By PAUL HINES
---- — MT. VERNON – The Rams track team begins its postseason today.
Mt. Vernon travels to Salem for the sectional meet. The Rams will compete against 18 other schools for spots at the state final.
The top two finishers in each event will advance to state along with the individuals who exceed the predetermined qualifying standards in each event.
“We’ve got a couple of events that are that way,” Mt. Vernon coach Clint Turner said. “They haven’t run the standard, but they’re pretty darn close. They really haven’t been in a position all year long to where they get the best time to run the standard.”
The Rams enter the sectional after placing second at the recent South Seven Conference meet. David Modert, Karson Hahn and Joseph McDaniel were all winners at the conference meet.
Turner said the strategy for the two meets is different.
When it comes to the sectional Turner and the Rams are solely focused on qualifying as many athletes for state as possible. Winning the team title isn’t a high priority.
“For the most part, most people are going to take care of those kids and get them qualified,” Turner said. “Because that’s the goal is to go to the state meet and make the finals. That’s what it’s all about.”
The change in focus means the athletes who might have competed in four events in the conference meet will scale back their workload and race in one or two events at sectional. The idea is to keep the athletes rested and ready to compete at their highest level.
“If you can go in there with the tanks full, it’s just going to help you out so much more,” Turner said.
The Rams will see many familiar teams at the sectional, including defending state and South Seven champions Cahokia.
The meet begins with field events at 3 p.m.