A strong distance group, headlined by an All-State cross country member, figures to make some noise in the young track season. While the Green Wave feature a hint of inexperience, Mattoon will have quite a few contenders for All-Apollo this year.

Here is a preview of the upcoming season.

2021 REVIEW: The Mattoon Green Wave finished fourth in the Apollo Conference last season, as well as tied for eighth out of 16 teams at the IHSA Sectional. The season featured plenty of highs.

That included Brock Davee placing 16th at Palatine’s Distance Night, a showcase of top distance runners in the state. At the Apollo Conference Championships, Davee also placed third in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meters. 

At the Apollo meet, Dakota Spencer was the Apollo Conference champion in the discus and placed third in the shot put. Matthew Gordon was the runner-up in the high jump. Quincy Hamilton placed third in the 300-meter hurdles, while the 4×800 of Hamilton, Sam Ferrar, Kagan Kirts, and Trent Hettinger placed third. 

Spencer was the team’s lone state qualifier last year, finishing 16th in the discus. With a solid core returning, head coach Jarad Kimbro, who enters his seventh season as the boys’ track coach, should have a solid team.

KEY RETURNERS: Davee, an All-State finisher at the IHSA Class 2A Cross Country Championships in the fall, has already run a 4 minutes, 39.98 seconds for 1,600-meters and 10:20.72 for 3,200 meters at the EIU Indoor Invitational. Davee figures to battle Brendan Heitzig of Lincoln and Joseph Scheele of Mahomet-Seymour in both races for the Apollo Conference title. 

Hamilton is a leading contender to win the hurdles race with Mahomet-Seymour’s CJ Schoaf graduated. The 4×800 relay of Hamilton, Ferrar, Davee, and Hettinger could also be a top contender at the Apollo, if Davee runs the relay and not the individual 3,200. 

Gordon is the top high jumper, but Jackson Whalin has impressed in jumps as well. Senior Sam Bradbury is already impressing in the shot put, having placed sixth at the EIU Invite this past weekend with a throw of 43 feet, 7 inches. 

“I have a fairly veteran group of distance kids back this year,” said Kimbro. “Brock Davee will be a strong contender for conference and state honors in any of the distance races.  The 4×800 with Sam Ferrar, Quincy Hamilton, Trent Hettinger, and Brock are looking good and should have a good chance to compete in every meeting we are in.  I also have a couple of high jumpers that will have a chance to qualify for the state meet this year in Jackson Whalin and Matthew Gordon.  They both came very close last year and are working hard to succeed this year.”  

BIGGEST CHALLENGES: The sprints and throws are going to be developed. Losing Spencer to graduation hurts the Green Wave in the shot put and discus, but having Bradbury in the mix could be a nice fill-in. The 100, 200, and 400-meter runs feature freshman and sophomores. 

“We are going to be fairly inexperienced in the sprints and throws, but I have high hopes for those young men to come around and be able to improve each meet,” said Kimbro. “The team goals for every season do not change: compete for a conference championship and get as many kids to state as we can.  These young men are all very driven and competitive, and I look forward to seeing what they can do this season.”

KEY MEETS: The Green Wave will compete in the Indoor Apollo Conference Championships on Saturday. The first outdoor invite will be at Greenville on April 2. Then, the team travels to the Olney Invite on April 8. The Newton Relays will be a fun invite for the team on April 29. On May 5, the team will travel to Mahomet Seymour for the outdoor Apollo Conference Championships. Two days later, the Charleston Invitational will return on May 7. IHSA Sectionals are projected for May 19, with state meet set for the week after at Eastern Illinois University. 

• Click here for the entire spring sports schedule, which can also be found on the upper-right column of the website.

ROSTER

SENIORS: Chase Armstrong, Sam Bradbury, Brock Dave, Sam Ferrar, Matthew Gordon, Quincy Hamilton, Trent Hettinger, Jackson Whalin, Derrius White

JUNIORS: Gabriel Abello, Auston Boyer, Jordan Coombs, Brandon Creel, Cale Fogarty, Taerick Grace, Andy Karpus, Sawyer Kirts, Lathan McGuire, Lincoln Scott, Dylan Sledge, Chase Woodard

SOPHOMORES: Keegan Adams, Ryan Bridges, Gavin Cline, Sean Fuentes, Aiden Hudson, Jermain Jackson, Bryce Jean, Andrew Lodes, Thomas Montgomery, James Moore, Ben Pletch, Kevin Sosamon, Wilson Spraker, Aiden Trueblood,

FRESHMEN: Deaiden Arnold, Josh Boley, Payton Bryant, Jake Butler, Ben Capitosti, Braden Clatfelter, Sam Gerkin, Hayden Gordon, Van Grayson, Kayden Harminson, Cale Kimbro, Carlos Lira, Gavin Maugeri, Will Pullen, Logan Samuelson, Tristen Sewell, Kaleb Wright