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Class 1A athletes deal with day off before finals

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(Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@saukvalley.com)
Sterling's Cornell Hartz lands during the Class 2A long jump preliminaries on Friday at O'Brien Stadium in Charleston. Hartz's best jump of 19 feet, 7 3/4 inches placed him 19th.

CHARLESTON – When the IHSA boys state track meet went from two classes to three in 2009, it created a somewhat awkward situation for Class 1A teams.

Small-school athletes compete on Thursday, then not again until Saturday. So what do they do on Friday?

Extra sleep is a popular option, as is hitting the Mattoon movie theater, which has 10 movies currently in its lineup. Polo coach Tom Welty said his athletes were planning to view Fast & Furious 6 at some point Friday.

Bureau Valley coach Nick Hartz noted about half his team also had movies in their plans, with the other half headed to the Tanger Outlet Mall in Tuscola.

Newman coach Andy Accardi is one coach with a built-in plan. For the last 20 years or so, the Comets have ventured to Effingham for a day of fun in the sun at Lake Sara.

Accardi grew up in Effingham, and his family is friends with Stan and Ally Bahrns, who have a home on Lake Sara. Each year, the Comets venture to the Bahrns' spread for a day of boating, fishing and swimming on their off-day.

"The guys absolutely love it," Accardi said, "and we don't have to worry about what they're doing all day on Friday. It's worked out great for us."

Eight is enough: Dixon's Simon Thorpe will be among the competitors in the fast heat of the Class 2A 3,200 on Saturday morning. It is the lone event for which there were no preliminaries Thursday or Friday.

Thorpe's sectional time of 9 minutes, 30.09 seconds has him seeded fourth, behind just Riley McInerney of Charleston (9:06.41), Jake Brown of Mt. Zion (9:14.79) and Chris Martin of Mascoutah (9:24.12).

Comanches gone wild: Cahokia has positioned itself for a comfortable three-peat in the race for Class 2A boys track team titles.

The Comanches have a total of 17 finalists (13 individuals, four relays), six more than its nearest competitor, Bloomington, heading into Saturday's finals.

Cahokia won the 2012 meet with 67 points and the 2011 meet with 62. The Comanches also tied for second in 2010 with 53 points, and were runner-up in 2009 with 47.

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