CHARLESTON – Princeton’s Teegan Davis took part in three events in the finals of Saturday’s IHSA Boys Track and Field Meet and, based on the results, it’s pretty easy to guess which one of the three is his favorite.
The athletic and versatile Davis capped a beautiful sunny day at Eastern Illinois University’s O’Brien Stadium by clearing a height of 1.99 meters on his second try to captured the Class 2A state championship in that event.
But Davis was not alone in having a shining moment on the big stage that day. St. Bede’s Tyreke Fortney claimed second place in the 1A 100- and 200-meter dashes, while his Tigers teammate Drew Harp took home the seventh place medal in the 2A shot put and Keegan Fogarty fought through injury to finish ninth in the 100 and 200 sprints. Their efforts combined to put PHS in a tie with Burlington Central for 14th place as a team with 18 points.
Also, Fieldcrest’s Mason Stoeger earned the seventh-place medal in the 1A 1,600 and Amboy co-op’s Brock Loftus 10th in the 1A 3,200.
It was a busy day for Davis, who admitted that having already participated in the long jump, where he placed seventh with a leap of 6.54 meters, and having to go back and forth between his attempts in both the high jump and triple jump was “taxing on the legs.”
It may have showed in the triple, as he ended up 11th with a distance of 12.84 meters, but not in the high.
With the field whittled down to just three — along with Cahokia’s Nicholas Deloach and Prairie Centrals Dylan Bazzell — the Tigers star cleared the heights of 1.93 and 1.96 meters on his very first attempt. Deloach went out at the latter and when Davis soared over the bar at 1.99, Bazzell was unable to match it and finished second.
The state title was the first earned by a PHS boys track athlete since Greg Groat won both the shot put and discus in 1991.
“I like high jump the best. I’ve always done it because I guess I just like to jump high,” Davis laughed, stating the obvious. “Last year, I was down here and I didn’t compete as well as I would have liked, so I know I had a shot to come back and maybe be a state champion and it happened … I won the indoor too, so it’s cool to have both. It’s a big accomplishment for me and I feel pretty good about it.
“We’ve got football after this, so now it’s time to move on to that. First, I’m going to celebrate with a good dinner. I don’t know what I’ll have, but I’m gonna eat a lot of it.”
Fortney’s performances alone gave St. Bede 16 points, putting them in a tie with Pana for 13th place in the team standings. Not bad for a young man in just his second year in the sport.
In the 100, the Bruins ace was the No. 2 seed thanks to his time of 10.8 seconds in Thursday’s prelim and looked it in the final, shaving a little off that effort to post a 10.75. That was not enough to catch Kankakee McNamara’s Tony Phillips, who cut .02 off his prelim to take the championship at 10.7.
The 200 looked like it would be Fortney’s as he held a slight lead on Phillips with about 40 meters to go, but the Irish speedster found a little extra down the stretch to finish in 22.05 seconds to Fortney’s 22.15.
“The 200 is not my race at all. I don’t have the stamina for it,” Fortney said. “So to be in front with 50 left, I was shocked. I didn’t know I had it in me to keep it going that far. My asthma has been a factor and that cost me in the 100 and (in the 200). I just couldn’t keep it going. But (Phillips) said he was exhausted because he had to chase me.
“I know my passion is football and that’s the goal I’m going to chase … but this was a great experience for me.”
Harp, who was his team’s third-best thrower entering the sectional and came into state ranked 16th in the field, began the finals seeded fifth in the shot put based on his personal-best prelim toss of 15.64 meters. Though he was not able to better that mark in the finals, it carried through and only two others passed him to bump his down to seventh.
“I wasn’t even supposed to throw at sectional and then I moved from 16th to seventh, so I’ll take it,” Harp said. “I didn’t throw as well as I did (Friday), but I know why. I ran the 4x100 right before I threw and I was all loose and psyched up. I didn’t have that today, but I still threw well. Just not as far as I would have liked.
“It’s an honor to be here and I feel I proved I belong here. I had the opportunity and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste.”
It was a day of disappointment for Fogarty, who entered the day as the No. 1 seed in the 100 coming off a personal best of 10.83 seconds in Friday’s preliminaries, while also claiming the No. 7 seed in the 200 with a PR of 22.06. In that former prelim, he tweaked a muscle in his hip and on Saturday, he was clearly not his normally speedy self.
Fogarty started well in the 100, but the injury had flared up to the point that he had to gut out a ninth-place effort with a time of 11.49 seconds. Later, he was visibly limping in the 200 and finished last among the nine competitors in that race with a time of 26.82, nearly four full seconds slower than the eighth place finisher.
“(Friday) after the 100, I did something to my leg. I’m not sure quite what, but there’s shooting pain when I step,” Fogarty said. “I knew it was going to be tough today. It still feels good to still come away with medals, but it just hurts to have my worst times all season down here.”
Stoeger began the 1,600 running third behind Pinckneyville’s Isaac Teel and Harvest Christian’s Daniel Winkleman through each of the first two laps, but then dropped back to seventh on the third and couldn’t find the energy to catch up to the lead pack of a fast field.
He ended up with a 4:28.29, fractions better than his prelim of 4:28.32 and just .62 behind the sixth-place 4:26.67 turned in by Chicago Latin’s Ryan Hardiman, the prelim leader with a 4:18.96.
“I was hoping for the 4:23 range because I know I have that in me,” Stoeger said. “But I just ran out of gas pretty early and I didn’t have the kick that I normally have. I should have been able to respond stronger. It’s kind of been going like that all year. I’ve hard a hard time coming back from races and had a hard time doubling (1,600 and 3,200) at meets.
“Just to make the finals, I’m happy. I didn’t do better than I did last year (sixth in 4:27.35), which is kind of upsetting, but the future is bright, considering I’ve had considerably lower mileage this season … This is a good ending to my career and I’m glad I finished my high school career on the same track I’ll be running on when I start my college career (at Eastern Illinois University) , but I just wish it had been better.”
Amboy’s Brock Loftus took part in the 3200, posting a time of 10:00.34 for second place in the slower of two sections in that race. When the two flights were combined, it showed his clocking was good for 10th place overall.
“I came in looking for 10 flat to give myself a chance at medaling, but oh well,” Loftus said. “Every time I’ve been here – as a freshman and a junior – I just wanted to run a decent race and have fun. Every time you’re here it’s really fun and I wanted to soak this in and have fun.”