Posted Online: April 26, 2013, 11:18 pm

Rocky girls, UT boys win Sterling Relays titles

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By Daniel Makarewicz,

STERLING -- Even in victory, the Rock Island High School girls' track team felt somewhat defeated.

Sub-par performances and a disqualification -- at least in the Rocks' opinion -- overshadowed what was done on the track and in the field events on Friday night. Rocky did win the eight-team Sterling Relays at Roscoe Eades Stadium with 117 points, but the mood after the meet hardly was celebratory.

"We can do better, and I know we're going to do better," Rocky senior sprinter Troy Jackson said. "We have certain goals that we've been trying to achieve all season. We've just not met those goals yet."

In winning their third outdoor meet in four weeks, the Rocks snagged five titles even though they viewed their performance as average. Rocky won the team titles in the long jump (47-feet, 6-inches), triple jump (103-3), shot put (99-11.5), 400-meter hurdle shuttle (1:09.5) and 4x100 (48.82).

However, those finishes were forgotten after the 4x200 was disqualified after an apparent win over Erie-Prophetstown. According to the meet officials, Jackson and Olivia Brooks exceeded the exchange zone on the final hand-off.

"In certain relays, people haven't run those in a while," said Jackson, whose team has not competed in nearly two weeks because of the weather cancellations. "We just got out of the zone. I know it's no excuse for me even though this is my second 4-by-2 for the whole season."

Erie-Prophetstown, which finished fourth with 80 points as the lone Class 1A school in the meet, earned the 4x200 win and outlasted the Rocks to snag the 4x400. The relays were the only two events the Panthers won, but they had three individual titles.

Senior Paige Rus established an Erie school record by surpassing 36-5 in the triple jump, winning by seven inches.

"I came in really nervous because I knew there was going to be a lot of good competition," said Rus, who also won the high jump. "It got my adrenaline up. It's fun jumping against girls with good ability because it helps me push myself."

Two nights after establishing the school record in the long jump, freshman Peyton Rus soared 17-3 to win the event. Rus jumped a career-best 17-6.5 at the Irv Sanderson Invitational on Wednesday.

"I was really happy that I was consistent," Peyton Rus said. "I was afraid I would go back down to the 16s."

Geneseo (84.5 points) took third, with the 300 shuttle hurdle (2:24.48) setting a meet record and the discus team (279-10) also winning. Senior Hannah Waller won the individual 300-hurdle race in 45.58.

"I'm happy," Waller said. "It's about right where I should be."

Panthers win title: United Township won the boys' title after tallying 99 points, three ahead of runner-up Rock Island. The Panthers won the high jump (17-2), 4x800 (8:18.44) and 440 shuttle hurdle (1:04.56).

"It's great to win that," said UT senior Dalton Oakes, a member of the 440 shuttle hurdle. "It's a great accomplishment. We've got to keep the momentum going."

Quintin Holmes, Travon Aldridge and Chris Ehimwenman finished first, second and third, respectively, in the triple jump, helping the Rocks soar 130-5.5 to win the title. Rocky also won the 300 shuttle hurdle (2:07.7), 4x100 (44.06), 4x200 (1:33.01) and 4x400 (3:30.99).

"We know that the weather has brought us down and injuries have brought us down," said Rocky junior DayQwon Jones, a member of the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400. "But we turn it into motivation."