Prior to the start of the season, Vandalia High School boys track and field coach Jane Bell asked athletic director Mike Butler to schedule the Vandals a meet against a school east of Vandalia.
Bell wanted the team to get some regular-season experience against some of the competition it would face in the sectional in May.
If Tuesday night's meet at Flora is any indication of how the final weeks of the season will go, then Bell and the Vandals have a lot to look forward to.
Vandalia won the Flora meet, edging the host 92-82 also defeating Odin and Wayne City.
The Vandals had six first-place finishes, and freshman Blake Swofford put his name in VCHS record books in the long jump.
Swofford's jumps have been increasing with every meet this season. He finally broke the record (19 feet, 2 inches) with a jump of 19 feet, 4 inches. The previous record was set in 1986 by Jim Peters, and tied in 2006 by Josh Goen.
Quenten Austin took first in two events – the high jump (6 feet) and the 110-meter hurdles (16.59 seconds).
Marty Johnson and Will Cowger both took first in their throwing events. Johnson won the discus at 120 feet, 9 inches and Cowger won the shot put at 47 feet.
Freshman Wade Cowger won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:16.7. Senior Angel Osorio won the 400-meter dash in 53.3.
Vandalia had nine second-place finishes. The Vandals took second in three relays – the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x800.
Freshman Ryan Ambuehl placed second in the 110-meter hurdles (18.02) and the triple jump (38 feet, 6 1/2 inches).
The meet was cut short by four events (300-meter hurdles, 1600-meter run, 200-meter dash and 4x400-meter relay) after lightning and rain moved through the area.
The Vandals will be back on the track on Thursday at Pana, starting at 4:30 p.m., and at Mater Dei on Monday at 4 p.m.
It didn’t take long for the freshmen and sophomores to write their names into the VCHS track record books.
Freshmen Tim Ritchey, Swofford and Ambuehl, and sophomore Austin set a school record in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 47.83 seconds at the Comet Relays on Friday. The foursome beat the time of Cody McGee, Mitch Whightsil, Michael Galletto and Angel Osorio by a mere .07, a record set last year. Not only did the Vandals set a new record on Friday, they also won the event.
Osorio, the only remaining member of the previous record-holders, was able to put his name on another record as he, Austin and Ambuehl teamed up with Aaron Harter to set a school record in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:43.07, a fourth-place finish. The bettered the record of 3:44.6 set by Quinn Phillips, Clint Devall, Drew Bell and Andy Koonce last year.
In addition to placing first in the 4x100-meter relay, the Vandals placed first in the high jump and shot put.
Austin, Osorio and Daniel Bell combined for 17 feet, 6 inches in the high jump. In the shot put, Cowger, Johnson and Drew Stewart combined for 131 feet, 11 inches.
Vandalia placed second in the triple jump. Ambuehl, Harter and Nick Filer’s best jumps combined for 103 feet, 7 inches.
Swofford, Matt Hubbart and Codee Street placed third in the long jump with 46 feet, 2 inches.
Ambuhl and Austin teamed up again in the shuttle hurdle relay, placing second with a time of 32.56.
In co-ed action, Johnson and Cowger ran with Kelly Booker and Taylor Parrish in the 4x100-meter throwers relay. The Vandals placed fourth with a time of 57.8.
As a team, Vandalia placed third with 64 points, Nashville won the meet with 103 points.