Pekin's gold collection continues
School record, meet records, and gold, lots of gold.
The Pekin Panthers won the overall team championship in the Trojan Relays at Fairfield High School on Tuesday with 196 points.
Oskaloosa was runner-up with 151 points, followed by Davis County (128), Fairfield (117), Van Buren (59) and Keokuk (41).
“We planned on being strong in all the events,” said Panthers head coach Davis Eidahl. “We have a lot of good kids.”
Indeed they do. They have a lot of good kids.
It starts with senior Ryan Millikin. The only problem he has when he competes in the 1,600-meter run is loneliness. Millikin has to run all alone.
On Tuesday, Millikin took gold with a time of 4:41.65, more than 21 seconds ahead of the silver medalist and 43 seconds faster than the third-place finisher.
After the second lap around Fairfield’s track, Millikin had no company.
“I did hear breathing behind me in the first lap,” Millikin said. “And then that died down. But, each lap, every time I passed the finish line, I tried to give myself another burst to decrease my time.
“It was about running myself the best I could. I ran 10 seconds faster than I’ve done all year in the mile, so that’s good.
“But I’ve got more work to do.”
He put in plenty more work on Tuesday. Really good work, too.
Millikin served as anchor for Pekin’s 4x800 relay squad on Tuesday — and all that quartet did was break a 34-year-old school record.
Chandler Eckley led off, Sam Roth was second and Malcolm Myers third. When Millikin finished things up, Pekin’s gold-medal time, and meet-record time, was 8:08.70.
The school record, set in 1983, had been 8:12.
“Well,” said Eidahl, “those are four strong kids and it looked good from the start until the finish. They competed hard. And they’ve each learned to run hard when they’re ahead. They don’t worry about competition.”
Panther Colten Glosser obliterated his competition in the 3,200, finishing at 10:56.94, more than 21 seconds ahead of the runner-up.
And there was more, more gold. In the 4x100 and 4x200, Pekin’s Tyler Copeland, Levi Long, Chase Eckley and anchor Monico Requena took first place, setting meet records in both events.
They ran the 4x100 in 45.65 and 3x200 in 1:35:14.
“It’s good to break the meet records,” said Requena. “But we just wanted to come out here and do the best we could.
“Tyler ran great and started strong. He gave Levi great handoffs, and then he got it to Chase. We’re running great as a team — and we’re having fun.”
And the fun continued on Tuesday for Requena. He was part of Pekin’s gold-medal 800 sprint medley squad (1:41:33) with Copeland, Dayne Eckley and Cameron Millikin.
In the distance medley, Requena ran with Copeland, Roth and Chandler Eckley, and the Panthers’ gold-medal time of 3:42.73 was a new meet record.
Roth, Myers, Chandler Eckley and Zach Conger took gold in the 4x400 (3:36.30).
And this gold collection didn’t stop inside Fairfield’s stadium.
Pekin senior Trever Northup set a new meet record in the shot put with a toss of 46-04.5.
“It was important for me to throw well, to keep progressing,” Northup said.
Northup’s goal is to earn a trip to the Iowa State Meet.
“The key for me,” he said, “is finishing hard, finishing strong, trying to stay close to keep the power in my legs and behind me.
“Go fast, go hard.”