PREP TRACK: Salt Fork sweep Vermilion County track titles

Apr. 9—CATLIN — Success in the Vermilion County track meet is nothing new for the Salt Fork Storm.

In the past five County meets, Salt Fork has either won the boys or girls title and in 2021, they won them both.

But, there is something different about the 2024 season.

Salt Fork doesn't have Garrett Taylor in the shot put or discus events as he's moved onto to college track and field, the same is true for guys like Ben Jessup, Ethan McLain and Nathan Kirby. The girls team no longer has athletes like Shleby McGee, Brynlee Keeran or Olivia Birge.

Yet, this past Friday night at Salt Fork High School in Catlin, the Storm claimed both the boys and girls team titles.

"I don't think we are surprised," said Salt Fork girls coach Steve Trompter. "But since we are so young, I don't think a lot of people realized what we had. We had a lot of freshman, some first year sophomores really step up tonight."

Those freshmen and sophomore accounted for 116 of the Storm's 160 points. Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin finished second with 146 points.

On the boys side, Salt Fork graduated more than 60 percent of its points from the 2023 County championship team and the IHSA Class 1A state championship team.

And with seven events to go on Friday, Salt Fork, Oakwood, Westville and Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin were all within about 5 points of each other but seniors Ty Smoot and Brysen Vasquez won four of the final seven events, giving the Storm their fifth title in the past six County track meets.

"We had a lot of new faces," said Salt Fork coach Phillip Surprenant. "We had a lot of spots to fill. As we saw through out the meet, we had some learning curves and some spots that we needed to improve on, but the seniors led the way and everyone else followed through and picked each other up as we went through the night."

But with so many talented athletes now at the collegiate level, didn't it surprise him a little that Salt Fork was able to win the title by 38 points over second-place Oakwood (136-98).

"We talked enough over the years, that's the goal here is to make it a program and not a one season or two season thing," he said. "We want it to be an every year thing. Not to say that certain people we've had in the past seasons are easily replaceable, but we always want to have new people to step up and be the next guy in their event."

Smoot and Vasquez, both key members of last year's team, showed their younger teammates what it means to be a County champion.

"I know there was a lot of talk around the county that anyone could win this meet," Smoot said. "We had a chip on our shoulder, because it seemed like people were counting us out since we lost a lot of scoring.

"A lot of our younger guys had seen our success, they got to witness it and I think it motivated them to step up. As a senior, I just made sure they knew what it took to win this and they got the job done."

For Smoot, it was a night about scoring points and that meant conserving energy where necessary.

Winning the 800 meters in a time of 2 minutes, 4.97 seconds was a good time for early April, but then he turned around and found a way to win the 1,600 in a time of 5:02.79. Surprenant said that Smoot didn't run a 2:04 in the 800 until May of last season.

"I was really nervous for the 800 and 1,600 races," Smoot said. "I'm wasn't sure why, but that was a nice win in the 800.

"After the 1,600, I was exhausted, but I was glad to get my team the 10 points."

In addition to Smoot and Vasquez, the Storm also got a pair of individual titles from Maddax Stine in the shot put and discus events.

The individual in the boys meet on Friday night was Westville senior Tyler Miller, who won the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and anchored the Tigers winning 400 relay team. It was Westville's first win the 400 relay since 2010.

"I really came in here tonight wanting to win those three events," said Miller, who was also on the Tigers second-place 1,600-meter relay team. "I knew I had the No. 1 seed time in both hurdle races, so I saw this as my first step in the outdoor season as I look to be prepared for the end of the year.

"Getting that 4-by-1 title is really big for our school. I think we can continue to grow for this and be a pretty tough team at the end of the year.

While three event victories for Tyler Miller was the best on the boys side, Salt Fork senior Macie Russell and Westville junior Ella Miller each went 4-for-4 on Friday night.

Russell, who has already signed with Eastern Illinois, won the 400 and 800 races while also anchoring the Salt Fork's first-place 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.

"This whole day our coaches talked about that we had to be smart and know that we had more that just one race to conserve our energy for," Russell said.

That was evident in her very first victory.

Russell immediately took the lead in the 3,200 relay, but then cruised in the final 600 to win by 5 seconds over the Westville Tigers team. She repeated that performance in the 800 and that extra energy paid off with a victory in the 400 as Russell came from the slower first heat to beat Oakwood's Nikita Taylor by 0.4 seconds.

"I didn't have a time this season, so I had to run in the first heat," Russell said. "It was all about my training and trusting my coaches. Everything was about placement, more so than time, but that 400 was all about time since all of the top girls were in the second heat.

"We are a very young team and everyone really stepped up tonight, especially Callie Richardson, who won both the (1,600) and (3,200) races."

Salt Fork also got a win in the discus event from Brylee Filicsky.

Two of Ella Miller's four wins came in the 300 hurdles and the triple jump, events that were part of her routine last year. The other two came in the 100 hurdles and the 800 relay.

"I've always done the 300 hurdles and I decided to add the 100 after practicing with our other hurdlers. I came up with a pretty big PR (personal record)," she said. "But my favorite race is the 4-by-2 relay because I get to run with my younger sister (Carlee Miller) and two of my best friends (Maddy Doggett and Maddison Appl).

"I think it's very impressive to win four events, but winning in a relay event is extra special because you have three other girls with you. I'm so excited that both me and my sister get a Vermilion County match for the same event."

PREP BOYS TRACK At Catlin Vermilion County Meet

Team scores — 1. Salt Fork 136, 2. Oakwood 98, 3. Westville 97, 4. Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 94, 5. Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman 46, 6. Armstrong-Potomac 29, 7. Hoopeston Area 23.

Individual results

100 meters — 1. Connor Smith (Oak) 11.28, 2. Vasquez (SF) 11.39, 3. McMasters (West) 11.48.

200 — 1. Brysen Vasquez (SF) 22.95, 2. Ingram (BHRA) 23.53, 3. Hatcher (West) 24.16.

400 — 1. Brysen Vasquez (SF) 52.17, 2. Smith (Oak) 52.51, 3. Ingram (BHRA) 52.75.

800 — 1. Ty Smoot (SF) 2:04.97, 2. Wallace (BHRA) 2:11.76, 3. Rupp (Oak) 2:13.33.

1,600 — 1. Ty Smoot (SF) 5:02.79, 2. Wells (Oak) 5:05.41, 3. Henthorn (SF) 5:09.58.

3,200 — 1. Thomas Wells (Oak) 11:04.00, 2. Ellis (GRF/C) 11:16.00, 3. Morgan (GRF/C) 11:17.00.

110 hurdles — 1. Tyler Miller (West) 15.81, 2. Cody (GRF/C) 16.49, 3. Kennel 17.25.

300 hurdles — 1. Tyler Miller (West) 42.09, 2. Church (SF) 43.65, 3. Cody (GRF/C) 44.42.

400 relay — 1. Westville (Trent McMasters, Ja'Den Whorral, Garrett Hatcher, Tyler Miller) 44.99, 2. Oakwood 45.05, 3. Bis-Henn/Ross-Al 46.82.

800 relay — 1. Westville (Trent McMasters, Lincoln Cravens, Easton Bolin, Garrett Hatcher) 1:36.02, 2. Bis-Henn/Ross-Al 1:38.99, 3. Hoopeston Area 1:39.11.

1,600 relay — 1. Oakwood (Jakob Rupp, Saul Carillo, Macen Phillips, Connor Smith) 3:41.72, 2. Westville 3:43.33, 3. Salt Fork 3:43.73.

3,200 relay — 1. Oakwood (Lucas Tyas, Ben Darling, Jakob Rupp, Macen Phillips) 9:05.79, 2. Westville 9:10.45, 3. Salt Fork 9:10.75.

Shot put — 1. Maddax Stine (SF) 13.63 meters, 2. Wendell (BHRA) 12.86, 3. Hayden Chew (SF) 12.11.

Discus — 1. Maddax Stine (SF) 45.03 meters, 2. Powell (BHRA) 37.33, 3. Trimmell (SF) 36.96.

High jump — 1. Ayden Ingram (BHRA) 1.87 meters, 2. Kennell 1.77 meters, 3. Root (HA) 1.67.

Long jump — 1. Easton Bolin (West) 6.09 meters, 2. High (BHRA) 5.95, 3. McDaniel (Oak) 5.92.

Triple jump — 1. Kamdyn Keller (SF) 11.98, 2. Harrison (Oak) 11.61, 3. Curry (West) 11.56.

PREP GIRLS TRACK At Catlin Vermilion County Meet

Team scores — 1. Salt Fork 160, 2. Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin 146, 3. Westville 85, 4. Hoopeston Area 41, 5. Armstrong-Potomac 40, 6. Oakwood 30, 7. Georgetown-Ridge Farm/Chrisman 16.

Individual results

100 meters — 1. Amber-Christine Reed (BHRA) 13.14, 2. Hird (SF) 13.56, 3. Scott (BHRA) 13.69.

200 — 1. Amber-Christine Reed (BHRA) 28.28, 2. Hird (SF) 29.27, 3. Smith (SF) 29.55.

400 — 1. Macie Russell (SF) 1:05.73, 2. Taylor (Oak) 1:06.15, 3. Bailey 1:06.59.

800 — 1. Macie Russell (SF) 2:42.34, 2. Potter (BHRA) 2:49.10, 3. Bennett (West) 2:50.13.

1,600 — 1. Callie Richardson (SF) 6:07.42, 2. Phipps (GRF/C) 6:12.36, 3. Potter (BHRA) 6:19.63.

3,200 — 1. Callie Richarson (SF) 12:51.93, 2. Potter (BHRA) 12:56.13, 3. Haggan (Hoopeston) 13:16.67.

100 hurdles — 1. Ella Miller (West) 16.92, 2. Peters (BHRA) 18.22, 3. Downing (SF) 18.31.

300 hurdles — 1. Ella Miller (West) 52.01, 2. Downing (SF) 53.39, 3. Peters (BHRA) 54.63.

400 relay — 1. Bis-Henn/Ross-Al (Aubrey Peters, Emily Dice, Nevaeh Scott, Natalie Thomason) 53.50, 2. Salt Fork, 3. Geo-RF/Chrisman 56.04.

800 relay — 1. Westville (Ella Miller, Maddy Doggett, Carlee Miller, Maddison Appl) 1:56.54, 2. Salt Fork 1:57.06, 3. Bis-Henn/Ross-Al 1:57.68.

1,600 relay — 1. Salt Fork (Ella Cary, Zoe Moudy, Callaway Cox, Macie Russell) 4:36.36, 2. Bis-Henn/Ross-Al 4:39.21, 3. Westville 4:47.86.

3,200 relay — 1. Salt Fork (Zoe Moudy, Jordyn Colby, Hailey Walraven, Macie Russell) 11:27.67, 2. Westville 11:32.25, 3. Armstrong-Potomac 11:54.64.

Shot put — 1. Reis McFarland (BHRA) 9.34 meters, 2. Wichtowski (West) 9.31, 3. Filicsky (SF) 9.24.

Discus — 1. Brylee Filicsky (SF) 28.62 meters, 2. Wichtowski (Westville) 24.64, 3. Pearman (Salt Fork) 23.56.

High jump — 1. Natalie Thomason (BHRA) 1.60 meters, 2.E.McFarland (BHRA) 1.57, 3. Walsh (Hoopeston) 1.47.

Long jump — 1. Amber-Christine Reed (BHRA) 4.85 meters, 2. Taylor (Oak) 4.64, 3. Bailey 4.41.

Triple jump — 1. Ella Miller (West) 10.31 meters, 2. Dixon (Hoopeston) 9.97, 3. E.McFarland (BHRA) 9.63.

NOTE — The complete Vermilion County results can be found online at