Synergy reigned supreme for the Vandalia boys track team Monday in a quadrangular meet at Breese Mater Dei.
Enduring winter’s latest attempt to hijack spring and running on a track featuring a cinder/weed mix not conducive to record-breaking performances, VCHS coach Jane Bell asked her team to forget about individual ambitions.
Instead, she asked almost every Vandal to go outside of their comfort zones and compete in up to four events – many of which they had never been in before.
The objective was to achieve one of the team’s primary preseason goals – the program’s first meet victory since 1989.
The Vandals did just that, using what Bell accurately referred to as ‘a true team performance’ to rack up 116 points, finishing ahead of Mater Dei (103), Belleville Althoff (27) and Christ Our Rock Lutheran (7).
‘At the beginning of the season, the boys wrote down goals, and that was one of them, particularly for our seniors,’ said Bell of winning a meet. ‘So this week, I handed them the entry sheet and said, ‘This is the meet to win, so everybody’s going to have to do four events and different things.
‘It’s not about times – it’s about getting points. This was not the place to get great times, so the boys put themselves in different events.’
And many of them did quite well, which – along with their usual performances – added up to a team victory.
Vandalia wound up with eight top performances, as Drew Stewart and Josh Goen led the way with two first-place finishes each.
Stewart took the discus (110-2) and shot (37-0), while Goen won the 110m hurdles (17.8) and 300m hurdles (46.3).
Stewart also joined Codee Street, Michael Galletto and Angel Osorio on a first-place 4x200m relay team (1:47). Street, Osorio and Galletto were also part of the Vandals’ first-place 400m relay (51.4), which also included Andy Koonce.
Drew Bell (800m, 2:14.4) and Osorio (200m, 25.1) rounded out VCHS’s first-place times.
‘Angel is running really well,’ Bell said. ‘He was the one person who ran fast times on a slow track.’
Finishing second for the Vandals were: Goen (long jump, 15-8; triple jump, 34-3 1/2), Osorio (high jump, 5-4), Tim Dunahee (shot, 34-2), the 3,200m relay team of Stewart, Austin Schukar, Daniel Bell and Drew Bell (9:57.1), Jon Denning (3,200m, 11:12; 1,600m, 5:29), Koonce (400m, 1:00.0) and the 1,600m relay team of Denning, Daniel Bell, Schukar and Drew Bell (4:21.5).
Taking third were: Galletto (discus, 97-9), Street (100m, 13.13; 200m, 27.4), Schukar (400m, 1:03), Daniel Bell (1,600m, 5:57.0).
Placing fourth were: Matt Grove (long jump, 13-10; triple jump 32-2 1/2; 300m hurdles, 1:07.8), Dunahee (discus, 85-8 1/2), Galletto (100m, 13.16) and Koonce (200m, 28.4).
Rounding out VCHS’s results with fifth-place finishes were: Brett Ambuehl (triple jump, 28-11; 3,200m, 14:02; 1,600m, 6:31) and Grove (800m, 2:29).
Pana 119, Vandalia 58,
Greenville 51, Gillespie 42
The Vandals dominated the distance events, as Drew Bell took the 1,600-meter run (4:49.0) and 3,200m (10:40.4), with Denning following close behind on his way to second-place finishes in both events with times of 5:09.7 and 11:15.1, respectively.
Osorio added a pair of second-place times in the 200m dash (24.7) and high jump (5-6), while Goen took second in the triple jump 38-1.
Daniel Bell (high jump, 5-2) had one of six third-place finishes for Vandalia. Also placing third were: Stewart (shot, 41-5), Grove (triple jump, 35-7), the Vandals’ 3,200m relay (Koonce, Grove, Schukar and Stewart, 9:55.8), their 800m relay (Nick Filer, Galletto, Street and Osorio, 1:46.8) and their 1,600m relay (Daniel Bell, Denning, Drew Bell and Goen, 4:09.2).
Goen chipped in fourth-place finishes in the long jump (17-0) and 400m (56.9).