MANLIUS – If the Three Rivers Meet was merely a track event, the Newman Comets would have cruised to the title.
But that's where the field portion of the proceedings came into play Friday night at Bureau Valley High School. And that's where the Erie-Prophetstown Panthers made their mark.
E-P won five of the six field events – actually, the Panthers went either 1-2, 1-3 or 1-2-3 in five field events – and used that cushion to run away with its third conference championship in 4 years, beating the runner-up Comets 186-148.
"Track-wise, we struggled tonight, me especially," E-P senior Devin Johnson said. "But we're very fortunate to have such a strong, deep pool of talent in the field events, and that carried us through tonight.
"It's just so cool to win both the indoor and outdoor conference titles back-to-back in 3 out of my 4 years. We wanted to make it a clean sweep, but I'm really happy and proud of the way we bounced back after losing both conferences and the sectional meet all by one point last year. It was nerve-racking for a while, but it makes it that much sweeter when you pull it off."
Johnson won his third straight long jump title, leaping 21 feet, 7 inches; teammate Darius Owens was second at 20 feet, 1 1/4 inch. Ethan Oleson (51-5) and Ryan Blasdell (45-1) went 1-2 in the shot put, and Oleson was third in the discus (124-0), which was won by John Butts (135-10). Sophomore Grant Ames won his second straight high jump title (5-11), with Cody Wiemer taking third (5-10).
"I really wanted the high jump, just because I've won both indoor titles and now both outdoor titles," Ames said. "I also know how important it was for us to get points in the field events if we wanted to win the team title, and I'm really happy I could do my part. I know the other guys are, too."