Buffaloes come out on top, but success is had all around
CATLIN – Seven schools competed in Tuesday's Vermilion Valley Conference boys' track and field meet. Four schools can stake a claim to having had the most success in some capacity.
Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman led the point parade (132) with its total equally distributed between the running and field events (66-66).
Bismarck-Henning and Westville can point to having the most athletes capture first-place medals. Counting victorious relays, both schools had five squad members who were crowned champions.
Schlarman can proudly boast of being the only VVC school with an athlete to win three individual events. Sophomore Solomon Crenshaw was triumphant in the 100 meters, the long jump and the high jump, the latter an event where he set a meet record.
In the 12 running events, no school scored more points than Westville (107), which featured Danny Lewis sweeping the hurdles races and teammate Alex McMahon edging 400-meter champion Cody Eells, from Hoopeston Area, in the 200 finals.
"Winning the hurdles is great, but helping the team out is what I'm here for," said Lewis, who ran a 2:04 split on the anchor leg of the 3,200 relay, which the Tigers won.
He took the baton after Jacob Gooch, Mitchell Bryant and Michael Kirby had their turns. Lewis also ran the open 800 "for the first time in competition," and was second to Bismarck-Henning's Luke Switzer.
G-RF/C, competing without two of its top sprinters, built an insurmountable lead in the field events. Coach Tom Kulbartz places an emphasis in that area.
"If you come out of the field with a big lead, you're hard to beat because everyone else has to play catchup," he said.
The Buffaloes had double placers in all five jumping and throwing events, including Joey Reisinger's dominance in the shot put (meet-record 53-10 1/2) and discus, where he missed a meet mark by 13 inches with a 152-8 toss.
"We get a lot of points out of our field events," Reisinger said. "Most people overlook field-event people. We get it done so we can win the meet."
Teammate Dalton Lorenzen was the winner in both the 1,600 and 3,200 races.
"It felt good to have good competition before the sectional (on Friday at Tuscola)," Lorenzen said. "I'm getting back on track to where I should be."
Schlarman coach Greg Brant was unsure what to expect from Crenshaw, who has been sidelined 18 days with a hamstring injury.
"We had to force him to stop running," Brant said. "He did some light jogging and we put him in the weight room."
Crenshaw won the 100 (11.61 seconds) in the closest running final. Runner-up McMahon was timed in 11.65.
Crenshaw captured the long jump by more than a foot and his 6-0 1/4 leap in the high jump was not only his personal best, but also 4 inches higher than his closest pursuer. He reached the record on his final attempt.
"This is my first year doing high jump," Crenshaw said. "On the last jump, I cleared my mind and took some different steps."
The third meet record occurred in the day's final event. The same four B-H runners who teamed up to win the 400 relay returned to outrace everyone in the meet-ending 1,600 relay.
Jarod Thomason, Alex Kentner, Brian Clapp and anchor Hugo Sanchez toured the track in 3:42.52, good enough for a nine-second triumph. In the 400 relay, Clapp ran the anchor leg and finished 0.17 second ahead of Salt Fork's No. 4 runner.
Kentner joined Lewis and Crenshaw as the VVC athletes to earn three first-place patches. He won the triple jump by more than 21 inches with a best of 38-11 1/2.
Host Salt Fork's lone victory came in the 800 relay. Caleb Williams, Josh Lester, Brodie Pirie and Chet Moreland teamed up for a 1:38.72 time.
Following G-RF/C (which had placers in every event but the 400 meters) in the team chase were Westville (110), Bismarck-Henning (84), Salt Fork (78), Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac (45), Schlarman (42) and Hoopeston Area (31).
The Buffaloes were without sprinters J.W. Harris, who was nursing a leg muscle injury, and Quentin Van Steenwinkel.