Du Quoin and Carbondale will lead strong Southern Illinois contingents to the Illinois High School Association’s state track meets at Eastern Illinois University this weekend. Class 1A preliminaries are today, 2A prelims are Friday and the state finals will be conducted Saturday.
In Class 1A, Du Quoin has athletes in 13 of 17 events. Carbondale qualified in 10 of 17 events.
The Indians would make some serious noise in Class 1A. Du Quoin is seeded in the top nine in 10 events. Senior sprinter Madison Davis had the top sectional times in both the 100 and 200 meters. In addition, the Indians are the top seed in both the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
Du Quoin is seeded second in the 800-meter relay and fourth in the 3,200-meter relay.
In addition, junior Gabby Alongi posted the state’s second-best sectional times in both the 400 and 800 meters.
“We have some goals,” said Du Quoin coach Shane Boyett. “We’ve been aiming towards Charleston since the beginning of the season. We’re going to go up there and see what we can do. We have some great athletes.
“When you get to Charleston you never know. We could score 10 points, we could score 40 points. It just depends on how you perform and how everyone else performs, but, we have a chance.”
Points are awarded for the top nine spots at state. Several more Class 1A athletes earned top nine seeds in sectionals last week.
Nashville’s Sydney Schnitker and Pinckneyville’s Dakota Krone are both in the top nine in the triple jump.
Southern Illinois should be strong in the sprints and the 100 meter high hurdles. Du Quoin’s Jaylynn Wood and Bailey Harsy and Lauren Friess of Johnston City are ranked third through fifth in the hurdles. In addition to Davis’ top seed in the 100 meters, Halle Rueter of Nashville, Ayanna Dunklin of Du Quoin and Christopher’s Shianne Dejear are ranked in the top nine.
In the 400 meters, Du Quoin’s Olivia Phillips and Dejear join Gabby Alongi among the top seeds.
“I think we’re going to have a good showing from Southern Illinois in Charleston this year,” Boyett said.
In Class 2A, Carbondale’s Sydney Apgar and Keona Love are among the top seeds in two events.
Apgar, who placed third in the discus last year, is the top seed. Her sectional throw of 137-11 is five feet better than the second seed. She is also the seventh seed in the shot put.
Love turned in the eighth best 100 meter time and sixth best 200 meter time.
Carbondale also has the top seed in the 400-meter relay. The Terriers are ranked second in both the 800- and 1,600-meter relays.
Other high seeds include Benton’s Mia McLain in the 800 meters and Herrin’s Bianca Huddson in the triple jump. Both are second seeds. Carbondale’s Akira Custer earned a seventh seed in the 400 meters.
This is McLain's first year running the 800 at state.
"You know, with being from down south, it's hard to get into a race where you're actually racing against others," she said. "So, I'm eager to get up north and see what I can do with people pushing me.
"Just like anybody, you run better when you have someone right next to you, pushing you. I'm excited to see what I can do and how low I can drop my time. I know I can go way faster than what I've been doing."