By Kyle Daubs
The indoor championships were close.
The outdoor championships figure to follow suit.
Mahomet-Seymour won the indoor Apollo title by three points over Lincoln, while Mount Zion was within 17 points. The outdoor Apollo title figures to be a three-team race at the top, while Coles County looks to sprinkle some All-Apollo finishers.
Here is a preview of the events list for Thursday’s conference meet in order. All marks are their season-best.
Shot Put: In his first year competing in track and field, Mattoon’s Sam Bradbury could leave a champion. The Mattoon thrower owns the top seed in the conference with a throw of 50 feet, 1.5 inches. Charleston’s Alex Stout is ranked fourth with a throw of 46-9.50.
Discus: Mahomet-Seymour’s Robert Byron owns the best mark of 157-5. Bradbury is ranked second with a throw of 146-11. Stout is ranked third with a throw of 140-8.
High Jump: Mattoon’s Matthew Gordon is ranked at the top with a jump of 5-10, while teammate Jackson Whalin has jumped that mark as well. Charleston’s Jacob Flight is tied with the Green Wave jumpers with the same jump. Charleston’s Kyle Ross is ranked fourth with a jump of 5-8.
Pole Vault: Mount Zion’s Kyle Hensley is the heavy favorite with a seed vault of 15-0, nearly three feet better than the next best.
Long Jump: Charleston’s Wyatt Strader is favored to win the long jump. He owns a jump of 21-6, which is ranked at the top. Mattoon’s Derrius White is ranked seventh.
Triple Jump: Four jumpers could win this event. Mount Zion’s Bryndon Wallace is ranked first with a jump of 41-.5. Charleston’s Jacob Flight is third with a jump of 40-9.75.
4×800-Meter Relay: Lincoln is favored to win with a seed time of 8 minutes, 13.47 seconds. Mattoon’s team of Jackson Whalin, Sam Ferrar, Quincy Hamilton, and Chase Armstrong is ranked second.
4×100-Meter Relay: Mount Zion’s relay time of 43.62 is nearly a full second ahead of Mahomet-Seymour. Charleston is ranked fourth, Mattoon fifth.
3200 meters: Lincoln’s Brendan Heitzig ran at the prestigious Palatine Distance Night and clocked a 9:34.25. Mount Zion’s Julian Baker owns a time of 9:54.04. Mattoon’s Brock Davee is ranked third at 10:10.80.
110-meter High Hurdles: Lincoln owns the best times at one and two with Parker Campbel and Caden Stewart. Charleston’s Caleb Oakley is ranked fourth.
100 meters: Mount Zion’s Christian Keyhea is ranked at the top with a time of 11.00. Keyhea was an All-State sprinter last year.
800 meters: Lincoln’s Garrett Slack owns the best time in the conference at 1:53.98. Nobody from Coles County is ranked in the top-10.
4×200-Meter Relay: Mount Zion is heavily favored by two seconds. Their stacked relay owns a time of 1:32.16. Mattoon’s relay of Derrius White, Andy Karpus, Sawyer Kirts, and Cale Kimbron are ranked third.
400 meters: Pending who runs, Slack owns a top time of 50.87, but may not run due to the 800-meter run. Mount Zion’s Sam Atkinson owns a time of 50.89. Charleston’s Zach Stout is ranked third at 52.09.
300-Meter Low Hurdles: Lincoln freshman Parker Campbell leads the pack with a time of 42.87. His time leads the field by two seconds. Charleston’s Kyle Ross is within reach at 44.28.
1600 meters: The mile is stacked with talent. Slack owns the best time with 4:21.15. Heitzig is right behind at 4:22.47. Mount Zion’s Julian Baker owns a time of 4:29.50. Mahomet-Seymour studs Jonah Singer and Kyle Nofziger have gone under 4:35. Brock Davee is ranked fifth with a time of 4:43.50.
200 meters: Keyhea leads the field by one second with a time of 22.13. Mattoon’s Cale Kimbro is ranked fourth.
4×400-Meter Relay: Lincoln owns the best time with 3:31.83, but Mattoon’s relay team of Sawyer Kirts, Jackson Whalin, Andy Karpus, and Chase Armstrong are in hot pursuit with a seed time of 3:33.52.
What Mahomet-Seymour Said: “Mt. Zion will win,” said head coach Keith Pogue. “They have a ton of speed. We should be second.”
What Mattoon Said: “I believe that I have a few kids that will make a run at all-conference,” said head coach Jarad Kimbro. “The 4×800 relay will make a run at it. They are running really well right now and all of the guys that run on it are very competitive. Brock Davee will have a chance in either the 1600 or the 3200 depending on what we decide to put him in. Trent Hettinger is starting to have success in the pole vault as well. Sam Bradbury should be near the top in the shot put and discus. He has thrown state-qualifying distance in both the last couple of weeks. I also think that the sprint relays will have a chance if they can improve their hand-offs. Deaiden Arnold and Cale Kimbro could also potentially be all-conference in the 100 and 200 respectively if they run what they are capable of running. Dylan Sledge could also compete for conference honors in the triple jump. I also think that if the 4×400 relay continues to improve the way they have been the past couple of weeks they will have a chance for conference honors. As far as the team to beat I really think it is a toss-up. We have a ton of talent in our conference and it will come down to the final event.”
What Lincoln Said: “I think our 4×800, Breden Heitzig, Garrett Slack could be all-conference,” said head coach Matt Silkowski. “I like Mt.Zion or Mahomet will win it. I see us in the middle of the pack. We have talent but lack depth.”