Three SJO relay squads advance to boys state meet

Three St. Joseph-Ogden athletes and as many relay squads from the team qualified for this weekend's Illinois High School Association boys state meet in Charleston.

Nolan Peacock and Hayden Knott were the only two Spartans to advance to the state meet in the field events.

Peacock will compete against a talented group of 34 high flying vaulters in the Class 1A pole vault. The junior cleared 11 feet-9 inches, good for a second place sectional finish, to qualify for a spot in Thursday's preliminary round.

St. Joseph-Ogden's Aiden Meyer
St. Joseph-Ogden's Aiden Meyer looks for running room after snagging a pass in the Spartans' first-round, road playoff game against Monticello in October last fall. Meyer, who suffered an injury during the meet, will continue his athletic career after high school electing to play football at St. Ambrose University. (Photo: PhotoNews Media/Clark Brooks)

The competition for Peacock will be stacked pretty high at state. The top sectional qualifier, Kyle Kruhtoff from Erie-Prophetstown, has raised the bar even before he and his competitors has laid eyes on the Eastern Illinois University campus. After winning last year's state pole vault title at 15 feet-6 inches, he leads all entrants state-wide in the event at 16 feet-even.

This will be Knott's second consecutive trip to O'Brien Stadium to state. As a freshman he qualified for state in the discus throw, a feat he was unable to duplicate this season. Instead, he will be throwing the metal ball down range as far as he can with the hopes of making the cut into Saturday's shot put finals.

Knott earn fourth place finishes in both the shot and discus at the sectional meet hosted by the Spartans on Friday. He sent the discus 132 feet and 1 inch and chucked the shot 49 feet-3.25 inches for his best meet marks.

Lane Gaskin hopes end his SJO track career on a high note. The senior will run in Thursday's 200-Meter Dash and in possibly two of the three relay prelims on Thursday. He ran a 23 second-flat sectional time, which is the 19th best in the state, and will need to lop off about a half second to make the cut into Saturday's championship race.

With Gaskin in the mix, SJO turned the sixth best sectional 4x100-Meter Relay time at 43.39. Joined by Brady Buss, Aiden Meyer and Dwight Colvin, Gaskin & Co. will face speedy quartets from Pana, DuQuoin and Rushville-Industry and should medal in the event.

The relay to watch will be the 4x200. The speedy foursome of Colvin, Brady Buss, Kaleb Harshbarger and Gaskin from the four-by-one will have a bulleye on their backs and are one of two squads, coincidentally from the same area of the state, to beat. Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley enter the event sharing the top sectional time of 1:31 heading into the Thursday prelims.

Later, Buss, Meyer, Ethan Vanliew, Keanen Swanson and Harshbarger combined for a time of 3:31.58 in the 4x400-Meter Relay. The group finished sixth in their sectional and will have to shave at least four seconds off their time to find a spot in the championship race on Saturday.

Despite finishing third in the 4x800-Meter Relay with Swanson, Eric Poe, Isiah McCune and Brandon Mattsey, the Spartans' 8:37.97 missed the cut.

SJO finished fourth in the team competition last Friday with 55 points behind Urbana University High School (3rd, 58 points), Maroa-Forsyth (2nd, 87 points) and meet champions Salt Fork. The Storm clearly dominated the day with 111 points.

Admission to this year's state meet is $10.00 per day and parking near the stadium is $5.00 per day. Tickets for Thursday's preliminary round go on sale at 9am at the O'Brien Stadium box office. Tickets for Saturday's finals will be available starting at 8am.

Correction: According to the results submitted to the IHSA, Gaskin, Meyer, Kaleb Harshbarger and Ethan Vanliew ran 3:31.58 in the 4x400-Meter Relay. The time was actually turned in by Brady Buss, Ethan Vanliew, Keanen Swanson and Kaleb Harshbarger. The 4x200 squad that ran the state qualifying time was made up of Dwight Colvin, Buss, Harshbarger and Lane Gaskin. Head coach Jason Retz confirmed that Aiden Meyer was injured and did not run in either race.

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