Eureka takes second place in the team
CHARLESTON – The smallest school in the field made one of the biggest statements on the track on Friday in the Class 2A final.
Eureka, with an enrollment of just 472 students, overcame a slow start with an incredibly quick finish to win the second place team trophy in the IHSA Class 2A State Track and Field Competition at O’Brien Field .
The Hornets secured the second-place material by convincingly winning the 4×400-meter final, with senior presenter Micah Senior crossing the finish line nearly two seconds ahead of Burlington Central presenter.
Mascoutah, with more than double Eureka entries, finished third in the final to conclude the tag team championship with 51 points. Eureka finished with 45 points. East St. Louis and Urbana are tied for third at 41.
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After winning the relay in a record time of 3 minutes 23.86 seconds, Senior jumped into the arms of Eureka coach Brett Charlton and the whole team celebrated the Hornets’ first trophy in class 2A.
“It was a statement for us, just to show what we could do,” said Aden Sears, senior at Eureka. “Honestly, we’re all ecstatic right now. We could go out and run another 4×4 now, we’re so happy.
Sears, who earlier won the 400-meter title, ran the second stage to put Eureka in the lead after opening year one Carson Lehman. Another freshman, Tyler Heffren, held Eureka in second before Senior passed the anchor of Burlington Central with 300 meters to go.
“I thought about when we were on the straight by staying behind and walking with him, but at that point I felt good…
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The little team was big at the end of it.
“We just showed that we don’t bow to anyone,” Senior said. “We’re going to go and we’re going to have a dog fight and show them what we can do. If you want to fight us, we’ll make you work for this. We did this throughout state 2A.
“I’m proud of how hard everyone worked today. The Eureka hornets. We’re swarming. We’re a family. That’s what we did. We came, we had our supporters here. and we couldn’t have asked for anything else. “
Charlton couldn’t have asked for more, in a competition that was postponed three hours for the track events due to the extreme heat.
The wait was worth it, for the Hornets.
“Honestly, I would have been delighted if we were third,” said Charlton, whose team was tied for seventh with just 11 points after the field trials. “Things didn’t start the way we wanted early on. We took a break, went back to the hotel and said, “We’re still in this business. We have to take one event at a time, play and our children have come however. With each event, it seemed like we were getting better and better.
Under Charlton, Eureka holds a Class A state title in 2005 and a second place Class 1A in 2014.
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“I would say this is one of the best teams we’ve ever had by far,” said Charlton. “We have won some over the years. This does not take anything away from these teams. But today, to compete at this level and see the kids improve, in my coaching career, he’s one of the best.
Senior Mitchell Danner also added a pair of medals, improving his seeds with his best times of the season to finish fourth in the 300 hurdles (: 38.92) and eighth in the 110 hurdles (: 15.00). And senior Elijah Skutt added a sixth in the high jump.
Sears finished with four state medals, individually crowned by the 400 championship. Sears came from behind to win in 49.29 seconds. Senior took the lead late, but stumbled just before the finish line and still took a fourth place (: 49.67).
“It means a lot because I’ve worked all four years for it,” said Sears, who was fifth in the high jump and eighth in the long jump. “I spent countless hours on the track and in the weight room and it paid off. It’s awesome. A game plan that is put in place.
Stan Morris can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @stanmorrispjs.