by Phil Knapper
That hard work and progression paid off as the Southern Illinois Coaches Association All-South Girls Track Team was announced on Thursday.
Benton had four individuals and three relays named to the team, putting the finishing touches on an outstanding year.
“Any time you can be named as one of the best in southern Illinois it’s a good thing,” Benton coach Andy Sloan said.
Ashley Webb, Madaline Parrish, Sydney Potts and Kaitlyn Schutt were named as individuals, with Benton’s 4×100 and 4×400 relays also getting the All-South nod.
Webb, who has accepted a throwing scholarship with Eastern Illinois University, took seventh in the shot put and sixth in the discus at the state meet this season and is considered one of the top throwers in the state.
Parrish and Potts were the top hurdles team in the south, with the two best times in the 300 lows and two of the best times in the 100 lows. Potts had the best time in southern Illinois in the event, at 15.3, Parrish running a 16.6.
Schutt was an all-around performer as a freshman for the Rangerettes. She qualified for state in the 800-, 400-, and 200-meters, as well as the 4×100 relay. She had the top time in the south in the open 400-meters, taking ninth in the event at state and anchoring an eighth place finish for the 4×100 relay in Charleston as well.
Macy Shurtz, Parrish and Potts were the first three legs of the 4×100 relay that led the south with a 50.5.
The mile relay team of Valarie Repp, Parrish, Cassidy Neal, and Potts had the third best time in the south at 4:16.3.
Other locals on the All-South include Sesser’s do-everything freshman Chelsea Miller, who took sixth in the 100-meters, seventh in the 200-meters and fifth in the long jump at the Class A state track meet, and Christopher/Zeigler-Royalton senior Lily Furlow, who had the second-best high jump in the south at 5 feet, 2 inches and qualified for state in the event.
“There are about 25 athletes on the list that really represent the south well,” Sloan said. “The kids that made the list work hard and deserve (being named). It’s a real feather in their caps.
“For the kids from my team that made it, this says a lot about those kids,” he continued. “It’s a great ending to a great season.”