CHARLESTON – Three times three added up to six for the Erie-Prophetstown boys track and field team.
The Panthers finished third in all three of their relays to take sixth place as a team at the 1A state track & field meet that concluded Saturday at O'Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.
Erie-Prophetstown finished with 21 points, behind Aurora Christian (46.5), Eureka (42), Tuscola (37), Newman (30), and Illini West (24).
"It's a great finish to the year," said Grant Ames, a member of all three relay teams. "Third place at state in anything is good, but to do it in three relays in a row, that's pretty special."
Jack Bauer, Dvaree Thompson, Ames and Chris Bauer combined for a time of 43.56 seconds in the 400 relay. It was behind just Eureka (42.90) and Aurora Christian (42.95). Erie-Prophetstown had run a 43.26 in the preliminary round.
In the 800 relay, Ames, Kyle Pannier, Thompson and Chris Bauer teamed up to run a season-best 1:29.81, behind Eureka (1:29.56) and Aurora Christian (1:29.66).
The Panthers had run a 1:31.28 in the preliminary round.
"We all felt after the prelims, we didn't run the best we could," Chris Bauer said. "There were a couple of bad handoffs that cost us some valuable time. We were just ready for this race in the finals, and we all believed we could run a 1:29. That was our goal for the finals, and it happened."
In the meet-ending 1,600 relay, Pannier, Chris Bauer, Thompson and Ames teamed up for a time of 3:26.51, behind just Mooseheart (3:24.48) and Teutopolis (3:26.30).
"I'm really pleased," Ames said."We were going for first place, but obviously third place is good."
Ryan Mayberry was a one-man wrecking crew for Morrison. He was the Mustangs' lone state qualifier, but the one-time distance runner placed in three sprints to earn 12 team points, good for a tie for 22nd place.
Mayberry's top event was the 400, in which he posted a time of 49.89 seconds, good for fourth place. It was the first time he broke 50 seconds in the race, having run a 50.13 in the preliminaries.
"I took a little bit of a different strategy," Mayberry said. "I went out really hard the first 100, and then I focused on my stride down the backstretch. For the last 200, I just gave it all I had, and I was able to keep it together. I just really wanted that 49 in my last 400 of the year."
Mayberry opened with a time of 11.13 seconds in the 100, good for eighth place. His most surprising medal came in the 200, where he posted a time of 22.41, good for sixth place.
He squeaked into the final when one of the race favorites, Madison's Andre McGill, was disqualified in the prelims.
"I had a decent start, passed the guy ahead of me around the corner," Mayberry said of the 200, "and I was feeling good. I was surprised to be where I was at, and tried to hold it. A guy on the inside caught me at the end, but that's all right, I was just happy to get a medal."
As a junior, Fulton's Bryce Holesinger placed second in the 300 hurdles. A repeat performance seemed unlikely, as he endured what was an injury-plagued senior season.
As an injury to his right hip improved, however, so did his hurdling. He found his form just in time, and posted a school-record time of 39.69 in the preliminaries
In the finals, Holesinger went deeper than that, posting a 39.61 to take third place, behind Lewistown's Matt McCoy (39.32) and Gillespie's Drew Crook (39.4).
"Everybody was saying he got second last year, so he should get first this year," Holesinger said. "Well, I just broke my own record that I just set. I have the fastest time in Fulton High School history. I'm going to college [at Lewis University] and I just got third, and seventh in the 4x200. I'm about as happy as you can get right now."
Holesinger anchored the Steamers' 800 relay team to a seventh-place finish with a time of 1:31.43. Joining him were Rodney Gossard, Jason Osborn and Devin Kuehl.
The Steamers finished in an eight-way tie for 27th place with 10 points. Among the teams they tied with was Bureau Valley, which placed fifth in a pair of relays.
The 1,600 team of Daniel Trone, Tucker Schoff, Colton Peterson and Kane Eastwood finished with a time of 3:26.78, while the 3,200 team of Eastwood, Ryan Taylor, Peterson and Trone ran an 8:09.08. Both efforts were school records.
"Both races were tough," Trone said, "and we're happy with how we did."
Oregon senior Troy Pudlas stood eighth in the discus after a preliminary-round throw of 156-7. He held that position through the finals.
"The second throw [of prelims], I just cleared my head and didn't think about it," Pudlas said, "and it was my best one. I'm just really happy to get a medal. That was the goal."