By Mike Monahan

Charleston High sophomore Gavril Amartey captured both the high jump and triple jump and placed as part of a relay during the Apollo Conference freshman/sophomore track and field meet at Mattoon High School.

Amartey’s teammate, Ezekiel Hall, placed in all four events to help the CHS boys finish third out of seven teams on an overcast, windy day.

“I felt like we had a good shot at third the other night, so I am glad that we got it done today,” said Charleston boys coach Alex Koebele. “We are young and we are very inexperienced. Coach (Brad) Oakley and I recruited the hallways and we have a lot of guys that have really never done track. We have a lot of guys that are starting to understand how track works. It is more than just being out there sprinting and running and stuff like that.”

Mattoon finished fifth among the boys buoyed by victories in both the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. Hayden Gordon, Cale Kimbro, Shayden Neff and Deaiden Arnold teamed up to win the two events in 45.71 and 1:36.41, respectively.

“It was a pretty clean handoff (in the 4×100) and I think it was a pretty good race for my team today,” said Neff, the lone freshman on the relay teams. “In the moment, you can’t really feel the wind that much, but I am sure it helped me out just a little bit. It feels good to win it.”

MHS won the 4×100 by 1.22 seconds over second place Mt. Zion and beat Mt. Zion again in the 4×200 by 3.68 seconds. 

“The wind played a big factor. It made it feel (the 200) feel a lot longer (against the wind), but our team pushed through it and did really well,” Cale Kimbro said. “Our freshman Shayden Neff did well in running for the first time with us, and I really like how he performed. Deaiden (Arnold) ran our leadoff well and Hayden (Gordon) widened the gap in the third leg and I just put it away. Against the wind you just pump your arms harder. I love winning. It is my favorite thing about this sport. So, it feels good.”

In the girls competition, Mattoon placed fifth and CHS tied for sixth.

This meet enables younger athletes to compete better against their peers.

“It gives them a chance to compete against their own age level,” said Mattoon girls coach Troy Haacke. “Some of the girls are 18, or even 19, at this point of the year and these girls are 14-15. It gives the girls a chance to see where they are at against people their own age.”

Amartey successfully cleared 5 feet, 6 inches to win the high jump, which took place midst gusty winds. The sophomore then set a personal record on his next-to-last triple jump by going through the air 39 feet, 9 inches.

“I finally reached my PR for triple jump today,” said Amartey. “My goal is to qualify for state. In high jump, I still want to accomplish at least six feet. I am just making progress every day I practice and in the meets. I am having fun with the season and can’t wait until next year and finish out this year strong.”

He was also part of the fifth place 4×100 squad that included Dylan Lowell, Donavan Clements and Hall, who finished in 48.70 seconds.

Hall was also fifth as a member of the 4×200 relay that included Lowell, Clements and Tyler Oakley, which clocked in at 1:43.62. Hall finished fifth in the 100 at 12.61 seconds and the 200 in 25.32.

“Gavril had a great day,” said Charleston boys’ track coach Alex Koebele. “Hall ran in four events and was excellent. Blake Homann has really come on in the last couple of weeks in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Homann finished second in the 3,200, running 10 minutes, 20.57 seconds – less than three seconds behind Mt. Zion’s Mark Mavis. The sophomore also ran 4:58.97 in the 1,600 for third place

Oakley, a freshman, was fifth in the 110 hurdles and sixth in the 300 hurdles with personal-best times of 22.65 and 54.72, respectively. Tony Moran, a sophomore, was third in both the 110 and 300 hurdles with times of 20.22 and 49.03 respectively. 

Overall, the Trojans had two first places, one second, five third places, one fourth, seven fifth, and three sixths.

“Mattoon has a great facility and they put on a great meet,” said Koebele. “We were happy to be here today, and we are pretty excited about our future.”

The Charleston girls placed in a tie for sixth place.

“It was a good meet,” said Charleston coach Chris Hawk. “We don’t have  a lot of numbers on our team and we have a few that have been sick or injured lately. So, we were a little shorthanded even with our low numbers. I thought the girls who were here came out and competed really well. Some of them were in multiple events and they are not used to that. It was exciting to see how they competed and we got some really good performances out of them.”

Freshman Emma Karbassion won the 3,200 with a time of 17:40.11 and was fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 6:56.84, a personal record. 

CHS freshman Samantha Fehrenbacker took fourth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 56.08 while Sydney Livingston was fourth in the high jump at 4-6. Fehrrenbacker also anchored the 4×800 relay team that finished in 12 minutes, 3.41 seconds. She was joined by Grace Edwards, Amber Weiss and Samantha Wines.

“It was a good day and they competed well,” said Hawk. “I am looking forward to seeing where we go from here. A lot of our girls ran the varsity Apollo Conference varsity meet Thursday and then they have a quick turnaround to do this. It is a lot on their legs, but they are getting down to the very end of the season so, I hope they are enjoying it. We try and get better every day.”

Both the Mattoon boys and girls teams placed fifth, but had five personal records in boys and one in girls minus the relay events. 

“The kids came out and ran hard and it is fun for them to compete against kids their own age, regardless of the outcome,” said Mattoon boys coach Jarad Kimbro. “When you do have some success it gives the kids some confidence and hopefully gets the kids back out for next year. When you are running against seniors as a freshman, a lot of times it is not a close race. Them being able to compete against their own age group gives them confidence to come out and, hopefully, compete.”

Gordon set a personal record in the 200 with a time of 24.23, good for second place, and placed third in the long jump at 17-10½. Cooper Spencer, a freshman, was third in the pole vault at 11 feet.

“Being overcast and a little cooler helped those kids out because the meet ran fairly fast,” said coach Kimbro. “The kids from all schools competed well and did a good job. It is fun and great for the kids to compete against kids their own age.”

Sophomores Imani McGee and Keely Smith placed first and second, on the girls side in the long jump with leaps of 14-9 and 14-5, respectively. Smith was secured second in the triple jump by going 32 feet, 2 inches. 

“We are super young,” said Haacke. “I thought we got out and competed real well today. I thought our four relays competed really well (finished third, third, fifth and fifth in 4×100, 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800 respectively). McGee in long jump and Keeley (Smith) second in the long jump and triple jump were good. The girls continue to get better.”


Boys team results: 1. Mahomet-Seymour 138, 2. Mt. Zion 124, 3. Charleston 79, 4. Effingham 65, 5. Mattoon 57, 6. Taylorville 50, 7. Lincoln 44

Mattoon/Charleston among top six places

100: 5. Ezekiel Hall, Charleston 12.61

200: 2. Hayden Gordon, Mattoon 24.23*; 5. Hall, Charleston 25.32

400: 5. Keeghan Shaw, Mattoon 57.54*

1,600: 3. Blake Homann, Charleston 4:58.97

3,200: 2. Homann, Charleston 10:20.57

110 hurdles: 3. Tony Moran, Charleston 20.22; 5. Tyler Oakley, Charleston 22.65*

300 hurdles: 3. Moran, Charleston 49.03; 6. Oakley, Charleston 54.72*

4×100: 1. Mattoon (Gordon, Cale Kimbro, Shyden Neff, Deaiden Arnold) 45.71; 5. Charleston (Gavril Amartey, Dylan Lowell, Donavan Clements, Hall) 48.70

4×200: 1. Mattoon (Arnold, Neff, Gordon, Kimbro) 1:36.41; 5. Charleston (Lowell, Clements, Oakley, Hall) 1:43.62

4×400: 4. Charleston (Stanley Himes, Ben Coffey, Tyler Hodges, Lowell) 4:02.32; 6. Mattoon (Shaw, Lukas Monroe, Cooper Spencer, Braden Clatfelter) 4:03.59

4×800: 3. Charleston (Himes, Noah Hardwick, Dylan Hawk, Hodges) 9:38.52; 6. Mattoon (Lucas Butler, Gavin Maugeri, Josh Boley, Korbin Cassady) 11;03.61

High jump: 1. Amartey, Charleston 5-6; 4. Shaw, Mattoon 5-1;* 5. Neff, Mattoon 5-1*

Pole vault: 3. Spencer, Mattoon 11-0; 5. Lowell, Charleston 10-6*

Long jump: 3. Gordon, Mattoon 17-10 ½

Triple jump: 1. Amartey, Charleston 39-9*; 6. Tim Davidson, Charleston 35-0 ¾*

Shot put: 3. Zachary Price, Charleston 34-5; 6. Coffey, Charleston 33-1

Discus: 3. Jaden Anderson, Mattoon 105-5*; 5. Price, Charleston 88-7


Girls team results: 1. Mt. Zion 154, 2. Mahomet-Seymour 97, 3. Effingham 95, 4. Taylorville 64, 5. Mattoon 57, 6. Tie, Charleston, Lincoln 33

Mattoon/Charleston among top six places

100: 5. Yasemin Mavi, Charleston, 14.73

800: 5. Kaelyn Ryan, Mattoon 2:53.13; 6. Elle Miller, Mattoon 3:00.22

1,600: 4. Brie Armstrong, Mattoon 6:48.90*; 5. Emma Karbassion, Charleston  6:56.84*

3,200: 1. Emma Karbassion, Charleston 17:40.11

100 hurdles: 4. Kendal Bridges, Mattoon 21.38; 6. Keely Smith, Mattoon 22.21

300 hurdles: 4. Samantha Fehrnebacher, Charleston 56.08

4×100: 3. Mattoon (Imani McGee, Kenley Herschberger, Allison Gouveia, Devyn Bradley) 57.24

4×200:3. Mattoon (Brooke Jobe, Gouveia, Herschberger, Reagan Duncan) 2:04.13; 6. Charleston (Yaesmin Mavi, La Niesha Nailing, Libby Weiss, Samantha Wines 2:12.22

4×400: 5. Mattoon (Jobe, Gouvia, Bradley, Ryan) 4:44.05

4×800: 4. Charleston (Grace Edwards, Amber Weiss, Wines, Fehrenbacher) 12:03.41; 5. Mattoon (Ryan, Ellie Miller, Taylee Haacke, Armstrong 12:03.96

High jump: 4. Sydney Livingston, Charleston 4-6, 5. Weiss, Charleston 4-2, 6. Armstrong, Mattoon 4-0

Long jump: 1. McGee, Mattoon 14-9; 2. Smith, Mattoon 14-5; 5. Fehrenbacher, Charleston 12-10 ¾

Triple jump: 2. Smith, Mattoon 32-2

Shot put; 6. Tyreeona Nailing, Charleston 20-0

Discus: 5. Lyla Ballard, Mattoon 62-1; 6. Nailing, Charleston 61-5*

* – personal record