FILE — On Senior Night for the Taylorville boys and girls track and field meet, held Wednesday Apr. 26, Coach Steve Walters unexpectedly announced his retirement from coaching track. He attended his final Track on Saturday, May 27. The veteran mentor has put in almost two decades of work on the track and will take the much deserved time and spend it with his grandson.
Lucas Domonousky / Breeze-Courier Photo
CHARLESTON — Taylorville junior Owen Morgan rounds the corner during the 1600m run. He finished the race with a total time of 4:27.07 with earned him a 13th place finish at the IHSA 2A State Track and Field meet.
Breeze-Courier Sports Editor
CHARLESTON — Six Taylorville athletes qualified for the IHSA 2A boys State Track and Field meet. Preliminaries for the event were held on Friday, May 26 at Eastern Illinois University’s O’brien Field. The Tornadoes were represented by two individuals and one relay team.
Sophomore Drake Howard attended his second consecutive IHSA State meet for the Pole Vault event. He reached a total height of 4.05m which gave him 7th place. He was accepted and moved to the finals portion of the meet.
“He did well.” Head Coach Brian Bloomquist says post-meet. “They got done pretty fast with his flight. He cleared 13.3 (feet) and all those guys who cleared 13.3 advance to tomorrow. Hopefully he can get a PR again. He’s gotten 14 feet were gonna try to get him 14.3 or 14.6.”
Taylorville’s Owen Morgan has been the team’s go-to guy when it comes to long distance for the past two seasons. He ran in the 1600m race which was the last event of the day for the Tornadoes. He finished with a time of 4:27.07 earning him 13th place. This was unfortunately not enough to push him to the finals.
“I don’t think that times going to cut it for finals.” An obviously emotional Owen Morgan said immediately following his two-mile run. “All I know is the jobs not finished. Were going to go up and down the spectrum of training. I’m never satisfied.”
His long distance Coach had very high praise for him after the event.
“Well please with his performance.” Coach Steve Walters states. “He missed out by one spot. He’s a junior and I see him on the podium next year.”
Taylorville sent their 4x800m Relay team to the State meet. The team consisted of juniors Jack Chesser, Brenton Good and Owen Morgan with senior Will Turvey leading the way. The team finished the race in 8:19.49 which was good enough for an 18th place finish. However, the finish was not enough to put them one the hump and send them to finals.
“I’m a little disappointed we didn’t quite get there.” Will Turvey said after the race. “Nobody ran our best today, me especially, I did not run my best. But I’m grateful to be here. I’ve wanted to make it here all four years I’ve been in High School. My goal was to get here and I did so I’m grateful I had the opportunity to run here. I wish we could have made it but I’m happy.”
Coach Walters weighs in on the team’s overall performance.
“I think they ran real well ending up where they did.” He states. “We had a great Sectional. Finally put everything together. We got here and the heat they were in got stacked up and slowed up which we knew was going to probably happen. Really solid season. They’ve been cutting times off and to make it to State again as a team is fantastic.”
Way back on Apr. 26 Taylorville held Senior Night for both the boys and girls teams. He unexpectedly announced his retirement. Friday and Saturday was the veteran coach’s final time coaching the Tornadoes and a cap to his 18th season being involved with track in some capacity.
“It’s been a great time.” Walters says. “Definitely going to stick around for Cross Country. I just need to spend time with the new grandchild. Track is a little different. You’re usually there until 10 o’clock at night sometimes so it’s time for me to hang that up and focus on Cross Country. We should probably have the best season I’ve ever had as a coach coming up with these guys we have right here.”
As previously mentioned Drake Howard will participate in the Pole Vault finals event which will take place on Saturday, May 27. Also running in the 3200 meter race on Saturday is junior Jesse Sloan. This is the most boys THS has ever had participate in the IHSA State meet. The long distance race and pole vault results will be posted in Tuesday’s edition of the Breeze-Courier.