CHARLESTON, Ill. -- The margin by which the Central boys track team's 4x100-meter relay group missed qualifying for the finals of the Class 1A state championships Thursday was rather miniscule.
Try less than three-tenths of a second.
"They came over and were disappointed," Central coach Brad Dixon said. "I told them that's over and done with. They had to get ready to run again."
The Panthers ran as fast as ever. The foursome of Aveory Lamanske, Levi Hecox, Brandon Rossmiller and Chayse Houston won its heat in the 4x200 relay in 1 minute, 31.14 seconds, setting a new personal best time and continuing to lower the school record.
The Panthers' had the sixth-fastest time overall at O'Brien Stadium and qualified for Saturday's finals. Spring Valley Hall posted the fastest time at 1:30.18.
"The last two years over here, we've been heading home after Thursday's events," Dixon said. "We get to stick around this time."
The race played out much like Dixon expected. Lamanske, a freshman who was part of a state championship relay team at the junior high level a year ago, ran a solid opening leg. Hecox and Rossmiller were both efficient, and Houston played the role of ultimate closer.
"No one was going to catch him on the anchor leg," Dixon said. "He wasn't going to be denied."
The 4x200 relay was the only event in which Central qualified for the finals, but the Panthers still posted impressive numbers.
Houston finished fourth in his heat in the 110 hurdles, setting a new personal best time of 15.76 but did not advance. He also matched his personal best in the triple jump with a leap of 41 feet, 6 inches.
Illini West's 4x800 team of Matt Peacock, Cole Kirkham, Matt McDowell and Eli Newton qualified for Saturday's finals after running in 8:21.17. Ty Jackson advanced in the discus with a toss of 144 feet, 10 inches.
The Chargers' 4x100 team of Michael Lord, Jake Cole, Bryce Payne and Colton Sargeant finished in 43.84 and took second place in its heat, but won't advance despite posting a faster time than St. Joseph-Ogden, which won its heat at 44.25.
Sargent finished fourth in his heat in the 100 dash in 11.07, but won't qualify despite having a faster time than Forreston's Brady Webb, who won his heat in 11.10.