6-Peat Champions

The Tigers left it all on the track as they claimed a conference title for the 6th year in a row.
The Boys team poses for a picture with their new hardware
The Boys’ team poses for a picture with their new hardware
Photography, Emmarie Bires

The Boys’ Track Team has had an outstanding season this year.  The team has competed in meets all across Southern Illinois, taking home hardware multiple times throughout the season. Recently, the boys’ 4X800 team even broke the 34-year-old record by a wide margin of 9 seconds. But all of this is preparation for the end of the season when the boys must compete in the most important trio of meets of the year. The first exciting part of the series is the SIRR Conference Championship. The SIRR Conference Championship hosts both the Mississippi and Ohio sides of the River to River conference. Herrin, Carterville, Murphysboro, Massac, and Harrisburg all make up the Ohio Division. This year, the boys had their sights on a coveted 6-peat conference title, but they knew that this year’s meet would be extremely competitive. Every athlete must be at their peak performance, and each event must be seamless. The pressure to perform well was high, and the expectation to win was even higher.

Mason King (10) passes the baton off to Braden Davis (10) during the 4×800

It was Thursday, and the day of conference had finally arrived. When the boys got off the bus in Du Quoin for the meet, they felt ready to compete for the title, but nervous to see what the day had in store for them.

The field events kicked off the suspenseful meet. Jon Harrison (12) gave the team a strong start after placing first in the Triple Jump. John Braid (12), Isaiah Stubbs (9), Stetson Cornman (10), and Chris Nelson (11) also added some well-needed points in the field events.

The running events are where the bulk of points are scored, so it was critical to place in as many running events as possible. Leading off the conference running events, Nolen Frost (9) came in with a first-place finish in the 3200. Following that exhilarating performance, Mason King (10), Waylon Hall (11), Sam Jolliff (10), and Braden Davis (10) claimed first place in the 4×800 Relay. Building off of the momentum, Logan Clough (12), Kyrese Lukens (11), Joe Youngblood (10), and Jon Harrison (12) finished in second place for the 4×100 Relay. Kyrese Lukens then had a knockout performance in the 100, adding more points to the team score. The dynamic duo of Braden Davis (10) and Waylon Hall (11) claimed second and third respectively in the 800-meter run.  In the 4×200 meter relay, Logan Clough (12), Kyrese Lukens (11), Jon Harrison (12), and Chris Nelson (11) had an outstanding first-place performance.

Maddox Burks (10) celebrates after pushing through his 1600-meter run to a first-place victory. (Photography, Emmarie Bires)

At this point in the meet, there were only four events left, and Herrin was in a dogfight with Carterville and Harrisburg.  The team needed to score significant points throughout these last few moments of the meet to win the conference title.

Just then, Jaxon Hale (11) grabbed second place in the 300-meter hurdles, swinging the momentum in Herrin’s favor. Maddox Burks (10) gave the team more points with a first in the 1600. Logan Clough (12) and Kyrese Lukens (11) snagged a second and fourth-place finish in the 200. Finishing out the meet in the 4×400, Braden Davis (10), Jaxon Hale (11), Chris Nelson (11), and Jon Harrison (12) claimed second, topping off the meet with a strong finish. The running events had now concluded, and it was time for the results to be announced. Ultimately, Herrin came out on top with their sixth consecutive Conference title. Herrin wasn’t too far ahead of the competition, but their amazing performance managed to push them over.  Ending the Conference Championship, Herrin had 142 points, Harrisburg followed shortly after with 137 points, and Murphysboro placed third with 135 points. Asked about the win, Jon Harrison (12) said, “This was a big meet for the team and our coaches, having the chance to win conference for the sixth time in a row is something that not every team can do. We just practiced hard all week and we earned the outcome we needed.”

The boys’ track team eagerly receives their sixth consecutive conference champion plaque.

This year has been a unique year for the boys. The team has been faced with various setbacks and challenges, but through it all, the boys have stayed committed to training hard and encouraging their fellow teammates, fighting for their chance at victory.  The boys’ track season is not over yet, though, they head to Mascoutah on Wednesday the 15th for their sectional.

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