MT. VERNON — The Rams track and field athletes will focus on qualifying for the 2A state final at Thursday's Herrin sectional.
The Rams enter the postseason after tallying five South Seven Conference champions. David Modert won a pair of distance events. Robert Grider won two sprint events, and Joseph McDanel was victorious in the pole vault. A season ago McDanel was the lone Rams track and field competitor to advance to the second day at the 2A state final. He finished ninth overall.
“I like where we're sitting, and what we're going to do for the sectional is get as many kids as you can to the state meet,” Mt. Vernon coach Clint Turner said.
Seventeen other teams along with Mt. Vernon enter the sectional round, including three-time defending 2A state champion Cahokia.
“They look to get a lot of guys out and challenge for a championship,” Turner said.
He added as a team Mt. Vernon could be around the top five.
“I would look for obviously Cahokia, Carbondale, Triad, Mascoutah and the Rams trying to get in that top five,” Turner said. “If you're in the top five, that probably means you're qualifying people as well.”
The top two finishers in each event along with athletes who exceed the predetermined state qualifying mark advance to state. Turner said several of his athletes and relay teams are right around the state standard.
“It's one of those meets where we could go in there and get five or six, seven events out,” Turner said. “It may be a meet to where it doesn't work out, and we may only get one or two or three. That's how tight it is going in.”
The meet starts with field events at 4 p.m. with preliminaries following at 5 p.m.