ARCOLA — The final Little Okaw Valley Conference boys and girls track meet was run under cool conditions at Thomas Bradford Field. It was the 48th boys and the 44th girls meet. Next year all but Oblong and Palestine/Hutsonville join the Lincoln Prairie Conference.
The girls meet was won by Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond for the first time since 2016 and the eighth time overall. The Knights, who scored 99 points, were led by Kenli Nettles, a junior, won the 100 hurdles, high jump, 200 and 300 hurdles. She shattered the meet record in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.85. The previous record was set in 2015 with a time of 15.36. Her time in the 200 was 26.11 and it was 46.35 in the 300 hurdles. She went 5-4 in the high jump.
On the boys side, Arcola won its fifth conference meet title and first since 2015 with the help of freshman Beau Edwards winning the 1,600. They did this after the heavily favored 4x100 team false started. The Purple Riders won with 80 points, beating Cumberland by 17.5 points.
"I think it came down to our field events," said Arcola coach Tommy Eddleman. "We had some good jumps in the triple and we placed in long jump, shot put and discus and high jump also. I think that was huge for us because a lot of schools lack in that area for a few events. Winning it means a lot and feels really good. You have to give all of the credit to the kids."
Okaw Valley was a close second in the girls with 93.6 points, while Cumberland was third with 90 points. Okaw Valley freshman Kylie Stauder set the LOVC record in the pole vault Wednesday at Cumberland going 9-0. The previous record was 8-0 set in 2016 and tied in 2017 and 2018.
"The weather has been a really big factor in clearing the bar," said Nettles of her high jump. On my third attempt at 5-4, I held my arch a little bit longer and held my head back a little bit longer. That is what I have been struggling with a lot."
Nettles best time in the 100 hurdles is 14.53.
"It is pretty exciting (to set the record)," said Nettles, who was ahead very early and glided over the hurdles winning by 1.99 seconds.
"I just try and PR every race. It is hard to do when I don't have a lot of competition. The biggest competition is yourself. I thought it was a little slower time. Most of the time I think it is a slow time and then I look up at the board and 'Oh, it actually wasn't very slow.' It surprised me a little bit."
Cumberland's Jasmyn Dittamore won the 800 (2:34.30) as well as the 3,200 (12:30.82) and was on the winning 4x800 (11.27.71). She was also on the 4x400 that finished second in 4:38.06.
Leah Brown, a Cumberland senior, ran the anchor leg of the 4x800 relay. She ran with three sophomores in Dittamore, Eve Brown and Olivia Pruemer. "We ran a lot faster than we usually do. We switched order a little bit. Usually Jasmyn doesn't run at all. We added her today. She just ran the 3,200 so she is really working it today. I was terrified when I got the baton. I was like 'I have to keep this lead.' The whole time I didn't know how close she was to me so I was just like 'Leah you have to just go and give it everything.' That is what I did. I ran like someone was chasing me. It feels good to win the final 4x800."
The Knights 4x100 team of Shaylie Miller, Jordan Pratt, Shae Slabaugh and Alexa Miller won with a time of 54.28, which was .86 seconds better than second place Tri-County. The 4x100 had to have a restart due to the fully automated time machine not working.
"My first start was a little off," said Shaylie Miller, no relation to Alexa Miller. "The second time I didn't hesitate. I was glad about the restart. we were down where you hand off and someone down there fired his gun and nobody heard it. Then there were three shots and I didn't stop because usually if it is a false start they do it within the first three steps. My handoff wasn't too bad. It could have been better, but there is always room for improvement. Our relay team is a lot more confident because we have won most of our meets."
Alexa Miller also won the 100 with a time of 13.22 seconds.
Okaw Valley freshman Karlie Stauder won the 400 with a time of 1:03.96 and the Lady Timberwolves 4x400 team of Macie Fleshner, Karlie Stauder, Kylie Stauder and Anna Wooters won with a time of 4:27.67. Arcola's 4x200 team of Ellie Strader, Mae Gentry, Ale Mendoza and Graciela Leal won with a time of 1:58.98.
"I was dying, but my coach's voice (Adam Reel) was in my head, 'You have to finish strong.' That is something I have been struggling with. It was our goal to win it and it was the first time we ran it in that order. I am usually second and Elle Strader ran anchor. Being the anchor put a lot of pressure on me, but it helped me push and that is what I needed."
In the 1,600 Layton Hall, winner of the 3,200 (9:58.75), started in first followed by Cumberland's Kort McClellan and Arcola freshman Beau Edwards. Edwards passed McClellan on the third lap and was just behind Hall before sprinting past him in the final 130 meters to win.
"I have raced against him before. The last time I raced him he was about 10 yards in front of me," said Edwards, who was also in the high jump, 800 and 4x800. "So this time I tried to stay within five yards and the last kick wins. I think it close to my best time. It is all for the team. We are in to win this meet."
Austin Romine won the 800 with a time of 2:02.74 holding off Edwards, who passed a runner to place second with a time of 2:05.19. Romine had just returned from the Senior Trip at Washington, D.C. Thursday morning. "I kept my mileage up and was doing longer runs there. I was talking to the coach through the week texting and calling. He helped me out a lot. We hoped for the best and hoped we could make something happen here.
I know I was feeling like jello even before the run. The coaches told me there is a really good runner from Arcola (Edwards). He ran the 4x800 also. So, I knew if I was going to get him I would have to take it out of him early. I ran the first lap in 56 or 57 and tried to hang on. I know it looked ugly, but I think I did my part and I am happy with the outcome. It was a really good time with my class and I am glad I had the opportunity to go. To come out here in the sport I love and in the last LOVC meet and win the 800 means a lot to me. It is fun to be at the last hurrah."
Arcola's 4x200 team of Diego Perez, Pedro Gauna, Ivan Franco and Jordan Melton won with a time of 1:36.74, while A-L-A-H's 4x400 team of Max Allen, Quentin Morgan, Adam Day and Romine won with a time of 3:36.82.
Tri-County's Ramsey Hunt won the high jump (6-2), long jump (21-5 1/2) and triple jump (42-11).