EFFINGHAM — A pair of area runners started off the track season with a bang, as St. Anthony's Anna Sophia Keller and Cumberland's Tye Sutherland took home first-place medals in the opening meet of the season Saturday.
Keller was the only Bulldog at the SIU High School Invitational indoor meet Saturday, but made her mark by dominating the field in the mile run, finishing with a time of 5:04.66 to win her first-ever high school track race, downing O'Fallon's Samathana Lapp by nearly 28 seconds.
Sutherland's margin of victory in the 800-meter run wasn't as large, running a 1:59.13 to edge Carmi-White's Michael Brown and his time of 1:59.73.
Keller was one of two area runners on the girls' end to medal, as Newton's McKendra Barthelme took second in the 60-meter hurdles.
In the 60 hurdles, Bartheleme ran a 9.43, good for second behind Belleville West's Jasmine Berry. She also took fourth in the long jump with a distance of 16-01.
On the boys' side, Effingham's Kyle Niebrugge had the fourth-best high jump mark of the day, clearing six feet even. Massac County's Alex King won the event with a result of 06-10.
For the Effingham boys, Colin Hecht took home an 11th place finish in the 60 hurdles (9.28), Billy Arndt took 11th in shotput (44-02) and the 4x200 team of Niebrugge, Trevor Murphy, Zach Miller and Zach Chase took 15th in 1:43.41.
Newton's 4x800 team took ninth, led by Jake Volk, Drake Ochs, Daniel McCrillis and Joe Stone in 9:01.30. The 4x200 team of Mitch Biemeran, Austin Angel, Kaleb Wittgan and McCrillis finished 1:44.14 for 17th. Corey Workman finished 11th in the triple jump (36-02.5) and Zack Lewis took 15th in the long jump (19-01.50).
The Pirates had a strong day behind Sutherland, as Monte Wolke tied for 11th in the pole vault (11-06), and the 4x800 team took 10th with a time of 9:02.68 behind Sutherland, Ethan Kemper, Lawrence Shuey and Nathan Day.