CHARLESTON, Ill. — Duplicating what their counterparts on the girls team did last weekend at Eastern Illinois is a difficult assignment for the athletes on the Erie/Prophetstown boys track team. But, the Panthers still have a good opportunity to come away with a lot of points and perhaps a medal this weekend at the Illinois Class 1A boys track and field state meet.
The Panthers will participate in eight events when the Class 1A preliminaries take place beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday at O’Brien Stadium. If they can match their seedings, the Panthers could make a push for a top-five finish, one week after the E/P girls finished second in the state.
The best opportunities to score — and score big — appear to be in the two sprint relays. The Panthers have the second-fastest seed times in both the 400- and 800-meter relays. They ran the 400 in 42.86 at the sectional meet and the 800 in 1:30.21, finishing second in each race to rival Sterling Newman.
Senior Devin Johnson is a returning placewinner for Erie/Prophetstown in the 400-meter dash, and he also is hoping to improve upon an eighth-place finish in the long jump a year ago. He enters the meet with the fifth-best sectional performance, 21 feet, 11 1/4 inches.
The field events have been a strength for the Panthers all season, and they have entrants in three more events there.
Senior Ethan Oleson brings the fourth-best sectional toss in the shot put (51-6), senior Jon Butts is entered in the discus with a 143-8 qualifying mark and sophomore Jared Cole (12-3) and junior Kyle Pannier (11-3) finished 1-2 in the sectional in the pole vault competition.
The other entrant for E/P is senior Darius Owens in the 200. He comes in with the eighth-fastest sectional time (22.42).
The aim Thursday is to qualify for Saturday’s finals, where the points are scored. Junior Bryce Holesinger, competing for Fulton/Fulton Unity Christian, is another one who would like to be on the track Saturday.
Holesinger qualified in the 110 and 300 hurdles races. He qualified 12th in the 300 in 41.01 and 13th in the 110 in 15.73.
The other area qualifier is Morrison’s Ryan Mayberry in the 400.