Story by Mike Monahan • Photos by Dominic Baima

CHARLESTON – Charleston and Mattoon fared well in field events during the last meet before the Class 3A boys track sectional in temperatures that felt like the 90s at the start of the Big Trojan Invitational. 

Mattoon took second place among the 11 teams competing Wednesday while Charleston took fourth (see full results below).

Mattoon’s Dylan Sledge posted a personal-best to win the triple jump, going 40 feet, 6½ inches – which was 7½ inches better than the second-place finisher. 

“Dylan’s goal was to be in the 40s (feet) all season,” said MHS coach Jarod Kimbro. “He didn’t have a great long jump (17-5¼) and so he went out and crushed it in the triple jump. That was a great deal.”

Charleston’s Jacob Flight, who has surpassed 40 feet this season, finished fourth in the triple jump at 38-2½.

“Jacob Flight had a little problem in the triple jump compared to what he has done in the past,” said Charleston coach Josh Stice. “But he had a pretty big PR last week. He will need to keep it in the high 39s or low 40s. It is good to see him doing pretty well going into next week.”

Charleston’s Wyatt Strader, who finished third in the triple jump with a personal-best 38-10½, won the long jump in 21-3. Strader has consistently leaped in the high 20s or 21s; the state qualifying mark is 21-7. 

“It (his best jump) was my first jump,” Strader said, “and it was my best wind legal. But with the wind, I jumped 21-6. It is really exciting to get a PR (personal record) without the wind. There was a little head wind. It is just a great experience, especially for the last home meet.”

Zach Stout, meanwhile, earned third in the pole vault with a personal record of 13 feet. 

“It looks like we will be in a tough sectional again (at Tolono Unity) for us this year,” Stice said, “so he will probably have to hit it (13 feet) in order to qualify for state next week.”

Mattoon’s Sam Bradbury used a heave of 15.12 meters, or 49 feet, 6 inches, to win the shot put by nearly two feet.

“I feel like the first couple of throws I felt pretty good at the release point,” said Bradbury. “I feel like I definitely could have done better on the last throw. It came out good, but it just slipped a little bit. I feel like I could have got a PR today. I feel like I did well to win it. My second throw was my best. I was really hoping to get 50 feet today, but it is another goal for another day.”

Bradbury also took second in the discus behind Charleston’s Alex Stout, whose throw was a personal best by five feet at 145-3. Bradbury’s tossed the discus 144-1. 

“Bradbury has excelled in the shot put this year and it has been awesome,” said Kimbro. “His discus has come along and he has thrown the state qualifying in the discus (145-2) and we are hoping he can do it next week. He has a good chance.”

Zach Stout finished competing in the pole vault not long before he had to run the second heat of the 4×400 relay. With Caiden Pruitt, Kyle Ross and SJ Howell, he placed fifth with a time of 3:44.95.

The 4×100 relay team of Ethan McBride, Azriell Brazzel, Strader and Pruitt placed fourth in a time of 46.07. The state qualifying time is 43.50. 

“The 4×100 is on the edge (of possibly qualifying),” said Stice. “If we could drop a second or two and we will be working on the little things trying to hopefully qualify those guys.”

Ross took second in the 300 hurdles with a personal best time of 44.09. 

“For him just starting in the 300 hurdles about midway through the season, he has set himself up pretty nicely for the sectional,” Stice said.

Sawyer Kirts, who along with Derius White, Andy Karpus and Cale Kimbro, finished second in the 4×200 with a time of 1:35.12. 

Kirts said all the handoffs were great and that is one thing that makes a difference in improving.

The 4×400 team of Chase Armstrong, Karpus, Kirts and Trent Hettinger finished second to Mt. Zion by .31 seconds with a time of 3:38.21.

“We had a good battle in the Apollo Conference meet with them,” said Kimbro. “They are fast and there is a nice rivalry there. It was fantastic and the kids have done a great job making themselves better. That was a good race and a great finish as the kids ran awesome.”


Team scores: 1. Mt. Zion 171, 2. Mattoon 98.7; 3. Lincoln 83.2; 4. Charleston 82.4; 5. Olney 78; 6. Robinson 63.5; 7. Marshall 32; 8. Effingham 26.7; 9. Paris 24; 10. Casey-WestfieldMartinsville 23.5; 11. Cumberland 15

Mattoon, Charleston placers

100: 3. Deaiden Arnold, Mattoon 11.56*; 5. Azriel Brazzel , Charleston 11.74*; 7. Derrius White, Mattoon 11.86*

200: 3. Cale Kimbro Mattoon  23.68*; 8. Arnold, Mattoon 24.49*

400: 4. Caiden Pruitt, Charleston 55.42, 5. Chase Armstrong, Mattoon 55.54; 8. Brandon Creel, Mattoon 57.99

800: 4. Brock Davee, Mattoon 2:11.50

1,600: 6. Sam Ferrar, Mattoon 4:59.64*

110 hurdles: 5. Caleb Oakley, Charleston 17.46*

300 hurdles: 2. Kyle Ross, Charleston 44.09*; 5 Jame Moore, Mattoon 46.38*

4×100 relay: 4. Charleston (Ethan McBride, Azriel Brazzel, Wyatt Strader, Caiden Pruitt) 46.07; 5. Mattoon (Derrius White, Taeriek Grace, Matthew Gordon, Cale Kimbro) 46.62

4×200: 2. Mattoon (Derrius White, Andy Karpus, Sawyer Kirts, Cale Kimbro) 1:35.12; 6. Charleston (McBride, Peyton Cox, Brazzel, SJ Howell) 1:39.29

4×400: 2. Mattoon (Chase Armstrong, Andy Karpus, Sawyer Kirts, Trent Hettinger) 3:38.21; 5. Charleston (Caiden Pruitt, Kyle Ross, SJ Howell, Zach Stout) 3:44.95

4×800: 2. Mattoon (Armstrong, Davee, Ferrar, Quincy Hamilton) 8:46.89; 6. Charleston (Dylan Hawk, Luca Carcasi, Owen Wardrip, Austin Sikorski) 10:17.91

High jump: 4. Gordon, Mattoon 5-2; 8. Tie, Ross, Charleston; James Moore, Mattoon; Jacob Flight, Charleston 5-0

Pole vault: 3. Alex Stout, Charleston 13-0*; 4. Cox, Charleston, 11-6; 6. Hettinger, Mattoon 11-0;

Long jump: 1. Wyatt Strader, Charleston 21-3; 5. White, Mattoon 18-2

Triple jump: 1. Dylan Sledge, Mattoon 40-6 ½*; 3. Strader, Charleston 38-10 ½; 4. Flight, Charleston 38-2 ½

Shot put: 1. Sam Bradford, Mattoon 49-6; 7. Alex Stout, Charleston 39-8

Discus: 1. Alex Stout, Charleston 145-3;* 2. Bradbury Mattoon 144-1; 6. Zavion Johnson-Mitchell 109-7

*-personal best