- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

CHARLESTON (AP) - Cahokia High School continued its dominance in boys’ track and field competition by capturing a record sixth consecutive Class 2A state championship on Saturday, and they accomplished that feat without one of their best athletes.

Ja’Mari Ward, who injured his knee a couple weeks before the sectional meet, was not available for the state meet, but it didn’t matter all that much, as the Comanches emerged victorious, scoring 61 points to edge Geneseo by 6 points.

“With Ja’Mari, we probably would have been a lock to win, but we didn’t have him, so we really had to work for this title,” Comanches’ runner Tyran Lyons said following Cahokia’s 4 x 800 meter relay team that finished first, and started their march toward the title. Chicago (Morgan Park) finished third in Class 2A with 44 points, edging out Tolono Unity, which moved up a class for the first time.

In Class 1A, the New Berlin Pretzels won their first ever state team title, as they scored 46 points, well ahead of their second place competition, Peru St. Bede, which finished with 32 points. Rock Island Alleman finished a close third with 31 points. Highlighting Class 1A was the distance running of Oakwood’s Jon Davis, who defended his state title in both the 1600 and 3200 meter events.

Battling the flu for the past few days, Davis wasn’t at his best on Saturday, but managed to finish strong and take the triple crown (state titles in the 1600, 3200 and Cross Country) for the second consecutive year.

“Due to the rolling start of the event, I wasn’t able to get into my running cleats, so I had to wear my warm-up flats, and since I managed to win the event anyway, I feel pretty good about my overall performance,” a satisfied Davis said after his second win of the day in the 3200 meters.

In Class 3A, East St. Louis Senior High School won their final event of the day, the 4 x 400 meter relay to dethrone Edwardsville as the 2016 team state champion. The Flyers, who were running neck and neck with Geneseo heading into the final event of the day, were able to win going away and secure the championship. East St. Louis also won the 4 x 100 relay earlier in the day.

Edwardsville, the defending champions, finished second with 42 points, and won events in the discus and the 110 high hurdles.

The Orland Park (Sandburg) Eagles, who finished third overall with 40 points, set a 2016 national best in the 4 x 800 meter relay, blistering the field with a time of 7:37.36.

“It is really a good feeling to know that you have the twins (Sean and Chris Torpy) as anchors, and it makes my job a whole lot easier, and since this was my last race ever, it’s nice to go out on top,” Sandburg senior Tom Brennan said following the record-setting performance.

A.J. Espensa of Edwardsville won the discus competition with a heave of 205 feet, 11 inches, making him only the third person in IHSA history to eclipse the 200 foot mark.

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