BLOOMINGTON — Brooke Catherine and Triston Ballinger bolstered The Pantagraph area’s stellar pole vaulting reputation with wins in the Illinois Prep Top Times Indoor Track and Field Championships at Shirk Center on Saturday while Connor Stine exhibited a mean lean.

Giving area efforts an exclamation point was Bloomington sophomore Cary Lockhart, who flame broiled the Class 3A 200-meter dash in a winning 22.07 seconds.

Olympia’s Ballinger watched his teammate, Stine, capture the Class 2A 800 in an indoor career best of 1:58.30. He fell across the finish to nip Illiana Christian’s Nick Wondaal by a hundredth of a second.

Normal Community’s Catherine won the 3A vault at 12 feet, 6 inches, well under her career best of 13-4, which only nine girls nationally have surpassed this year. She went out attempting a meet record 12-9.

“Overall it was a successful day because I had fun,” said the reigning outdoor state champion. “I wasn’t as aggressive as I usually am. I think there is something going on with my (right) knee right now.”

Something good is going on with Lockhart, whose previous season best was 22.34. He won by .07 over Thornwood’s Dwight Johnson.

“Even though I’m young, it doesn’t mean I can’t compete with kids higher than me,” Lockhart said. “I felt good through the whole thing.”

Lockhart was third in the 60 (6.89) as Plainfield Central’s Kahmari Montgomery sped a meet record 6.84. Lockhart’s jaw-dropping 21.7 anchor leg helped his 800 relay finish fourth (1:33.07).

Seeded behind four others, Ballinger made an indoor personal best of 14-6, equaling his 2014 outdoor best. He was over 15-0, but displaced the bar with his chest.

“I think I just relaxed and did what my coaches have been telling me,” Ballinger said. “I got my shoulders back and got off the top (of the pole). I think I tried to sneak a peek (at 15-0) and bumped it on the way down.”

Stine bumped the ground hard after leading laps of 27.96, 27.98, 30.29 and 30.05.

“I leaned too far, but I got the win,” he said. “The school record is 1:53.8. That’s my goal. I’d like to win state. If I can get both, that’d be great.”

El Paso-Gridley’s Nathan Schertz was the lone entrant in the wheelchair 60 (21.48).

BHS triple jumper Garrett Lyle, the No. 7 seed, finished second (44-10¾) behind Plainfield Central’s Akwasi Aikins (45-1¾). Lyle trailed fourth-place teammate Coree Harrell (44-9) prior to his final jump.

“I never let Coree beat me,” said Lyle with a smile. “It’s always good having someone right there with you going back and forth.”

BHS freshman Ellie Weltha took second in the shot put with a lifetime best of 41-2½. Fiona Kanam of Niles North won at 42-0.

“I’m going for our school record,” said Weltha referring to Emma Schmelzer’s 2005 mark of 43-6. “I still have a lot of work to go with my form.”

Also second was the BHS 800 relay (1:45.60) of Jezel Martin, Kylie Welch, Erin Owens and Alexia Ware.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said Coach Kenny Herman, whose team came in with a best of 1:47.99.

A groin injury kept Mahomet-Seymour shot putter Andrew Franklin under his season best of 53-2, but he still got second in 2A (52-0) behind Carbondale’s Sam Sikon (56-6½).

“I was getting 58 and 59 marks (in practice) when I was healthy,” Franklin said.

In the 2A vault, Prairie Central’s Kassadee Ifft, the top seed at 12-6, had to settle for second at 11-6 as Troy Triad’s Claire Buck made 12-0.

U High took third in the 2A girls 3,200 relay in 9:52.78 thanks to Madigan Landess, Amber Nanni, Shannan Supan and Ashley LaFayette.

Courtney Manning of NCHS was third in the 3A triple jump (37-¼), while Mahomet-Seymour’s Twinkle Mehta was third in the 2A 800 (2:26.24). Central Catholic’s Joe Bevilacqua tied for third in the 2A pole vault (13-6).

U High’s Chante Stonewall, who won the 60 hurdles last year in 9.21, took sixth (9.48).

Meet records fell to Cahokia’s Ja’Mari Ward in the 2A long jump (23-5¾) and triple jump (49-2½), De La Salle’s Jaimie Robinson in the girls 2A triple jump (39-3), Aurora Central’s Karina Liz in the 2A 800 (2:13.05), Galesburg’s Josh Eiker in the 2A 200 (21.88) and Warren’s Brittny Ellis in the 3A 60 (7.61).

Meet records were tied by Springfield’s Lunden Henry in the 2A meet high jump (5-6) and Romeoville’s Cierra Pulliam in the 3A girls triple jump (40-2).




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