MAHOMET — The Mahomet-Seymour boys’ track and field team was dealt a tough blow with a season-ending injury early in the season to senior long-distance runner Bryson Keeble. But they’ve always adopted a “next man up” mentality.
The Bulldogs got contributions from up and down their roster and ran away with the Apollo Conference crown last Friday at Mt. Zion. The Bulldogs finished with 132 points, and Mount Zion was second with 118. Mattoon placed third with 90 points.
CJ Shoaf continued to prove his worth with his versatility. Shoaf won three events. He cruised to a win in the 110-meter high hurdles with a time of 16.04 seconds, and teammate Peter Slezak took third with a time of 15.59 seconds.
In the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, Shoaf won with a time of 42.09 seconds. Slezak placed second with a great time of 42.32 seconds. Shoaf capped off his terrific day with a winning leap of 5 feet, 11 inches in the high jump.
“CJ is an amazing athlete and could help us improve a couple of relays, but I realized early in the season that he has a shot at scoring points at the state meet in a couple of different events,” M-S coach Todd Lafond said. “I chose to only high jump him and put him in the two hurdle races to hopefully keep his legs fresh and more explosion in his jumps. His performance at the conference meet is pretty amazing for a sophomore.”
Hunter Hendershot and Morrie Mendenhall were monsters in the shot put. Hendershot dominated as usual and won with a throw of 58-0.5. Mendenhall has been a pleasant surprise and took second place with a throw of 49-7.5
“Morrie’s first love is football and he had to be ‘convinced’ to come out and throw for us,” Lafond said. “Coach Vaughn believed the first day he saw him that he could qualify for state and has been looking for ways to maximize his strength and help him figure out his best approach in the ring to get to state and score points at the state meet. Morrie is a hard worker in and out of the ring. In addition to that he’s a great kid and very open to being coached.”
Hendershot is making a strong push to be a state champion in both the shot put and discus. He defeated his Apollo Conference mates with a throw of 175-0 in the discus. Costen Campion placed third with a toss of 141-8.
Senior Mathias Powell cruised to victories in both the 3,200-meter race and the 1,600-meter. Powell ran the 1,600 in 4:24.16 and the 3,200 in 9:53.85.
“I asked him to just win and not worry about times,” Lafond said.
Freshmen Joseph Scheele, Kyle Nofziger and Jonah Singer teamed up with sophomore Matthew Sims and the underclassmen placed second in the 4-x-800 meter relay. Singer cinched the runner-up spot with a 2:05 anchor leg.
“I told them all we needed was a second,” Lafond said. “That is exactly what they did.”
Singer chipped in with a sixth-place run in the 800-meter dash. Noah Powell and Kaeden Hamilton both earned points in the triple jump. Powell was fourth with a jump of 36-9.5 and Hamilton was sixth in 36-0.5.
Colin Balbach vaulted 12-6 to place third in the pole vault.
The Bulldogs will host the M-S Invitational at 10 a.m. Saturday. On Monday, it will be the News-Gazette Honor Roll Meet at 5 p.m. at Urbana High School. IHSA Class 2A sectionals get started on Thursday at Monticello High School.