Other than state champion Curtis Gordon, 10 other Jr. Vandals participated at the state meet last Saturday, with seventh-grader Emma Meyer recording the next-highest finish.
Meyer qualified in four events at the Illinois Elementary School Association state meet, and her ninth place finish in the pole vault (7 feet, 9 inches) was Vandalia’s only other top 10.
She also placed 21st in the 100-meter dash preliminaries (0:13.98), 19th in the long jump (14 feet, 7 ¾ inches) and was part of the 4X100-meter relay team which placed 14th (0:54.92).
Other members of that relay were Madeline Cade, Jensen Hollinshead and Anna Miller.
Also for the girls, eighth-grader Jalea Paslay placed 19th in the 800-meter run (2:34.58) and Karlie Bright participated in the pole vault.
For the boys, Gordon placed 16th in the 110-meter hurdle preliminaries (0:17.88) and 14th in the semifinals (0:17.94), and eighth-grader Ethan Meyer placed 32nd in the 200-meter dash with a personal-best time of 0:24.94.
“Any time you are an eighth-grader and running under 25 seconds, that is exceptional,” said coach Kevin Schroeder. “He’s got that sprinter’s build to be good in high school.”
The seventh-grade 4X200-meter relay team of Billy Crowley, Devin Smith, Logan Sullens and Gordon placed 28th (1:50.59), but set a new school record.
The seventh-grade boys tied for 17th as a team, with 10 points.
Over the past two seasons, the VJHS teams have had a total of 18 state qualifiers, and Schroeder said that the number should encourage more youngster to join the team.
“We hope that the success will show the others thinking about track that they should join,” he said. “You may not find it your first year, but you will find something you are good at.
“All types of people can be successful.”