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Boys Track: Crete-Monee’s Elijah Douglas tops Southland’s list of athletes for 2015

(Left right) Homewood Flossmoor's Matt Anyiwo Grant's Kyle HattYork's Matt Plowman begsecond lap 800-meter run. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

(Left to right) Homewood Flossmoor's Matt Anyiwo, Grant's Kyle Hatton, and York's Matt Plowman begin the second lap of the 800-meter run. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 3, 2014 6:21AM



With Crete-Monee junior Elijah Douglas at the top of the list, the Southland has several individuals who expect to be in the finals of the 2015 state track meet.

Douglas placed third in the Class 3A long jump with a leap of 23 feet, ¼ inch, only a half-inch behind the state champion, Grant senior Jonathan Wells.

Besides the impressive long jump, Douglas nearly qualified for the finals in both hurdle races.

The top nine from the prelim heats advanced to the final and Douglas ranked 10th in the 110-meter hurdles (14.54 seconds). Douglas missed the 300 hurdles final by two spots with the 11th-fastest prelim (39.14).

“It feels better that I got to be on the podium, but I really wanted to be on the podium for the 110s and the 300s,’’ he said. “Next year.’’

The 14.54 Douglas clocked in the 110 hurdles would have been good enough for sixth in the state.

Although Douglas was a first-time qualifier, the state meet experience at Eastern Illinois didn’t make him nervous.

“It wasn’t nerves. I just have to get better,’’ he said. “Next year I want to make it to finals in everything I’m in.’’

Early in Saturday’s finals, an announcement was made at O’Brien Field for “the Providence pole vaulter to report for the final.”

Andy Jatis certainly answered the call. The Providence junior took third (14-9) behind two-time state champ Luke Winder of Plainfield Central (17-3, meet record) and Bloomington’s Steven Bradford (15-3), both seniors.

In Class 2A, Marian Catholic junior Matthew Martinson achieved third in the high jump (6-7).

“I feel like I accomplished something. It was a big jump from last year, placing 22nd,’’ he said. “More lifting, different approach to it all and a whole different mind-set, just tried to keep positive.

“I used to get down if I’d get any misses. It would ruin my whole day. Now I just keep positive and say ‘I can get it.’ And work for it.’’

It didn’t take long for Rich Central sophomore Franklin Hunt, a first-time qualifier, to feel comfortable at the state meet.

“I was kind of nervous for my first 100 race,’’ he said. “After I got into it, the jitterbugs were gone. Now it’s just a regular race, like a normal meet.’’

Hunt finished sixth in the 2A 100 (11.04) and 200 meters (22.34) and ran on the Olympians’ fourth-place 800 relay (1:29.08) of all non-seniors: Hunt, Kiandre Henderson, Gamar Hayles and Cantrell Davis.

“At first we were running a 1:31 this year. Now we actually pr’d (personal record),’’ Hunt said. “Kudos to us.’’

Another individual to watch next year is Hillcrest sophomore Luther Newburn, who took fourth in the 2A triple jump (44-11¼).



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