Shamell Mangrum could not remember the last time the weather was as warm as Friday's 80-degree temperatures.|
But not coincidentally, Mangrum and her Rock Island girls' track teammates were finally hot again, too.
With the senior surpassing state-qualifying distances in both the shot put and discus, and the Rocks winning 11 of the 18 events, Rocky ran away with its second straight Western Big 6 Conference crown.
Super sophomore Mystique Thompson won both the 100 and 200, plus ran on the victorious 4x100 and 4x200 relays, to help the Rocks roll up 220 points.
Galesburg was a distant runner-up with 101 points. Moline (92.3), United Township (53.3), Quincy (52.3) and Alleman (35) rounded out the finish in order at UT's Soule Bowl.
"We came in with a chip on our shoulder,'' Mangrum said after Rocky's 24th title since the Big 6 started girls' track in 1977. "Losing by a point last weekend at the Sterling Relays was a real wake up call for us. We hadn't lost a (regular-season) meet since 2010. So this was a comeback for us, to let everyone know we still have it in us to be great.''
Helping prove that point were a pair of wins by Drake-bound Celeste Arteaga in the 800 and 1600.
Freshman Triniesha Gray (long jump) joined Thompson, Mangrum (discus), Chelsey Temple (high jump), Kiah Clements (400) and Ashley Anderson (300 hurdles) in scoring solo victories.
Gray also teamed with Thompson, LaCresha Linton and Troy Jackson on the relay winners.
No other locals won events.
"But just saying we were going to come in here and blown them out? That wasn't an option,'' Gray said. "We needed to come in here and prove something to ourselves and everybody else by hitting state-qualifying (performances).
"Two weeks in a row, we didn't perform to the best of our ability. So we told ourselves we needed to get it together because it's the postseason stretch now. It's time for us to rise to the challenge. So we were racing the clock the whole day.''
Mangrum and Gray were among the many Rocks exceeding those state standards.
"Last week was pretty cold and windy,'' Mangrum said. "But it was warm (Friday) and that got my muscles heated up to the point where I threw well.''
Mangrum won the discus with a 125-foot, 6-inch throw, an inch over state qualifying, and finished third in the shot with a 38-3 heave nearly a foot above the standard.
Gray jumped 17-8.5 to exceed the Class 3A distance by five inches.
"We also had qualifying times in the 100, the 4x100, the 4x200, and had two kids (Anderson and Clements) make it in the 300 hurdles,'' longtime Rocky coach Michelle Lillis said. "Celeste also did a great job winning both the 800 and 1600 even though she just missed the time in both. It's harder in a smaller meet like this because everything runs so much closer to each other, there's not as much recovery time.
"The focus was not on winning the meet. If we focused on the (performances), though, we hoped the win would come from that. We're more concerned with how things are going to go a week from now. We bumped up into Class 3A this season and we're in a (sectional) meet that's very difficult now.''
Runner-up Galesburg captured five titles, with Markesha Harden claiming the triple jump and anchoring the 4x800 relay winners. The other two events went to Quincy.
Rock island, IL Details
|(More Print Ads)|