By Kyle Daubs

The 800-meter run at the Apollo Conference championships might be a preview of the state meet. 

Charleston’s Megan Garrett has broken three school records this year, including the 800 in 2 minutes, 15.04 seconds, but she doesn’t even own the best time entering the conference meet. 

That goes to Lincoln freshman Becca Heitzig, who clocked a 2:14.48 at Palatine Distance Night, about a half-second ahead of Garrett, who took sixth. Mt. Zion’s Ashleigh Anderson is only a few seconds back in 2:18.56. 

Many coaches will be focused on this race. 

Championships will be at Mt. Zion High School with field events starting at 3 p.m. 

“The girls 800 race should be the best in the state for Class 2A,” said Mattoon coach Troy Haacke. “There are several returning All-State athletes and several more future All-State athletes competing in the meet.  It is a very strong field in many of the events.”

The distance field will be competitive. Garrett owns the best 1,600-meter time of 5:01.64, while Heitzig is in the mix at 5:10.52.

In the 3,200, Mattoon’s Kylie Haacke ran a time of 12:01.51 at Palatine, trailing Charleston’s Grace Spoonhour who clocked 11:57.02.

Troy Haacke believes that his throwers will be very competitive. 

“Maya Cook has been throwing shots very well lately. I believe she will be a top contender along with Morgan Weaver in discus,” said Haacke. “Kylie will be fighting in the 3200 run for a conference title.”

Haacke believes Mt. Zion should be a heavy favorite to win the Apollo title. On paper, the Braves bring some of the best individual sprint times and relays. 

Sarah Addai has run a 400 in 59.72 seconds, less than second behind Garrett’s 59.14. But with the 800 race scheduled so close to the 400, Garrett is unlikely to run. Addai is also a part of both the team’s 4×100, which has run 50.95, and 4×400, which has run 4:21.72. 

Members of those relays include Morgan Pilate, Angelina Henderson, Hillary Owens, and Sofia Munoz.

In the 4×200, Henderson, Ashlyn Duncan, Alaina Barr, and Raina Wolfe combined to run a time of 1:54.93. 

Pilate has the best long jump (5.11 meters) and triple jump marks (11.09) and has a strong 110-meter hurdles time of 15.53. Barr among the leaders in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.52 and will contend with Mahomet-Seymour’s Shaelin Ruzich, who has run 48.65. 

“Mt. Zion has put out some very impressive performances both on the track and in the field events,” said Taylorville coach Jacob Koniak. “They are deep with talent across the relays. There should be some great competition at the top.”

Taylorville’s 4×800 meter relay squad of Alerina Letniku, Anna Goodman, Ella Goodman, and Hallie Smith has clocked 10:36.0, 12 second better than Mt. Zion’s top time of 10:48.41. 

“We have a small and very young team this year, 11 girls and eight freshmen, “ said Koniak. “However,  they are excited to experience their first big high school track meet. Our 4×800 relay has a good chance at some success and it features our lone senior Alerina Letniku.”

In the high jump, Effingham’s Shelby Rieman has jumped 5-3 and will be a top contender with Mount Zion’s Hannah Sago. T-Town’s Isabelle Hemen is the leader in the pole vault with a mark of 11-6. 

Teutopolis freshman Kaitlyn Vahling also brings a top seed in the 100-meter (12.88) and 200-meter (26.6) races. Charleston’s Makenna McBride will be in contention for both races.