When it comes to jumping, Litchfield senior Sam Painter is probably known more for his leaping ability on the basketball court than in the track and field arena, but after Thursday’s performance at the Gillespie Sectional, maybe that shouldn’t be the case.
Painter placed first in the long jump and triple jump, setting a school record in the latter, as he grabbed two of Litchfield’s three qualifications for the IHSA Class 1A State Finals track meet, on Thursday, May 23.
Painter, who will be joined by the Panther 4x800 squad, popped a school record leap of 43’7.5” in the triple jump to earn a spot in Charleston. The jump was the sixth best sectional mark in Class 1A and was nine inches further than South County’s Will Ross, who still managed to post the eighth best sectional mark.
Painter also posted the 12th best mark in the long jump, winning the sectional with a jump of 21’4.5”. That means that Painter will have a chance to make the final in two events, two events he just started doing competitively this season.
While Painter also went to state last year as part of the Panthers’ 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 state qualifiers, classmates Damon Burdell and Alex Fischer will be making their state debut with junior Austin Niehaus and freshman Cameron Crow as part of the 4x800 relay.
The Panthers would run an 8:37.50 to finish second at the sectional, with Father McGivney taking first with a time of 8:28.60.
Litchfield has the 28th best sectional time in the field, with Tremont running the quickest 4x800 at 8:06.22.
The Panthers have never medalled in the 4x800 or the triple jump, but have two top eight finishes in the long jump, with Troy Burris taking fifth in 1993 and Tom Reents taking eighth in 2014, Litchfield’s last podium appearance in boys track.
As a team, Litchfield finished tied for fifth overall with Father McGivney with 41 points, three behind New Berlin for fourth. Carlinville would run away with the sectional title, picking up 95.5 points in Coach Ken Garrison’s final season at the helm, while Auburn (57.5) and Madison (49) were second and third.
In addition to the state qualifiers, Litchfield got points in four other events. In the pole vault, Garrett Flitz and Will Carlile would finish fourth and fifth, both clearing 11’9”, six inches short of the state qualifying mark of 12’3”.
The Litchfield 4x400 team of Crow, Carlile, Niehaus and Fischer also finished fourth, running a 3:38.23, about five seconds off the state qualifying mark of 3:33.81.
In the 1600, Eithan Rigsbey would finish fifth overall, posting a time of 5:12.39. The state qualifying time for the event is 4:39.50, with only Tyler Guthrie of Father McGivney bettering that time in Gillespie. Kevin Pollard would finish just behind Rigsbey in seventh, posting a time of 5:13.76.
Junior Jefferson Thomas would advance to the finals in both throws, finishing sixth in the discus with a mark of 130’7.5” and eighth in the shot, throwing 41’0”. The state qualifying mark for discus was 140’8”, while the qualifying mark for shot put was 47’10”.
On Thursday, Painter will be at it early as the field events begin at 10 a.m. at O’Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University. The 4x800 team also won’t have to wait long as the race kicks off the running portion at 11 a.m.
May 16 at Gillespie
Class 1A Gillespie Sectional
Team Results: 1. Carlinville 95.5; 2. Auburn 57.5; 3. Madison 49; 4. New Berlin 44; 5. Litchfield 41; 5. Father McGivney 41; 7. Carrollton 37; 8. Southwestern 34; 9. Riverton 33; 10. North Mac 31; 11. Gillespie 24; 12. Metro-East Lutheran 22; 13. South County 20; 14. Alton Marquette 11; 15. Bunker Hill 6.
Litchfield Boys Results
100: 20. Chance Sisson 12.86; 26. Chase Dealey 13.12
200: 19. Chase Dealey 27.22
400: 12. Damon Burdell 57.48
800: 12. Eithan Rigsbey 2:24.69
1600: 5. Eithan Rigsbey 5:12.39; 7. Kevin Pollard 5:13.76
3200: 9. Kevin Pollard 12:11.11
300IH: 12. Garrett Flitz 46.75
4x100: 8. Will Carlile/Ethan Washburn/Colton Wall/Chase Dealey 48.45
4x200: 11. Chase Dealey/Colton Wall/Jefferson Thomas/Ethan Washburn 1:46.74
4x400: 4. Cameron Crow/Will Carlile/Austin Niehaus/Alex Fischer 3:38.23
4x800: 2. Austin Niehaus/Cameron Crow/Damon Burdell/Alex Fischer 8:37.50
Pole Vault: 4. Garrett Flitz 11’9”; 5. Will Carlile 11’9”
Long Jump: 1. Sam Painter 21’4.5”
Triple Jump: 1. Sam Painter 43’7.5”
Shot Put: 8. Jefferson Thomas 41’00”; 12. Dylan Maxwell 36’6.5”
Discus: 6. Jefferson Thomas 130’7.5”; 10. John Corso 114’11”