SPRINGFIELD — The Effingham County track and field team will send six athletes to the Class AAAAAA state meet this weekend.
Pole vaulters Matthew Burnham, Liam McDonald and Abby McDonald, along with Candace Kieffer (3200), Catherine Hall (3200) and Olivia Brown (110), will represent the Rebels in Carrollton at Grisham Stadium.
In last weekend’s sectional, Burnham cleared 14-6 and McDonald cleared 13-6.
McDonald continues to nurse an ankle injury and his head coach, Greg Manior, has recognized his toughness and grit to compete through pain. He believes both his vaulters have a shot to bring home a first-place finish.
“It feels great,” Manior said. “Those guys worked hard for four years. It’s culminating now in their senior year and they both have a legitimate shot of bringing home a state title. With Liam, we had the trainers tape him up again and he ran as fast as he could to get up to speed. Hopefully, (this) week he’ll be close to 100 percent.”
Kieffer finished one spot short of clinching her state birth in the 1600 but secured a spot in the final for the 3200, an event she has found great success in all season. Kieffer finished in the middle of the pack with a time of 12:54.
“It really hurt her feelings when she didn’t make it in the mile and that was early in the morning,” Manior said. “I think that motivated her. She’s already a star and I see her doing great things.”
And Brown was the star of the day, too, owning the field with a first-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.22. McDonald cleared eight feet to book her ticket to state and Hall finished with a time of 13:01 in the 3200 and will join fellow teammate Kieffer in the event.