By Kyle Daubs

Mount Zion blew everyone away during the indoor season and appears to be the favorite for the outdoor crown as well. At the Apollo Indoor Championships, Mount Zion won by 76.5 points over runner-up Lincoln. With multiple school record holders and former All-State athletes, the Braves are in a league of their own. 

But both Charleston and Mattoon each have athletes who will com

As for Mattoon and Charleston, both have hopes of having members of their team on the All-Apollo list. Mattoon was fourth during the indoor season and Charleston was seventh. 

Here is a preview of the events list for Thursday’s conference meet in order. All marks are their season-best. 

Shot Put: Mattoon’s Maya Cook is the runaway favorite to win the conference in shot put. She won the Apollo last season and qualified for state. Cook’s throw of 37 feet, 10.5 inches leads the pack by seven whole feet. 

Discus: Charleston’s Mackensie Williams is in the running to win the discus. Her throw of 100-3.5 trails only Mount Zion’s Kalliana Becker’s 101-.25. Cook is ranked seventh in the discus for Mattoon. 

High Jump: The high jump is going to be a competitive battle between Mount Zion’s Rhiannon Marshall and Mahomet-Seymour’s Grace Rodebaugh. Both have jumped 5-foot this season. Marshall placed fifth in the state last season, but Rodebaugh technically owns the one seed with 5’0-.25. Charleston’s Hannah Taylor is ranked eighth. 

Pole Vault: Mount Zion’s Brooklyn Kondritz is ranked first with a vault of 11 feet. Nobody from Coles County is ranked in the top-10. 

Long Jump: Lincoln’s Reese McGuan is ranked at the top with a jump of 15 feet, 6.5 inches. Mattoon freshman Imani McGee is ranked third with a season-best 15 feet. Charleston’s Hannah Taylor is ranked seventh. 

Triple Jump: McGuan is the heavy favorite to win the triple jump. Her jump of 35-9.25 is nearly two feet ahead of the runner-up. Mattoon’s Ryleigh Grayson is ranked sixth. 

4×800 meter relay: Mount Zion is heavily favored to win the 4×800. Their season-best time of 10 minutes, 2 seconds could feature a top-9 finish at state. Both Mount Zion and Mahomet-Seymour have flooded the top-10 with times of their own. 

4×100 meter relay: Mahomet-Seymour owns the best relay on paper with a time of 51.44. Mattoon recently ran a 4×100 time of 53.39, which is ranked third. With the right handoffs, the team could contend for second. 

3200 meters: Mount Zion’s Ashleigh Anderson is the school record holder with a time of 11:41. She is ranked first. Mount Zion owns five different runners in the top-10 for the conference with top two-mile times. Oakley Layton’s time of 13:20 could contend for top three. 

100-High Hurdles: Lydia Trump recently ran a personal best of 16.85, which is at the top of the conference. Teammate Lily Ford is right behind her. Mattoon’s Logan Crist is ranked sixth in the event. 

100 meters: Charleston’s Makenna McBride is ranked at the top with a time of 12.67. Head coach Chris Hawk said that McBride is working through a rolled ankle, which could help Mount Zion’s Hillary Owens, whose best is 12.74. 

800 meters: Lincoln’s Becca Heitzig has the best time by 7 seconds in this event with a time of 2:11.8. Nobody from Coles County is ranked in the top-10. 

4×200 meter relay: Pending who runs, this could be a competitive event. Both Mount Zion and Mahomet-Seymour are within one-tenth of a second from each other at 1:52 and 1:52.1, respectively. 

400 meters: There are three Lincoln runners at the top of the rankings with Mallory Short running the best time of 1:01.33. Both Heitzig and McGuan both ran around 1:02. Mattoon’s Ryleigh Grayson is ranked sixth in the event. 

300-meter Low Hurdles: Mount Zion’s Lydia Trump ran 49.16 last week to take the top spot. Teammate Lily Ford is right behind her at 52.19. Mattoon’s Gracie Willingham is ranked sixth in the event. 

1600 meters: It’s not every often you see this, but Lincoln’s Becca Heitzig has broken the 5-minute mark this season. The sophomore owns a top-seed time of 4:59.92. Right behind her is Mount Zion’s school-record holder in Sofia Munoz at 5:11 and Mount Zion’s 800-meter school record holder in Ashleigh Anderson

200 meters: Assuming McBride is healthy, she will be the favorite. McBride owns a top time of 26.32. Right behind her is Mount Zion’s Hillary Owns at 27.44.  

4×400 meter relay: Mount Zion and Lincoln could have a dogfight. Mount Zion leads the pack with a seed time of 4:10.15, while Lincoln has run 4:10.41. Mattoon has the third-best relay at 4:28. 

What Charleston Said:  “Makenna McBride is currently the leader in the conference in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes,” said CHS coach Chris Hawk. “Unfortunately, she rolled her ankle last week in Effingham.  The Conference meet should be her first time back competing.  She has been steadily improving, though, so we have high hopes that she will be close to full strength on Thursday. Mackensie Williams is currently ranked second in the discus and has been towards the top all season.  We’re hoping she gets a few good throws in and earns her first all-conference designation. Mt. Zion seems to be the team to beat again this year due to their depth and a few outstanding individuals.  I expect both Mahomet and Lincoln to do well also. I’m hoping that we have some good performances and finish near the middle of the pack this year.  Our lack of depth has really hurt us, giving up points in several events that we don’t have anyone to enter.  If we can place near the top in a few events, it may be enough to boost us up over a few other teams.”

What Mattoon Said: “Maya Cook has been throwing the shot put very well this season and has a good shot at winning the conference,” said Mattoon coach Troy Haacke. “We have several others that will be in contention, Imani McGhee in the long jump, the 4×200 is looking to drop time and compete for the win and as always we want to set PRs and continue to improve. There are many great athletes in the conference, it will be an outstanding meet with many future state medalists.”