Prep notebook: IHSA state track to remain at EIU

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 20, 2017 1:05 am

The boys and girls state track and field championships aren't leaving Charleston, Ill., anytime soon.

The Illinois High School Association announced Tuesday a five-year extension for Eastern Illinois University to host the state meet at O'Brien Stadium through 2022.

For schools in West Central Illinois, that means another three-hour drive if the entire team of a few athletes qualify for state.

Some in the area aren't thrilled with the drive.

"Really the only think I dislike about it is the location," Liberty coach Jared Schmidt said. "There's just no good way to get there."

O'Brien Stadium first hosted the boys state meet in 1972, but returned to the University of Illinois the following year. EIU hosted the state finals in 1974 and has ever since.

One of the reasons why EIU is an attractive spot for the state finals is because the spring semester is finished and the dorms are empty. Schools are able to use the dorms to house their athletes for a price. Schmidt, however, has his athletes stay in local hotels because the pricing is similar, and hotels offer breakfast.

"Everything works there," Schmidt said. "There's no hiccups. The weather is usually pretty nice, too. I don't hate the facility, I just wish it was more centrally located."

Highland freshman nearing sister's records

In just her first few months running high school track, Adalyn Johnson is already nearing the Highland school record in the 400-meter dash.

Her biggest fan to break the record? Her sister, Avery, who currently holds the record.

"She's definitely cheering me on," Johnson said. "We've always had that kind of relationship."

Avery, who is currently a sophomore on the Culver-Stockton College softball team, set the school record of 1 minute, 2 seconds at the state meet her freshman season.

Adalyn's fastest time in the 400 is 1:02.97.

Fox enjoying power surge

Will Fox entered this week with just one homer on the season.

In the last two days, the West Hancock slugger has belted four home runs. But that's not to the surprise of Titan coach Lee Purchatze.

"He started the year kind of slow," he said. "But I think after that period of rain we had where we didn't play for awhile, he just looked more relaxed...he's more himself again."

Fox's latest two-homer game came in an 11-4 victory over Southeastern. He belted a pair of two-run home runs in that game.

Tuesday, he smacked two homers in a 12-11 victory over Macomb.

On the season, he now has five home runs and 24 RBIs. He's hitting at .429 and has a slugging percentage of .971.

"It's how Will leads," Purchatze said. "He's not a real vocal leader. But when he's hitting it puts everyone else at ease and takes some pressure off.

"If you get on base ahead of him, it's likely something good is going to happen."

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