JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Shelby got an invite to the Illinois Top Times Meet in Bloomington on Saturday and took 6th out of 52 teams, while Neoga placed 12th and Central A&M 45th.
"It was a pretty good showing," said Ram coach Kevin Kramer. "Everyone got a medal except for our freshman Marcus Skinner, but he still set a PR in the 3200 and just missed medaling by one place."
Skinner took 9th in the 2-mile, just out of the medals (10:13.7) in a close race, while senior teammate Alex Matlock placed 6th, running a 10:12.5. Only two seconds separated 5th through 9th place.
"Both of them got in good rhythm and paced themselves first half of race," Kramer said. "We still need to do a better job but I thought it was an improvement over last time they ran. Both ran seasonal best times. Marcus was a personal best and Alex was close to his best outdoor time. So very good way to start the meet."
Eli Miller was 3rd in the 60 meter dash (7.14) and 4th in the 200 (23.2).
"Eli continues to show improvement from last year," Kramer said. "Eli ran a 7.16 in the 60 meters to win his prelim and then came back with a personal best of 7.14 to take 3rd. We need to work on his starts so I think we still have room for improvement. But Eli has shown he has chance to be one of top sprinters in the state. In the 200, Eli ran a personal best indoors to finish second in his heat and 4th overall. Eli was in command coming down last the 50, but broke his form and tightened up a little. We need to work on conditioning and also learning to relax, but run fast those last few meters."
Cory Powers placed 6th in the 1600 (4:37.8).
"Cory ran a indoor best and looked good," Coach Kramer said. "Cory has been ill, so I think he could have done a little better, but he still ran good. He had a great indoor season as he was in the top 20 of 400, the 800 and the 1600 and part of the 4 x 800."
Drennian Martin was 7th in the 800 run (2:07.92).
"Drennian ran a personal best indoors, minutes after running in the 4 x 800, so I was very pleased to see him come back that stron," Coach Kramer said. "He still isn't 100% back in shape from early injury, but this shows progress."
Shelbyville also ran 5th in the 4x800. Drennian Martin ran a 2:04, Myles Foor a 2:03, Seth Applegate a 2:14 and Neil Yockey a 2:07.
"I was very encouraged by our race," Coach Kramer said. "We had some guys step up and cut some significant time off from last meet at Charleston. Our goal is to break school record and if that happens whatever place we will take."
Shelbyville still isn't up to full speed, but they are showing great promise for the season.
"We left some points at home with Darin Breeden and Luke Hatfield," Coach Kramer said. "Darin has not jumped this year in high jump, because of previous personal commitments and Luke just has not been able to get on a pole. Both would have gotten us some points so that is encouraging. We were only six points from winning the meet, so we have a shot at being pretty good at the end of the year if the kids are dedicated. All of the kids ran better than their performances coming in so it was a great success!"
Derek Williamson of Neoga, who had a good showing at the Charleston Indoor Meet, placed 3rd in the 200 dash (23.02). Teammate Corey Kersey, who shined in the jumps at Charleston Indoor, repeated at the Top Times. He won the triple jump (43-02) and earned an 8th place medal in the long jump (20-03).
Jason Pokalsey of A&M is also constantly showing his stuff in the quarter. Pokalsey took 6th in the 400 (53.5).
Top Times Meet
Team Scores: 6. Shelbyville 23, 12. Neoga 17, 45. Central A&M 3
Shelby, Neoga, A&M results: 60 dash-3. Miller (SH) 7:14; 200 dash-3. Williamson (NEO) 23.02, 4. Miller (SH) 23.24; 400-Pokalsey (CAM) 53.54; 800-7. Martin (SH) 2:07.92; 1600-6. Powers (SH) 4:37.83; 3200-6. Matlock (SH) 10:12.57, 9. Skinner (SH) 10:13.79; 4x800-5. Shelbyville 8:28.47; Long jump-8. Kersey (NEO) 20-03; Triple jump-1. Kersey (NEO) 43-02