By J.W. Campbell, Sportswriter
Led by Jadon Elliott, who was named the athlete of the meet, the Triad boys track and field team finished fourth at the 21-team Granite City Invitational on Friday, April 12.
“We didn’t expect to finish in the top five at this meet,” Triad Coach Brian Weiss said. “The top three teams won trophies and it was fun to be in the hunt for one throughout the night. Mascoutah led us by 2.5 points for third place, but to be honest we didn’t set up our team to try to maximize points at this meet. We’re still learning who we are and experimenting with things. The boys understand the process and believe in one another. When we combine that with having fun, special things can happen for us as a team.
“I’m really enjoying the season with this group as I observe them grow.”
Belleville East was the team champion with 89 points. Completing the top 10 were Cahokia (76), Mascoutah (65.5), Triad 63, Freeburg (60.5), Alton (56), Edwardsville (56), Collinsville (48), Belleville (44) and Marion (32).
Elliott was the Knights only champion at the meet, winning the pole vault with a height of 14-6, which broke a 45-year-old meet record. He also finished seventh in the high jump with a leap of 6-0.
“The meet conditions were the best we’ve seen at this meet and Jadon took advantage of them,” Weiss said. “He made 14-6 for the second meet in a row and nearly cleared 15-1, which would be a new Triad school record. Jadon also cleared 6-0 in the high jump to finish seventh.”
Triad seconds went to Will Hancock in the high jump and the Knights 4 x 800-meter relay team. Hancock cleared 6-2 in his event. In the 4 x 800, the foursome of Drake Bleier, Jack Hansen, Luke Perry and Ben Walter clocked in at 8:20.15.
“Will jumped the IHSA state qualifying standard tonight and looked great doing so,” Weiss said. “All qualifying performances muste be made at the sectional meet to move onto state. This is a great step in the right direction for Will and his maturity as an athlete has helped him perform his best both indoors and outdoors of his senior season. Will is currently ranked seventh among Class 2A jumpers in the state.”
“None of our guys (in the 4 x 800) ran a PR, yet we still improved on our season best by 10 seconds,” Weiss said. “I think we have the ability to run around 8:05 on the right day right now. The boys are currently sitting number one in Class 2a state rankings.”
The Knights got a third out of the freshman-sophomore 4 x 400-meter relay squad. Ethan Dudley, Ryan Peach, Andrew Wildhaber and Luke Perry ran their race in a time of 3:39.75.
Picking up individual fourths for Triad were Johnnie Caswell in the 100-meter dash, Bleier in the 1600-meter run and Josh Edison in the 200-meter dash.
Caswell ran his race in a time of 11.29 seconds. Bleier covered the mile in time of 4:33.35 and Edison went 200 meters in a time of 23.20 seconds.
Also coming up with a fourth for the Knights was the 4 x 100-meter relay team of Luke Foreman, Caswell, Carson Milligan and Edison. They finished the race in 43.38 seconds.
“We ran faster than any 4 x 100 time we had last season, and we were good last year,” Weiss noted. “ Our 43.59 2018 best was good enough for second in our sectional last year. I think the school record of 42.57 is in jeopardy this season. Luke, Johnnie, Carson and Josh ran an IHSA state qualifying mark and they did so on a track that isn’t super fast. Their time ranks seventh in the Class 2A state rankings right now.”
Jarod Willis was fifth for the Knights in the 3200-meter run. He turned in a time of 10:14.75.
Caswell came in sixth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.38 seconds.
In a meet where the top eight finishers in each event were given medals, Triad got an eighth out of Caleb Bagwell in the 1600-meter run. He finished the race in a time of 4:43.31.
The relay team of Milligan, Hansen, Kevin Pottorff and Hunter Jones had an eighth in the 4 x 200-meter relay. Their time was 1:35.14.