Boys track and field: Payne Miller, Cade Odell go 3-4 in shot put; Weston Averkamp 6th in 300 hurdles at state

Seneca pole vaulters place 6th, 7th in Charleston

Princeton’s Payne Miller finished his last throw to earn him 3rd place in the Class 2A Shot Put State Championship on Saturday, May 25, 2024 in Charleston.

CHARLESTON – Princeton senior Payne Miller knew he had thrown well while taking third place in the Class 2A shot put, but the competitor in him still wanted more.

Miller’s 17.28-meter effort (56 feet, 8½ inches) was the second best of his career at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet on Saturday at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium and moved him up two spots from last year.

“When you come down to a meet like this, having done this three years now, I wanted to win,” Miller said. “But I was against very good competition and competed very well in the prelims.

“Fifty-six isn’t a slouch throw. I’m proud to have gotten third, but No. 1 was where I wanted to be.”

Miller was unable to improve on his best throw from Friday’s preliminaries.

“I didn’t put things together correctly in the finals like I should have,” said Miller, who will play defensive line at Western Illinois University this fall. “I kept the shot low instead of exploding up and giving the shot more time to travel. Overall, I can’t be too disappointed, third’s not terrible. I had some pretty good competition.”

Miller’s Tigers teammate Cade Odell was fourth in the shot put with a 16.40 (53-9 3/4) throw. Odell jumped up to fourth on his final throw, a personal-best effort.

“It was a great experience down at state this year,” Odell said. “Last year, I made the final flight, but wasn’t able to medal. This year it was my goal to medal, but it wasn’t looking like I would until my final throw.

“To push my way to fourth right behind Payne was an amazing performance for the Princeton throwers. It was an honor to compete with and be a teammate with him for the last three years.”

In Class 3A, Ottawa’s Weston Averkamp took sixth in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 39.11, earning all-state honors. A junior running in his first finals race, the Pirates’ lone state qualifier learned a valuable lesson he can apply to next year’s state meet.

“I could have gone out harder,” he said. “On the curve I like to take it easy, and against these guys you can’t really do that. I should have adapted better, but I didn’t. I’m not too fond about that.

“Next year I’ll train for that and I’ll be ready.”

In Class 1A, Seneca pole vaulters Sam Churchill and Sean Sigler were sixth and seventh, respectively, in the pole vault, both at 4.10 (13-9 1/4), and Bureau Valley’s Landon Hulsing was seventh in the discus with a 45.32 (148-8) effort.

Churchill and Sigler made school history by both vaulting in the finals and medaling. Churchill, a senior, made the finals last year and did not medal.

“I was pretty confident coming in today,” he said. “On my last bar (at 4.20), I started with a smaller stick. I definitely could have gone up to my next stick like on my next attempt.

“At the end of the day I’m happy with where I placed after not placing at all last year. It’s an improvement. I’m glad I could be here with Sean.”

Sigler, a sophomore, enjoyed competing with his teammate in the finals.

“It was a pretty fun experience,” Sigler said. “I tried my hardest coming out. I had a really good day, so that helps a lot. I PR’d twice today.”

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