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Dillon Holloway is starting to think state championship.
And considering how the Brownstown High School student finished his sophomore track and field season, he has every right to.
Holloway broke his own school record for the third meet in a row Friday in the preliminaries of the shot put at the IHSA state track and field meet.
Even more impressively, his toss of 51 feet, 2 1/4 inches wound up placing him sixth out of 37 competitors - with each of the five finishers in front of Holloway being seniors.
"That's the one thing I'm happiest about," Holloway said. "Being a sophomore and having two more years, it's not looking too bad for me."
Holloway entered state competition coming off a then career-best toss of 50 feet, 10 at the Robinson Sectional, good for first place at the state qualifying meet for the second year in a row.
The Brownstown High School student had shocked himself earlier in the week with a toss of 49-11 1/2 at the Decatur Area Best Meet, so he figured another school record on the biggest stage in the state might be too much to ask for.
But those thoughts vanished with one glorious heave in Friday's prelims.
"Right before I threw it, I knew it was going to be a good throw," said Holloway of the toss that would earn him a state medal.
Holloway wound up improving 29 places in the individual standings and more than seven feet from his best state toss as a freshman (44-0 3/4).
Other than the fact that he is now fully recovered from a broken ankle that hampered him early in the season, Holloway doesn't know what to credit the dramatic improvement to.
"I guess just adrenaline," Holloway said. "Once I hit 49-11 1/2, it shocked me. But I just got more confidence, I guess."
He now hopes to parlay that confidence into a state title, ASAP.
"I'd really like to do that my junior year, and at least get in the top two or three," said Holloway, who won a state title as an eighth-grader. "I definitely want to (win state) my senior year)."
Holloway's performance helped cap a successful first season for the St. Elmo/Brownstown track coop.
The Eagles sent just three competitors to sectional competition, but got two of them to state, as sophomore Michael Kramer qualified in the high jump.
"We only took three people to the sectional, and we were joking that that's not too bad, taking two of three to state," Holloway said.
Kramer cleared 6 feet, 1 inch in the high jump, but came up a little short of the final-qualifying height of 6-3. Fortunately, Kramer and Holloway should be back next year, and they hope to have a few more teammates join them.
"We'd definitely like to get more people on the team," Holloway said. "We hope this shows that they can come out for track and have success."