Four athletes, three relays, three records. Any way you slice it, that was the story for the Litchfield boys track team on Thursday, May 17. Oh, and one trip to Charleston, or two if all goes well.
Litchfield seniors Keating Monroe, Dre Holloway and Trevor Geggie, along with junior Sam Painter, earned three spots in the IHSA Class 1A State Finals track meet, which will be held at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston on May 24, with the finals of the meet held two days later on May 26.
The quartet set three school records in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400, helping the Panthers to a third place finish at the sectional behind Carlinville (108) and Madison (141).
In the 4x100, the group broke a record that was just days old, having set the mark of 43.99 seconds on May 14, at the Capital Area Classic. Prior to that, the record was held by two teams from 1981 (Barker/Graham/Kellenberger/Bishop) and 2008 (Chris Wolff/Anthony Robinson/Michael Whitfield/Nick Thull) with a time of 44.04.
Thursday's sectional time obliterated both marks as the foursome ran a 43.54 to beat second place Madison by .23 seconds.
In the 4x200, the Panthers beat Madison by .48 seconds, running a 1:31.50 to the Trojans' 1:31.98. Litchfield's time beat the old record of 1:32.72, which was put up by Tom Reents, Kelson Triplett, Chris Fenton and Cole Grosenheider in 2014.
The last of the three records came in the last race of the night. By just .21 seconds, the Panthers came from behind to beat Carlinville, with Trevor Geggie passing Witchita State-bound Jason Landon in the final few hundred meters to post a time of 3:27.01 to Carlinville's 3:27.22.
The previous record was set last year, with Geggie also a part of that group, along with Ethan Guinn, Ty Durbin and Chris Durbin, who ran a 3:27.4 at sectionals.
Like this year's squad (and the 4x200), last year's 4x400 team advanced to state and won their heat, only to have the rug pulled out from under them as they were disqualified for taking too many steps in a different lane on a curve.
With a new set of teammates surrounding him, Geggie now has a shot to heal old wounds in Charleston.
While Charleston is familiar territory for one senior, another will be making his first appearance at the state finals. Bailey Powell will be joining the three relay teams at state after clearing 12'8" to win the pole vault at the sectional.
Powell would miss once, his opening jump at 11'8", before clearing his next three marks. Gervasio Marchizza of Auburn was second, while Isaac Daugherty of Carlinville was third. Both Marchizza and Daugherty also cleared 12'8", but not until their second jump. Will Carlile would finish fifth for the Panthers, clearing 11'2" to miss the state qualifying standard by 12 inches.
Austin Niehaus would nearly push the Panthers to another state qualifying spot. The Litchfield sophomore finished third in the 1600, 6.12 seconds behind second place Javon Watkins of Madison and 14.01 seconds behind first place Shane Yamco of Riverton.
Niehaus was just 4.84 seconds away from the state qualifying standard in the 1600 and was 14.22 seconds from the state qualifying standard in the 4x800, where he teamed up with Damon Burdell, Alex Fischer and Sean Dearinger to run an 8:49.19.
Going into the state meet, Litchfield is seeded 10th in the 4x100, fourth in the 4x200 and third in the 4x400. The Panthers have four state medals from the relays: a fifth in the mile in 1979, a fourth in the 4x100 in 1981, a third in the 4x400 in 1995 and a sixth in the 4x100 in 2008.
If Geggie, Holloway, Monroe and Painter can run like they did at sectionals, their names may be added to that list as well.
May 17 at Litchfield
Class 1A Track Sectional
Boys Team Results: 1. Madison 141; 2. Carlinville 108; 3. Litchfield 49; 4. Auburn 43; 5. Riverton 37; 6. Father McGivney 24; 7. North Mac 23; 8. Marquette 17; 8. Gillespie 17; 8. Carrollton 17; 11. Springfield Lutheran 16; 12. New Berlin 15; 13. Metro-East Lutheran 10; 14. Bunker Hill 8; 15. Pawnee 2.
Litchfield Boys Results
High Jump: 4. Grant Shelton 5’11”
Pole Vault: 1. Bailey Powell 12’8”; 5. Will Carlile 11’2”
Long Jump: 16. Grant Shelton 15’11”
Triple Jump: 5. Grant Shelton 38’10.75”
Shot Put: 15. Jefferson Thomas 33’1”; 20. Dalton Maxwell 27’8”
Discus: 6. Jefferson Thomas 111’3”; 17. Dylan Maxwell 92’7”
100: 15. Dayton Belcher 11.99; 21. Colton Wall 12.88
200: 12. Dayton Belcher 24.51; 23. Colton Wall 26.80
400: 10. Dayton Belcher 56.90; 18. Colton Wall 1:01.53
800: 7. Alex Fischer 2:09.49; 14. Damon Burdell 2:24.43
1600: 3. Austin Niehaus 4:44.37; 18. Sean Dearinger 5:32.92
4x100: 1. Dre Holloway/Sam Painter/Keating Monroe/Trevor Geggie 43.54
4x200: 1. Dre Holloway/Sam Painter/Keating Monroe/Trevor Geggie 1:31.50
4x400: 1. Keating Monroe/Sam Painter/Dre Holloway/Trevor Geggie 3:27.01
4x800: 4. Austin Niehaus/Damon Burdell/Alex Fischer/Sean Dearinger 8:49.19