Levi Perry entered the outdoor track & field season with the goal of a "hot" start.|
One throw produced the result.
On his first discus attempt, the United Township senior thrower set a personal best. Perry's throw of 157-feet-2 also gave him the A-Flight title in the Shipley Invitational at Browning Field, helping the Panthers win the eight-team A-B-C meet championship on Saturday with 262.5 points.
"I'm really optimistic to see what happens," Perry said. "I'm just hoping I can carry this on the rest of the season, keep getting (personal bests) and maybe even getting a medal at state."
Deciding against playing football last fall in order to focus on throws, Perry immediately saw results. Labeled by the UT coaching staff as the ultimate worker, he found his groove in his first attempt.
Before Saturday, his best discus throw was 146-9.
Once he left Browning Field, Perry increased his best by almost 11 feet.
"It gives me a good sense of accomplishment," Perry said. "It gives me a chance to see that all the hard works pays off. It gives me some extra motivation."
Perry won the title by more than two feet and also surpassed the Class 3A state-qualifying minimum.
"I am very happy," Perry said.
Austin Webster had the same feeling.
The junior runner was the only UT athlete to win multiple A-Flight titles as he captured the 1600- and 3200-meter races. Webster completed the wins in 4:38:33 and 9:46.88, respectively.
"That mile hurt a little bit -- I ran a little too fast in those first two laps," Webster said. "Otherwise, it was a good day."
Dalton Oakes (110) and Drew Merideth (300) swept the A-Flight hurdles races for the Panthers, who also had Nicholar Mends, Isaac Boore, Omar Raya and Matt Hanson win the 4x800.
UT capped the day with B-Flight wins in the 400, 800, 1600 and pole vault, and a C-Flight victory in the 800.
"We knew it was going to be our depth that would bring us to the top," first-year UT coach Evan Holschbach said. "But what was one of the most positive things is despite everyone feeling twinges of pain, they were competitive. Overall, it seemed like in every division and every event, we were fighting."
Rocks take third: DayQwon Jones (400, 52.53) and Aaron Arrington (high jump, 6-2) gave Rock Island, which took third with 233 points, its lone individual A-Flight wins. Charlie Sparkman, Amos Johnson, Brian Richardson and Chris Ehimwenman won the 4x100 in 44.33. Jones, Arrington, Ben Kochuyt and Prince Gbeddeh ran a 3:38.49 to win the 4x200.
Derrick Willies, the defending Class 3A state champion, did not complete his 110 hurdles race after re-aggravating a hamstring injury. Richardson injured his hamstring in the 100 and the Rocks' 4x200 saw a potential victory end when the baton was dropped on the third exchange.
"We expected better," Jones said. "But we just go with the flow."
Alleman (161 points) took fifth and Moline (128) finished seventh.