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Du Quoin boys track team wins own sectional title.

Byline: JUSTIN WALKER jwalker@dailyrepublicannews.com

DU QUOIN -- It came down to the last events but the Du Quoin High School boys track and field team dug deep on a drizzly Friday night at Van Metre Field and won the program's first sectional title since 2006.

The Indians compiled 107 points to win the Du Quoin 1A Sectional with rival Pinckneyville in second (99) and Vienna in third (89) and 12 total teams competing.

"We knew it was going to tight with us and Pinckneyville and Vienna has a good squad with some good athletes," said Du Quoin coach Derek Beard. "We had a couple events that we knew would be key and our relays stepped up big time today."

Sectional titles in track are coveted but the main goal is to qualify athletes for the state meet by placing in the top two or meeting a qualifying standard in an event.

The Indians are sending six events to the 1A preliminaries this coming Thursday in Charleston, including two relays, and have multiple athletes in two events.

Pinckneyville is sending all four relays and is qualified in nine total events.

Du Quoin took both spots in the pole vault as Kennan Johnston and Ethan Zettler cleared 11 feet and 10 feet, respectively.

In the shot put, Pinckneyville's Dalton Kitchen placed second at 46-11.5.

Neither school qualified anyone in the discus, high jump or long jump, but Du Quoin's Dasani Edward jumped a personal-best 42-11 in the triple jump to win the event and qualify for state -- after rolling his ankle during the long jump.

In the relays Pinckneyville won the 4x800 (8:24.10) and the 4x400 (3:33.87) and placed second in the 4x200 (1:36.75).

Du Quoin won the 4x100 in 44.93 behind a strong anchor leg push from Westly Milam, with Pinckneyville taking second at 45.26 to qualify. Also running for the Indians were Edward, Kyle Robinson and Zettler.

Du Quoin's 4x200 didn't qualify but placed third -- missing second by .22 seconds -- to secure some solid team points.

And the 4x400 of Caleb Davis, Carson Davis, Zettler and Darian Edward took second in 3:36.26 to allow all four the chance to run at O'Brien Stadium.

Pinckneyville's distance runners were Grant Batteau, Garrett Johnson, T.J. Borque, Stetson Lappin and Daniel Garavaglia. The Panthers' sprint relays featured Devin Kitchen, Lucas Downard, Ryan Brueggemann, Zach Obertini and Lappin.

The 110-meter hurdles was a big race for the Indians as Robinson took first in 15.86, followed by Johnston City's Luca Gualdoni (15.90) and Du Quoin's Shamar Adams (15.91).

Adams, who has battled a hamstring injury, went under the qualifying standard time of 15.96 and advances to state along with Robinson.

"Having Shamar back was big," Beard said. "He got us a lot of points in the hurdles and was able to qualify. I'm glad he's back."

Pinckneyville's Lappin won the 300 hurdles in 41.27 with Adams and Robinson placing sixth and seventh. The race was held after an ill-timed lightning delay.

Milam came up short in qualifying for the 100 dash with speedsters ahead of him, but charged in the 200 and placed third with a qualifying time of 23.08.

Pinckneyville's other qualifiers were Johnson, who won the mile in 4:40.66; Batteau, who won the 800 in 2:00.58; and Liam Oliver, who placed second in the two-mile run at 11:04.32.

Although they didn't qualify individually, the Indians won the sectional title by getting team points from distance runners Wade Roberson, John Alongi, John Gomes and the Davises.

More points were collected by throwers Toby Hottes, Ty're Dunklin and jumper Jacob Green.

"It was a good day," Beard said. "I knew we were capable of this, and I knew we were capable of the times we ran, but we've been a bit banged up. I was so proud of their effort. Everybody competed.

"They knew every point was important and they went after it and got it."
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Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:May 22, 2018
Words:675
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