The Foxes finished fifth place as a team on Friday at the DuQuoin Class A Sectional out of 13 teams. The Foxes had no 1st place finishes, but did bring home a lot of medals and a few state qualifying spots. The Sectionals started off with everyone wondering if they would even be able to take place on Friday. Between the water shortage from Rend Lake and the impending weather it didn’t look promising. Many of the Hamilton County parents had to drive through a lot of rain to get to DuQuoin, but at go time the surfaces were a little bit wet the meet continued on.
In the Field events on his first jump Jake Whipple hit the state qualifying mark of 20′-10″. That was his best jump on the day, but he has went a lot farther and will hopefully be able to pull out a big jump on Thursday at the State Meet in Charleston. In the Long Jump three people advanced. Jake will jump at O’Brien Field in Charleston Illinois at approximately 10:00 a.m. on Thursday. As the field events finished up, the 3200m (4 x 800m) Relay was ready to start and the Foxes were ranked 2nd going into the race.
The Foxes realized they would have to run a great race to get to state and that is exactly what they did. The Foxes First Runner was Evan “Lil Fox” Shelton who took off and stayed in contention with the leaders running a 2:09 800m before he handed off to Theron Smith who ran the 800m in 2:08. Vienna was still in contention and were running what looked like there best 4x800m Relay of the year. Pinckneyville still had a commanding lead but it was starting to get smaller. Hunter Braden received the baton as the third runner and he gained a lot of ground on Pinckneyville and improved the lead on Vienna by dropping a 800m time of 2:03. Hunter handed off to Matt Rubenacker and Matt maintained the lead and crept closer to Pinckneyville. Matt completed the race to give the Foxes the second place finish and advance the team to the State Meet next week. Matt ran an 800m time of 2:08. The Foxes 3200m Relay team will run on Thursday at approximately 11:00 a.m. at O’Brien Field in Charleston Illinois.
The Final Qualifier for the State Meet from the Foxes was Jake Whipple who finished in 2nd place in the 100m. Jake took the lead from Carmi’s Northcott with a little under 20m left, but Northcott was able to catch back up to win by five one hundreths of a second. Jake will run the 100m Dash sometime around 12:30 or 1:00 on Thursday at Charleston Illinois.
The Foxes also had two very close finishes that were almost State Qualifiers as well. In the 400m Run, Theron Smith came back from being last in the pack to finishing only two tenths of a second behind the number 2 runner. If Theron would have had another few meters he would have advanced. Theron has been working insanely hard this year and only being a sophomore he has a bright future ahead of himself. The other super close finish was in the 1600m Run. Hunter Braden was primed and ready to work his butt off in the race, but before that would happen, a 30 minute lightning delay would take place. This may or may not have been beneficial for both Hunter Braden and the competition. Hunter took off strong and the front runners took a little bit of a lead on Hunter. Hunter kept calm and kept working on his race strategy. As the third lap started, it was evident that Hunter was making ground on the second place runner (Ty Barbre from Carmi). Braden kept working and running almost identical splits on each lap he caught up with Ty and passed him going into the final 300m of the race. Hunter kept his surge on a pushed Ty to his limits passing him back and forth throughout the last 300m. Hunter surged ahead of Ty, but Ty was able to retake and maintain the lead with only about two steps left in the race. It could have been the most exciting race of the night, Hunter finished in third place missing the second place position by one tenth of a second. Ty and Hunter were both tired and extremely happy with each others performances.
Track is a sport in which is decided by hundredths of seconds, sometimes the hundredth of a second is on our side and sometimes it isn’t. Let’s just hope that at the State Track Meet it is on our side! Good luck at the State Meet Foxes.
The Prelims for the State Track Meet are on Thursday and the Finals are on Saturday.