Four Clippers extend season to state track meet

EDGINGTON – Four members of the Amboy-LaMoille boys’ track team extended their season by another week after they competed in the Rockridge Class 1A Boys’ Sectional Track Meet on May 19 at Edgington. Lena-Winslow won the sectional team title with 75 points, while the Clippers were 13th with 15.75 points.

The Clippers will send their 4x400-meter relay squad to the state meet after it ran under the state qualifying time in the sectional. The foursome of Joel Billhorn, Zane Murphy, Caleb Yanos and Kyler McNinch finished in sixth place, but their time of 3:32.73 was below the state qualifying mark of 3:35.17.

“We were able to get one state advancement with one of our relays,” said Clipper coach Jeramey Wittenauer. “We had some individuals that were close that just weren’t able to pull it off. In my opinion, we were at the toughest sectional in the state for Class 1A. 

“We started the relay with Joel Billhorn, who used to live in LaMoille but moved to Amboy this year, Zane Murphy, third leg is Caleb Yanos, and Kyler McNinch is our anchor. We started with the same four early on in relay teams, but not necessarily in this order. Periodically, we put this order for certain meets and thought we may have some potential. Some nights that we had this order together, we had inclement weather and times were just not going to be good.

“We didn’t really get a gauge on whether we had something with this order until the Northwest Upstate Illini Conference Meet,” added Wittenauer. “We had a great night of weather, we put this order together, and we felt that this would be a possibility for us. Their time at the conference meet was about 3 ½ seconds from the state qualifying time so we knew we had something going here.”

McNinch and Murphy are seniors and Billhorn and Yanos are juniors. This will be the first trip to the state meet in their high school careers.

“Kyler has had a great career as a distance runner for Amboy. He just missed state in cross country this year. The weather conditions (Friday) were not horrible, but they were windy and did affect his time for the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. He just missed out.

“It was really nice for him to help this relay advance and for him to finally have a chance to get to Charleston and have a state series experience.”

McNinch actually had the highest finish on the day for the Clippers as he took third place in the 3200-meter run with a time of 10:19.12. Unless they run under the state qualifying standard, only the top two in each event earn a trip to state.

The Clipper relay team will compete in the IHSA State Track Meet to be held May 25-27 in the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

May 19 – Rockridge Sectional

Lena-Winslow 75, Rockridge 74, Riverdale 66, Forreston 57, Milledgeville 50, Erie 41, Bureau Valley 36.75, Morrison 29, Rock Island Alleman 26, Newman 23.75, Stockton 22, Sherrard 20, Amboy-LaMoille 15.75, Fulton 11, Orion 10.75, West Carroll 6

A-L 3rd place: Kyler McNinch, 3200m run, 10:19.12

A-L 4th place: Ed Fry, high jump, 5-6; Joel Billhorn, long jump, 19-3

A-L 6th place: Billhorn, 400m dash, 52.97; 4x400m relay (Billhorn, Zane Murphy, Caleb Yanos, McNinch), 3:32.73; Ian Sundberg, shot put, 43-4.5; Sundberg, discus, 120-2