CHARLESTON – Colton Yeakley had never heard of Kyler Yodts until he checked the sectional results for shot put last week.
“I was like, ‘I hope they made a mistake,’ ” said Yeakley, a senior from Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond.
Yodts, a senior from Rock Island Alleman, entered this weekend’s Class 1A State Finals with a qualifying sectional throw of 60-3 1/2.
He fired a 60-1 1/2 on his first throw during Thursday’s prelims and upped it to 60-7 to win the state championship on Saturday in Charleston.
Yeakley carried over his 54-7 3/4 from prelims for a second-place medal on Saturday.
Yodts, the only person between Yeakley and a state title, was throwing in 2A last year. Alleman dropped down to 1A this season.
“It’s hard to compete with that,” Yeakley said. “It’s good to have competition, but it’s hard to compete with anyone who goes 60 feet. It’s just natural ability.”
Yeakley beat the competition he knew he had coming in, including Nick Olson, from Flanagan-Cornell, who won the title at Illinois Top Times in March.
“I knew I was going to compete with him and there’s other people I’d competed with since junior high,” Yeakley said. “I knew if I beat Olson, I’d be up there at the top.”
Yeakley also took seventh place in discus. Mount Pulaski’s Peyton Taylor was fifth.
The Knights’ thrower and Logan Hall, a sophomore distance runner, helped Arthur take sixth place as a team. Jakob Brewer picked up three points for the team with a seventh place finish in 110-meter hurdles.
Hall finished second in the 3,200-meter race and fifth in the 1,600.
Other side for Adams
Meridian’s Noah Adams saw the 1A high jump finals from a different perspective, one that denied him back-to-back state titles.
He was in the final two again, this year with Georgetown-Ridge Farm’s Tyler Owen, and lost the same way he won last season.
With neither competitor clearing 6-11, Adams readied for his third and final jump knowing he had to clear it because he had too many missed attempts to win.
“It kind of flip-flopped,” Adams said. “Whenever you win like that, you’re real excited, but now seeing it from the other end, it stings.”
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Adams was at the same stage last year, after clearing 6-10, when he beat White Hall North Greene’s Logan Ross for the championship.
Adams hadn’t cleared 6-10 yet this season but reached a personal record at state for the second year in a row.
His prep career ends with three state medals in the high jump (in order by the most recent: second, first, fourth).
“I maybe wish it could’ve been the other way – second then first is a little more exciting,” Adams said. “I’m happy … came out here and jumped 6-10. I really wanted that. (I’m) ready to move onto the next level and hopefully be successful there, too.”
Adams will jump at the University of Illinois.
Warrensburg-Latham’s 4x100 relay had a good day Thursday and an even better one Saturday, finishing second after Fulton was disqualified for dropping its baton a couple strides before the finish line.
The Cardinals topped their school record for the second time in three days, posting a 42.95 during Saturday’s finals – down from 43.37 in prelims.
Only New Berlin, the 1A overall team champs, was faster (42.67).
Warrensburg also collected points with Brian Evans’ fifth-place finish in 110-meter hurdles and Diondre Lewis’ fifth- and sixth-place finishes in 100- and 400-meter races, respectively. The Cardinals finished 10th in the team standings.
“I’m happy I got an individual (medal) because that’s me,” Evans said. “But I’m really happy to have the relay one because I love those guys. They’re like brothers. We spent a lot of time fixing that up and it really turned out well.”
Around the track
... Shelbyville and Meridian rounded out the five area teams to finish in the top 20 of the team standings. Meridian’s top finisher was Adams. Shelbyville’s best came from the 4x800 relay, an exciting race at the start of the day.
Ryan Skowronski, who ran the anchor, led on the last lap but was passed by Rockford Christian’s Riley Wells with about 300 meters to go. Shelbyville came up almost a full second short, but the Rams shattered a school record by about six seconds with their 7:55.71 time.
“I saw in his body language he wanted me to pass him, I though what the hay, might as well, and I did,” Skowronski said of Wells. “I did it and I’m glad I did. I would’ve rather done that and gotten second, than fall behind and still get second.”
... After a difficult prelim on Thursday, Shelbyville’s Jordan Smith found the medal stand in the long jump Saturday and surpassed St. Teresa’s Jacardia Wright. Smith placed sixth. Wright finished ninth.