FULTON, Ill. – The 73rd Annual Craig Faulkner Relays may not be traditional compared to a regular track meet, but it still provides great local competition for the beginning of the outdoor season.
For most teams, especially in Illinois, this is just the second or third time out doors. They're still getting acclimated to running in the elements that the Midwest has to offer.
That means the abbreviated meet schedule isn't something coaches are necessarily worried about. The meet features just relays and field events, skipping the traditional open events you would normally see. The relays, though, offered some tight races and new competition for our local teams.
The Steamers ended up finishing eighth overall in their home meet, but saw some good things. Especially in their field events.
"We're seeing some things in our field events," head coach Mike Ankrom said. "Our guys are doing well. I think we've seen a lot of improvement over the last few weeks."
Sophomore Michael Apostolos cleared 5-08 yet again to tie for third in the high jump. Senior Kyle Schipper struggled to find his mark in the triple jump, but still flew 35-11 for a sixth place finish. Brady Shaver placed in the top ten in both the discus and the shot put.
As for running events, the Sprint Medley Relay consisting of Tristan Toppert, Kyler Pessman, Eathan Long and Michael Apostolos ran a 1:44.89 for a third place finish. Their Shuttle Hurdle Relay finish fourth.
With this just being their second outdoor meet, there's plenty of time for the Steamers to get their legs under them before they need to be peaking. That's what Ankrom wants to see.
"It's just try to get better, that's the biggest thing right now," Ankrom said. "We're pretty young. We need to get in better shape so we can finish off races."
The Steamers head to Rock Falls High School on Thursday for their next competition.
The Mustangs continue to be small but mighty, finishing fifth overall in the team standings with 34 points.
Three Morrison relays picked up first place finishes, even though head coach Tim Duncan is trying to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together.
"We've got talent, that's for sure," Duncan said. "The problem is spreading it out, especially among relays but we'll see what we can do."
The Mustangs have already made history. At the Illinois TopTimes Indoor Championship, they won three relays. That's the first time a team has done it, and they did it with just five athletes. Now, it's continuing that success out of doors.
"So far, we haven't had that many outdoor meets," Duncan said. "We did really well indoors, but we only ran relays."
The combo of Nathan Mickley, John Winkleman, Koby Brackemeyer and Keegan Anderson won the 4x400 Meter Relay in 3:31.09, secen seconds faster than runner-up Erie-Prophetstown. Brackemeyer, Anderson and Mickley then teamed up with Nick Allen to easily take the Sprint Medley Relay (100, 100, 200, 400) in 1:39.37.
Anderson, Brackemeyer and Mickley then ran with Hunter Newman in the Distance Medley (200, 200, 400, 800) to edge Camanche in 4:49.63.
The Mustangs return to competition this Friday, heading to Riverdale for a boys-girls competition.
Finishing right above Morrison in fourth were the Indians with 39 points. Even though they skipped their traditional events, they were excited to see some of the new Illinois competition.
Head coach Jerry Ford is excited to see what the Indians are doing as days go by.
"We just seem to keep getting better every meet, our times are still coming down," Ford said. "We're still working hard in practice."
Even though the meet didn't have a traditional agenda, including some new events like an elongated Distance Medley (1200, 400, 800, 1600) and the triple jump, they got to practice a handful of their normal events.
That includes their Distance Medley (200, 200, 400, 800), which they ran a 3:50.31, nearly beating Morrison.
"I like the new competition," Ford said. "There are some events that don't exist in Iowa."
Kyle DeWeerdt, Dylan Darsidan, Blake Hardison, and Chase Grim finished the 4x200 in 1:34.12 to win the event, while the 4x100 finished third overall. The 4x800 Relay and Shuttle Hurdle Relay also ran a third place performance.
Camanche is trying to shave time off events as the qualifying for the Drake Relays comes closer to an end.
Camanche returns to the track for competition on Thursday, heading to Monticello.
The Thunder only picked up a couple of points Tuesday night, but got some more outdoor practice.
Their Sprint Medley Relay finished eighth overall with a 1:50.33, as did their Distance Medley (1200, 400, 800, 1600). Their best performance of the day was Bradley Storjohann in the high jump, who cleared 5-08 to tie for third.
The Thunder head to Riverdale this Friday.