Jackson girls claim SEMO North track title

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Jackson sophomore sprinter Adam Zweigart ran for the first time this season using the starting blocks in the open 400 on Friday at the SEMO North Conference meet at Jackson.

Zweigart may want to stick with that approach after he set the school record with a conference-winning time of 50.06 seconds. That time would have been fast enough last year at the state meet for an all-state finish.

"I've never come out of the blocks ever," Zweigart said. "This is my first year running the open 400. This was my first time coming out of the blocks and it served me well. It was a tough race.

"Coach told me if I could use them during my race it would help me a little bit. I'm better when I can stay in the inside lane so I can see everyone in front of me."

Zweigart was a big scorer for the Indians, placing second in the 100 and 200 as well. In both the 100 and 200 Zweigart was neck-and-neck with the winner up until the line.

Jackson's Heather Hileman won the girls 100-meter high hurdles Friday at the SEMO North Conference meet in Jackson. (Fred Lynch)

"I feel like I can compete hard and do good at district," Zweigart said. "From there, go into sectional and make it to state."

The Indians will host the Class 4 District 1 meet on May 12. Fellow conference members Poplar Bluff, the winner on the boys side, and Central will also participate in the District 1 meet.

Sikeston's Brandon Washington edged Zweigart in both the 100 and 200. Sikeston competes in Class 3 District 1.

While new at the 400, Zweigart feels it's his best race and looks forward to excelling in the event during the remainder of his high school career. The exploits of Southeast Missouri State's all-American 400 runner Miles Smith provide motivation for Zweigart.

"I kind of look up to him," Zweigart said. "That's what I want to do. Hopefully when I come out of high school, I can get close to his times."

Despite wins from Zweigart, Greg Gibson (3,200), Jacob Bullinger (discus) and Alex Austin (pole vault), the Indians finished fourth with 62.50 points. Poplar Bluff won the meet with 72 points, followed by Sikeston (70) and Central (67.50).

"That boys deal, it was anyone's track meet," Jackson coach Bob Sink said. "I'm as proud of our boys as our girls [who won] because of the way they competed. We were in it al the way. A little here or there and we could have had a shot at it."

Central got wins from Tyler Terry (triple jump), Chase Johnson (800), Tyler Yeargain (1,600), the 3,200 relay and 400 relay. Yeargain's win over Gibson in the 1,600 was one of the closest races of the day and yet another chapter in an intense rivalry between the two distance runners.

"Me and him, we've had a few altercations, but it's always clean," Yeargain said.

Yeargain finished second in the 3,200, but well off Gibson's pace. The 1,600 simply took too much out of him.

"That 3,200 got a lot tougher, but that's the nature of the beast," Yeargain said. "Greg [Gibson] was able to shine in the 3,200."

On the girls side, Jackson ran away with the meet, scoring 122 points. Central was a distant second with 84 points.

Jackson's super senior Rachel Kahle won her four events (100, 200, triple jump, long jump), and junior Heather Hileman added three individual event wins in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump. Hileman also ran on the winning 1,600 relay team.

The Indians also got wins from Jordan Whitener (pole vault), Landon Wachter (400), Jill Rushin (discus) and the 3,200 relay team.

"You look at the good teams and they are the ones who have two or three outstanding athletes and then have people fill in and pick up points here and there," Sink said.

Brittany Moreland won the 800 and 1,600 for the Tigers. Veronica Schabbing won the 3,200, Brianna Egbuka won the shot put and Central won the 400 relay.

After several days of rain and dark skies much of the day Friday, the coaches felt lucky to get the meet in. A light rain greeted the athletes midway through the meet, but the weather stayed dry for the majority of the time.

"Best thing is we got the meet in," Sink said. "This morning around 11 a.m. I was thinking there's no way. Everyone wanted to run this because if we didn't things started backing up."

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