IVHS track team meets hurdles

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School track team had a very busy week. The Cougars sent a full squad to the Skyline track meet at Phoenix last Tuesday. IVHS sent eight harriers to the fourth annual Phillips-Klimek Distance Twilight Friday. Finally, Saturday, Illinois Valley participated in the third annual Phoenix Invitational.
As is usual this season, there were noteworthy performances by Cougar athletes at these events, even though IVHS did not score well as a team in them, with almost all of the schools participating being much larger than I.V.
In Tuesday’s Skyline Meet at Phoenix, IVHS finished with 35 points on the boys’ side, finishing fifth out of the five teams at the event. The girls’ squad finished with 28 points, also finishing fifth.
Once again, Blossom Robinson had a particularly good meet for IVHS at the Skyline Meet. Robinson won both the 100 and 200 meter races. Her time of 12.9 in the 100 was a personal best, as was her 26.8 finish it the 200. Unfortunately, the Skyline meet did not have “automatic” timers, so neither of Robinson’s marks qualifies to make the 2A qualifying list. However, her 100 clocking in Phoenix would be tied for first in the state, and her 200 time would be the third fastest mark in the state this season.
Jessame Pope also had an exceptionally good meet at the Skyline, with a personal record 15’ 9 long jump. It placed her third at the Skyline, but is the fifth best 2A long jump this year. Pope also had a personal record (PR) in the triple jump, finishing second with a leap of 32’10.5. It is the fourthbest 2A triple jump this year.
Lyila Murphy also scored for the Cougars, finishing fourth behind Robinson in the 200 with a PR of 28.5. There were seven other Top 10 finishes for the Lady Cougars at the Skyline. IVHS had half of the Top 10 in the 200 as Shelby Reed (seventh), Abigail Bohmker (eighth) and Airabella Ferdon (10th) finished behind Robinson and Murphy in the event. Ferdon also finished 10th in the 100 race. Naomi Merrill and Jayden Conrad finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 800. Finally, Rayna Hulsey finished eighth in the shot put.

Grit Charitram, Curtiss Heier, Thomas Allen and Shilo Farnsworth had good days for the boys’ side, each finishing with at least a bronze in an event. Charitram set a PR in the pole vault clearing 10’ 6 with his winning mark. Charitram also won the long jump with a leap of 20’ 2.5. Charitram did not participate in the high jump at the Skyline, though he still has the second best 2A high jump mark in the state so far. Heier finished first in the 1500, with a personal best of 4:33.9. Allen finished second in the 110 hurdles, his time of 20.4 was a PR as well. Farnsworth finished third in the 800 in 2:10.5. He also had the next best individual performance by a Cougar at the Skyline, placing fifth in the 400 at 56.6.

Ten other IVHS boys finished in the top 10 at the Skyline Meet. Skyler Szijjarto (sixth) and Felix Becker (10th) placed behind Farnsworth in the 800. Tanner Brazil and Manny Taylor finished ninth and 10th respectively in the 200. Taylor and Allen teamed with Shya Teixeira and Ethan Green to place sixth in the 4×100 relay, while Taylor, Teixeira and Szijjarto teamed with George Kouspov to place sixth in the 4×400. Kellum Hardy also had a sixth place finish, with a heave of 34’ 3.5 in the shot put. Tristan Reyes finished 10th in the same event. Finally, Matt Ellis (discus) and Brody Riolo (high jump) finished out the best finishes at the Skyline for the Cougars.

Friday’s fourth annual Phillips-Klimek Distance Twilight was limited to just 800 and 3000 meter races for boys’ and girls’ teams. IVHS sent just eight participants to the Twilight, with Heier getting the highlight. His third place finish in the 3000 was a PR of 9:32.57. It kept Heier on the list top 2A 3000 times. After temporarily dropping out of the rankings, he is back at fifth. Hannabal Bohmker also ran the 3000 at the Twilight. Szijjarto set a PR in the 800 race with a time of 2:22.03. Becker, Eli Deutsch and Randy Huang also ran the 800 on the boys’ side. Naomi Merrill and Jayden Conrad both participated in the 800 for the girls’, rounding out the Twilight contingent for IVHS.

The next day at the Phoenix Invitational, the Cougars placed sixth out of 14 teams with 46 points. The Lady Cougars finished 11th with 24 points.

Ellis led the scoring finishers for the boys at the Invite. His javelin toss of 159’ 9 won the event and moved him into fifth place this season in the state at 2A. Ellis also had a fifth place finish in the discus at Phoenix.

Charitram was again a huge part of the point production for IVHS. He cleared 6’ 0 in the high jump (third), had a long jump of 19’ 6.65 (fourth) and ran a leg along with Farnsworth, Brazil and Trenton Davis on the second place 4×400 relay team. They finished the four laps in 3:44.2. Charitram also finished 10th in the 100 with a time of 11.75.
Heier followed up his Friday night third place finish in the 3000 with a fifth place finish at 1500. He clocked in at 4:34.29.

Brazil had the only other top 10 finish at the Invite, tossing the javelin a personal best 137’ 11 to place eighth.

On the girls’ side, Robinson again played a part in nearly every point for the Lady Cougars. Robinson finished first in the 200 (27.19), second in the 100 (13.14) and ran a leg on the 5th place 4×100 relay. Murphy and both Shelby Reed and Bree Reed also participated in the relay. They finished in 54.07.

The Reed girls also had the only other top finishes at the Invite. Bree finished eighth in the 200 at 28.37, while Shelby was eighth in the 400 at 1:08.05.

The Cougars once again have a quick turnaround and a remarkably busy workweek. IVHS is scheduled to participate in another Skyline track meet at Phoenix on Wednesday. Then on Saturday, IVHS was slated to have some athletes participating at the 74th annual Grants Pass Rotary Invitational, while another contingent is scheduled to participate in the Petersen Memorial Invitational at Douglas High School in Winston.