TOLONO – Brandon Noe's discus throw at the Unity Invitational track and field meet Friday was so long that officials couldn't measure it.
At least not at first.
After the St. Thomas More senior uncorked a prodigious heave, the 200-foot tape on hand proved to be too short. When a 250-foot tape was located about 10 minutes later, it confirmed what Noe already sensed.
"I knew it was pretty big," he said. "I didn't know how big."
Noe knows now. The University of Illinois recruit reached 203 feet, 7 inches – the second-longest throw in high school state history, according to the IHSA's website.
The record is 205-8 by Dan Block of Roselle Lake Park at the 2009 Class 3A state meet.
Noe also eclipsed the all-time News-Gazette Area mark of 190-6, set in 1977 by Dave Eichelberger of Champaign Central.
"Two hundred is huge," said an elated Noe, whose previous personal best was 189-2.
The Saber strongman, who also won the shot put (54-4), said he never imagined breaking the 200-foot barrier so early in his career.
"In the distant future, yes, but I did not think it was going to happen, realistically, this year anyway," he said. "As far as college goes, I hadn't looked that far ahead."
Because of the way he felt during his practice throws, Noe sensed he might set a new personal record.
"I felt good," he said. "I knew it was going to be a big day and I just had to stay relaxed. ... I do what I practice every day and treat it like a practice. If I get too amped up, things go downhill."
Noe vowed not to be content with Friday's feat.
"Of course I always want to throw farther," he said. "I'm very happy for right now, but we've still got some work to do, and I think I can throw farther."
Unity won the 13-team meet with 128.5 points. St. Joseph-Ogden finished second with 118.
St. Thomas More's Jade Ackerman swept the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Sophomore Colby Purcell of the champion Rockets won the 800. The runner-up Spartans captured the 3,200 relay and had two field event winners: Kyle Dyke in high jump and Alex Arteaga in pole vault.
At Tuscola. Jud Wienke won the discus and the Tuscola 400 relay also placed first to lead the hosts to the title of the Tuscola Open. Guy Kirby of Fisher swept the 100 and 200 dashes. Josh Chandler of Salt Fork also was a double-winner, in the long jump and triple jump.
At Mattoon. Ian Wells of Champaign Central won the 400 meters at the Mattoon Invitational.
In girls' track & field:
At Tuscola. Mariah Coleman of East Central won the 100 meters and Lindsay Troike of Tuscola captured the 800 at the Tuscola Open. Other area winners were Toria Plotner of Salt Fork in the long jump, Olivia Herzog of Sullivan/Okaw Valley in the shot put, Salt Fork in the 400 relay and Sullivan/Okaw Valley in the 800 relay.
In bass fishing:
Clinton trio reigns. Clinton won its own sectional and will be joined at the state meet by Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley and Monticello. The Maroons trio of sophomore Austin Cooley and Brandon Bateson, and senior Jacob Bateson caught 5 five totaling 16.45 pounds.
The GCMS team of Drew Chase, Trevor Litwiller, Cameron Redeker and Trevor Smith finished second with four fish weighing a combined 15.65 pounds.
Monticello seniors Cole Hunt and Chad Myler placed third with five catches weighing 14.22.
Westville 13, Milford 1. Lauren Kirkpatrick went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs to back the three-hit pitching of Taylor Ceader in Westville's home victory. Emily Taylor also went 2 for 3 for the Tigers with two RBI. Ceader (11-4) struck out three and did not allow an earned run.
Heritage 17, Arcola 7. Erin Wienke went 3 for 4 with three RBI to lead Heritage to a home victory. Teammate Katie Rutledge went 2 for 2 for the Hawks (10-2, 7-1 LOVC).
Arcola 5, EC 3. Garrison Stenger held East Central to two hits and struck out 12 in pitching Arcola to a road victory. Nik Duffle went 2 for 4 for the Purple Riders (7-7).
Westville 10, Milford 6. Nick Jones drove in five runs and allowed no earned runs in 41/3 innings to lead Westville to a road victory. Jones went 2 for 2 with a double and a walk. He also struck out seven while walking one before being relieved.
Jeremy Mullins was 2 for 4 with two RBI for the Tigers. Zach Davis contributed two hits, two runs and an RBI to the win.
For Milford, Dylan Price tripled and Kyle Evans had a double.