By Tim Taylor

Charleston’s Wyatt Strader set personal records to win two field events in the Apollo Conference track and field championships at Mt. Zion High School.

Strader leaped 21 feet, 1/4 inch to win the long jump by more than two feet and flew 40 feet, 1 inch to beat teammate Jacob Flight and capture the triple jump by about a half foot.

Wyatt Strader leaps more than 21 feet to win the Apollo long jump title. (Video/Tim Taylor)

But Strader wasn’t the only athlete Thursday evening setting personal bests.

Maya Cook improved by 3 feet in winning the shot put with a heave of 37 feet, 7 1/4 inches – more than 4 feet better than runner-up Hasilee McCall-Ochs from Mahomet. Five of the top six throwers posted PRs. Cook’s throw qualifies her for the state meet.

Mattoon’s girls recorded 14 total personal bests in the meet. Charleston’s girls posted seven PRs and athletes across the conference had many as well.

“Our girls ran and performed great,” MHS girls coach Troy Haacke said. “We are still young with many of the teams first year in high school track and couldn’t be happier with the growth and improvement they are showing as we head into the last several weeks.  Besides Mt. Zion, who has great depth and team, second through fifth place was only a difference of 20 points, which means it was pretty even.”

Mt. Zion took both boys and girls team titles. Charleston’s girls took third while Mattoon finished fifth. Mattoon’s boys took third, two points ahead of Charleston.

“I’m very pleased with how the season has gone so far,” Charleston coach Chris Hawk said. “We continue to have girls with new season bests and PR’s at each meet.”

But Mattoon took three individual girls titles. Besides Cook, Morgan Weaver tossed the discus a personal-best 93 feet, 11 1.4 inches to win by more than 6 feet. And teammate Kylie Haacke captured the 3,200 by 15 seconds, clocking in at 12 minutes, 9.44 seconds ahead of Charleston’s Grace Spoonhour (12:24.27).

“I’m real pleased with the progress the team is making,” Troy Haacke said, “and how hard they continue to work.”

Megan Garrett was Charleston’s sole champion, beating Lincoln’s Becca Heitzig by 2 seconds in 5:05.03. Spoonhour took third in 5:44. Heitzig had won the battle in the 800, beating Garrett by 6 seconds in 2:16.36.

“In what I thought was the race of the night, Megan came back from about 15 yards back in the 1,600 run to pass a very talented freshman from Lincoln with about 100 meters to go,” Hawk said. “Both girls were under the record time for the conference meet. “

Makenna McBride came in second in both the 100 and 200, twice finishing behind Mt. Zion’s Sara Addai, who swept the 100, 200 and 400 meter titles. McBride ran 12.8 seconds in the 100, just .12 seconds back, and a personal-best 26.75 in the 200, .72 seconds behind. Addai ran a school-record 58.41 to win the 400 by 5 seconds.

“Makenna continues to prove that she is one of the best sprinters in the area,” Hawk said.

Dakota Spencer, meanwhile, earned Mattoon’s only championship by tossing the discus a season-best 134 feet, 5 1/2 inches to win by more than 9 feet. Charleston’s Alex Stout came in third at 122-2 1/4, and Mattoon’s Riley Spencer placed fifth in 115-9 1/4. Spencer placed third in shot put with a persona-best throw of 44-3. Stout came in sixth.

Mattoon’s Matthew Gordon took second in 5 feet, 11 1/4 inches with Charleston’s Jacob Flight and Wyatt Strader coming in fifth and sixth, respectively, at 5-8 and 5-5 3/4.

CHS’s Zac Stout and Peyton Cox each set two personal records at pole vault and placed third and fourth at 11-5 3/4 and 11 feet, respectively.

Other notable performances:

  • Mattoon’s Brock Davee placed third in both the 1,600 and 3,200, in 4:43.18 and 10:25.2. Taylorville’s Chris Cherry won both titles in 4:22.86 and 9:37.77.
  • Trojan Caleb Oakley came in third in the 110-meter hurdles in 18.5 seconds, a PR.
  • MHS’s Quincy Hamilton placed third in the 300-meter hurdles in a personal-best 46.07 seconds.
  • Trojan Mariah Weiss garnered fourth in shot put.
  • Maya Cook of Mattoon got fourth in discus. 
  • Mattoon’s Macy Overton placed fourth in both long and triple jump.
  • CHS’s Hannah Taylor came in fifth in triple jump and high jump.
  • Madison Barnes of Mattoon got fifth in the 300 hurdles.