BY PAUL HINES
Mt. Vernon's boys track team will be well represented at next week's state finals.
The Rams advanced two of their relay teams along with three individuals while competing at the Salem sectional Thursday.
“I'm just really happy,” Mt. Vernon coach Clint Turner said. “It's been a good year for us, good season.”
As a team, Mt. Vernon placed third overall with 50 points. Cahokia won the sectional title with 161 points. East St. Louis had 95. Waterloo was fourth with 40, and Murphysboro was fifth with 38.
Joesph McDanel advanced in the pole vault with a jump of 13 feet, three inches.
“He hasn't jumped a lot in the last two weeks,” Turner said. “He was able to hang in there tonight.”
Mt. Vernon advanced its 3,200 meter relay team without two of its top 800 meter runners. Karson Hahn and David Modert. The team of Jake Wilson, Xavies Mooney, Brykell Patton and Ethan Badger finished third with a time of 8:07.78.
“We literally took our two best guys out of that four by eight (relay),” Turner said. We didn't run Hahn. We didn't run Modert so they could run fresh in their events, and those four guys stepped up.”
Hahn finished with a time of 1:57.77 in the 800 meters, placing fourth.
“I thought Karson ran really well,” Turner said. “He had a little different routine. He usually runs a race early.
“I think that was a little different for him.”
David Modert didn't run in the two-mile race, choosing to concentrate on the one mile. He finished the 1,600 meters in a time of 4:24.78. The mark was good for second place. He missed victory by less than two seconds.
“He's happy and he's says, 'Coach I think I can run faster,” Turner said.
The 1,600 meter relay team of Demontez Miller, Hahn, Badger and Boss placed third and advanced with a time of 3:26.42.
“That was huge,” Turner said. “It's not easy.
“It's not an easy thing to do.”
In addition to the qualifiers, several Rams athletes just missed qualifying.
Robert Grider was 14 hundredths of a second away from advancing in the 200 meters. Boss also missed state in the 400 meters by 16 hundredths of a second.
Mt. Vernon competes in the state final preliminaries in Charleston starting on Friday, May 24.