Mattoon High School girls track features several talented seniors, but nearly two-thirds of the team are underclassmen. The Green Wave lost their lone state qualifier but will look to take another step forward with numerous freshmen and sophomore. 

Mattoon lost All-Apollo champion thrower Maya Cook to graduation. Cook won the conference in shot put and discus where she qualified for state in both events. Cook missed All-State status after placing 10th overall in the discus and was 14th in the shot put at the Class 2A State Championships. 

Another thrower has already taken a step forward in junior Teygen Sewell, who was the second-best thrower in the shot put at the indoor Apollo Championships. Sewell’s mark of 9.50 meters was second to Mount Zion’s Ava Anderson (9.79 meters). 

She is joined by her teammate in junior Emily Maple, who also looks ready to contend for an Apollo Conference championship in the high jump. Maple’s jump of 1.53 meters won the indoor title. Sophomore Imani McGee nearly won the Apollo title in the long jump but lost by a matter of inches and is back. 

Senior Ryleigh Grayson will lead the triple jumpers and headline the 400-meter dash. Grayson placed third in the Apollo indoor meet with a jump of 9.16 meters. She will be a fixture in the relays as will seniors Izzy Sanders and Madison Barnes. All three are the only seniors on the team. 

“They have been good leaders and have kept the team energy high,” said head coach Troy Jaake. “This team will continue to make big improvements, strengthen, and gain confidence  throughout the season.  It will be fun to watch their growth.”

Sophomores Clohe Hettinger and McGee both made the indoor finals in the 60-meter dash at the Apollo indoor. Maple headlines the team’s 800-meter run with a fastest time of 2:38.51. Junior Oaklie Layton leads the distance crew for a third year in a row and owns a time of 6:34.05 in the 1600-meter run. At the indoor Apollo, Layton placed sixth in the 3200-run as well. The rest of the 800/1600 group features all freshmen and sophomores. 

Leading the hurdle group is sophomore Gracie Willingham and junior Logan Crist. Sophomore CeAzia Wade placed fourth in the triple jump and was just 0.01 meters behind Grayston for fourth. Sophomore Keely Smith placed sixth in the triple jump as well. 

“We are still a young team with 2/3 of the team being underclassmen,” said Haacke. “But the sophomore group has improved so much and there is some good talent in the freshman class. They are working hard.”