KEWANEE -- A pair of streaks remained intact at Monday's Lincoln Trail Conference co-ed track and field championships.
The host Annawan-Wethersfield Titans used its formidable depth to rack up 134 points and earn their seventh straight LTC girls' team title. The Mercer County Golden Eagles faced a tougher road to their third consecutive boys' crown.
It wasn't until senior sprinter Nathan Fippinger capped his triple-gold evening at Wethersfield Memorial Stadium with the 200 dash crown that the Eagles could truly feel golden. Mercer County ended with 149 points to fend off A-W (140) and third-place ROWVA (137) for the crown.
"I knew (about the tight team race) in the back of my head,'' said Fippinger, who awoke from a 20-minute nap to turn in a time of 23.2 seconds in the 200 to go with his winning run of 11.1 seconds in the 100, as well as his efforts with the Eagles' first-place 4x100 relay. "It was there. We talked about if we went 1-2 in the 200, we'd have it locked.''
Payton Holmes also made it a triple-gold night to further Mercer County's three-peat theme. He swept the 110 highs (15.2) and the 300 intermediate hurdles (41.3) and joined Fippinger on the victorious 4x100 relay. The Golden Eagles also struck gold in the 4x800 relay.
"We knew coming in that it'd be a battle between us and ROWVA, but A-W had a pretty good meet (as well),'' said Holmes. "We were looking for the three-peat, but the other schools had an advantage on us in the field events, so we knew we had to make up the points on the track.''
In the girls' competition, Annawan-Wethersfield sophomore Karissa Roman tied her own LTC record in the high jump with a winning leap of 5-7. Roman also anchored the Titans' winning 4x400 relay, with A-W's 4x800 relay also striking gold.
"I was hoping to do a bit better,'' Roman said of her high jump efforts, "but the way I think of it is that it gives me room to improve for next year, and after that, for my senior season. We've been conference champs for quite awhile, and we wanted to keep that going.''
Titan senior Sara Fisher made the most of her final time on the Wethersfield track, taking the 100 high hurdles in 16.6 seconds and joining Roman on the 4x400 relay. Roman nipped Fisher for second in the 300 low hurdles, and teammate Kayla DeMay leaped 15-2 1/4 to win the long jump.
"Karissa has done so good, it's awesome,'' said Fisher. "If we go 1-2, or 2-3, either way, that pushes me and it pushes her. Obviously, the main goal was to win after winning the last six years.''
Ridgewood's Smith wins four; A-W's Cook a three-time winner: Ridgewood's girls just missed out on a runner-up finish as Stark County (95) nipped the Spartans (93.5) for the team silver, but senior standout Molly Jo Smith enjoyed a stellar evening with wins in the 100 and 200 and the 300 low hurdles in addition to anchoring the Spartans' first-place 4x200 relay.
"I'm really happy with my open times, and our relay had a P.R. I could've done better in the hurdles, but I still got first,'' said Smith. Teammates Megan Reed and Jasmine Jefko win the triple jump and shot put, respectively.
In the boys' race, Michael Cook fueled A-W's hopes of making it a team-title hometown sweep with his wins in the 3200, 800 and 1600 to go with fellow Titans DeAngelo Washington's and Donovan Kirkhove's wins in the long jump and discus, respectively.
"We came in hoping to win,'' said Cook. "That's why I ran four events, to try and get as many points as I could.''
The fourth-place Ridgewood boys got wins from Aaron Leander (TJ) and its 4x200 and 4x400 relays, with the 4x200 quartet of Leander, Kyle Rannie, Elisha McCreary and Matt Welch setting an LTC mark of 1:33.1.