ARTHUR — The first outdoor boys and girls track meet that had good weather was Wednesday at Wilson Field. The 48th annual Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond (formerly Arthur Invite) boys invitational and the 27th annual Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond girls invitational saw 18 boys and 16 girls teams compete on a windy day that started with temperatures in the upper 60s.
A young Tri-County team won the girls meet with 96 points, while Tuscola was second with 82 points. Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond was third with 81 points, and Casey-Westfield/Martinsville fourth with 50 points. Neoga was sixth with 39 points, while Okaw Valley was 13th and Arcola 14th.
Tuscola won the boys meet, and scores were unavailable at press time as were the results.
Tri-County's Julia Mickler, a foreign exchange student from Germany, won the 3,200 with a time of 13:44.26. It was her first time running the 3,200, and she led from start to finish.
"I am not used to being in the lead. I am used to being second or third so that I can see who is in front and after the first lap I try and go after them," said Mickler.
"I went out pretty fast and then I slowed down because I didn't know how to run it. I just tried to do my best. The wind made it hard around the curve (200 meters), but the finish line it was way better. I liked how the wind was. In Germany, I run too and I know how to stay on pace. It is a good feeling to win it and I like it."
In Germany, Mickler ran on her track team and in her free time she ran half marathons.
Neoga won the 4x800 with a time of 11:41.86. The relay team consisted of Olivia Titus, Allison Kingery, Ellie Clark and Kylee Phillips. The Lady Indians came from behind to win.
Neoga won the 4x100 relay as Zoe Meadows, Melanie Gentry, Kingery and Abbi Kepp won with a time of 55.08.
"I felt like we had a really smooth race," said Kepp. "Everyone got out quick and our exchanges were very smooth. We executed it very smoothly."
The weather also helped said Kepp, who added they only had two meets. "Getting some good weather and some track time is always a great feeling."
Kepp and others finished with the 15- to 20-mile-per-hour wind at their backs. "I love running with the wind. It felt very fast. I just did what I could to help my team out. It always feels good to come out with a win because it means everyone is doing their part and we don't have a track. It is always a big plus."
Kepp was also in the 100 hurdles, the 200 and the 4x200 relay.
Kenli Nettles defended her title in the high jump going 5-3 and won the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.27. In the high jump, Nettles skipped all of her jumps until 5-3. She also won the 300-meter hurdles by 30 yards with a time of 48.06. Nettles lost in the 100 hurdles in last year's meet by .02. Nettles was also in the 4x400 relay and was hoping to break the school record in the 300 hurdles of 45.0 or at least a 46.0 as the record was 46.1. She didn't get that, but she did set a meet record time of 48.06 seconds. The previous record was 48.95 by Cumberland's Amanda Wolke in 2006.
"I was definitely disappointed in the high jump," said Nettles, who had gone 5-4 in last year's meet. "It wasn't the first to the first hurdle. My coach always tells me the first one to the first hurdle, but I am always a little iffy out of the blocks and I had the weird old blocks today so it didn't feel right. Once I got to the hurdles I felt good. I was low over them. Normally I jump over them instead of glide. I felt really fast today and I had the wind to my back."
In the 100-meter dash, there was a race between Tri-County freshman Katelyn Lang and Casey-Westfield/Martinsville's Faith Frye, who won last year's meet with a time of 13.49. This time, it was Lang coming away with the victory.
"I have known of Frye," said Lang. "My goal was to go out and try and get a PR time and try and break my school record. I knew she was beside me, but I knew I could get her because I have worked for this all my life. I just wanted to go out and do this for myself. It feels good to have won. I am just trying to work up and get better and make it to state because that is the biggest goal of them all. I just want to show people that I am out here because I am so young."
Lang also won the 200 with a time of 26.75, and Kaylenn Hunt of Tri-County won the triple jump with a leap of 33-11 1/2.
Frye won the long jump with a leap of 17-5.
Melia Eskew, another Tri-County freshman, won the 800 using a strong kick to beat Neoga's Kylee Phillips, who was right behind her after the first lap.
"I could see her right on my shoulder," said Eskew. "The coaches wanted me to come out faster than I did, but I started my kick where they told me to. The win gives me a lot more confidence than I had going into this."
A-L-A-H's Hannah Wallen won the 400 with a time of 1:07.78.
Neoga's Brody Titus, Trevor Fleshner, Tyler Roy and Reece Johnson won the 4x800 relay with a time of 9:00.25.
"The first lap was kind of slow, but I noticed I had a lot more left in the tank so I let it open and got around the corner faster and probably ran my personal record in the 4x800," said Titus of his 2:15 split. "It was the first time since I have been here that we won something that big here. That was a pretty big achievement for us. Against the wind it was hard. It started blowing really hard on the first lap. We just all pushed through and got through it."
Titus is a senior.
Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond senior Colin Budd won the 800 with a time of 2:06.79.
"I didn't want to kill myself too much in the first lap, and I wanted to stay behind the leaders," said Budd. "Around the first curve on the second lap, I decided to make my move then. From then on I knew I could just have fun with it. This was my first win in track, which was definitely a morale booster. You could feel the wind a little bit, but that is not what is going through your head. You are thinking about winning."
Casey-Westfield's Kyle Carver dominated the 110 hurdles leading from the get-go, winning with a time of 15.86.
"I felt really good out of the blocks," said Carver. "I feel I am stronger this year and a little quicker."
Carver, who also won the 300 hurdles with a time of 42.30, said he clipped almost every single hurdle a little bit.
As for running with a lead, Carver said, "I just focus on my lane. It is a great accomplishment to win this. it was nice to have some warm weather finally."
A-L-A-H's Logan Hall, who is headed to Illinois, led from start to finish in the 1,600 and led by 110 yards at the halfway mark. He won by 200 yards and sprinted the final lap finishing with a time of 4:23.89. He held his hands out in triumph as he crossed the line.
In the 3,200, Cort Ross of Casey-Westfield won with a time of 10:19.70 pulling away for the win.
A-L-A-H's Kobe Wells won the high jump at 6-2, while Tri-County's Ramsey Hunt won the triple jump with a leap of 45-0 3/4.