWRB, Peoria Quest Academy, Princeville & Tremont, 4:30 p.m.

April 19: Metamora ABC, 5 p.m.

April 22: E/B Invite, 4:15 p.m.

April 26: Roger Washburn Invite, 4 p.m.

April 30: McLean County @ GCMS, 2 p.m.

May 3: Clinton Carnival, 4:30 p.m.

May 9: vs. Deer Creek-Mackinaw, Farmington & Ridgeview, 4:15 p.m.

May 11: Mahomet-Seymour Invite, 10 a.m.

May 16: Macomb Sectional, 4 p.m.

May 24 & 25: State @ EIU

Notes: The four by two could break the program standard of 1:29.56. Their fastest time last year was 1:30.8. Knapp, Sears, sophomore Hunter Gladson and Senior set a new indoor mark at Saturday’s Top Times Meet at Illinois Wesleyan’s Shirk Center in Bloomington (1:33.5).


Sam Bane is the new boys’ coach, as he has been promoted from an assistant to take over for Nathan Roemer, who resigned after one season. There are 22 boys on the roster, which includes junior long distance triplets Andrew, Connor and Ryan Gochanour. Another in the distance picture is sophomore Victor Echeveste.

There are only six girls out for Carol Bauer, who starts her 24th season as coach. Her most experienced individual is distance runner Sadie White, the lone senior on the squad. There are four juniors and one sophomore.

The Knights’ schedule is as follows (all events are co-ed unless indicated):

Monday: vs. Bureau Valley & Henry/Midland @ Manlius, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday: @ Deer Creek-Mackinaw with El Paso-Gridley, Olympia & Prairie Central. 4 p.m.

April 6: Don Gooden Invite @ Mendota, 10 a.m.

April 9: @ Seneca with Beecher & Westmont, 4:30 p.m.

April 13: Rollie Morris Invite @ Spring Valley Hall, 9:30 a.m.

April 16: Livingston Co. Invite @ Pontiac, 4 p.m.

April 23: @ Heyworth with Blue Ridge, Fisher, Ridgeview & Tri-Valley, 4:15 p.m.

April 25 (girls): Ridgeview Invite @ Colfax, 4:15 p.m.

April 30: McLean Co. @ GCMS, 2 p.m.

May 3 (girls): Tremont Invite, 4 p.m.

May 6: @ EP-G with DCM, Eureka, H/M, Heyworth & Peoria Christian, 4 p.m.

May 7 (boys): Ridgeview Invite @ Colfax, 4:15 p.m.

May 9 (girls): EP-G Sectional, 3:30 p.m.

May 13 (boys): Tremont Invite, 4 p.m.

May 15 (boys): Lewistown Sectional


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