A sound from a lane over let Russellville’s Gabrial Little know he had a chance to win a state title.
“I was listening to him the entire race,” Little said, “and I heard him clip that last hurdle and I was like, ‘This is my move. I can’t miss it.’”
Little clocked in at 16.11 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles to win the race in the Class 2 track and field state championships at Adkins Stadium May 21.
Ash Grove’s Christopher Miller, who ran alongside Little in lane 5, took third in 16.25 seconds, while O’Fallon Christian’s Austin Ball took second from lane 2 with a time of 16.17 seconds.
Miller entered the event with the top seed time of 16.16 seconds.
“I thought I was gonna get second,” Little said. “I was ranked for second and that kid’s time is pretty impressive. I was just gonna give it my best.”
His best made for a fairly clean race, hardly making contact with the hurdles.
“I nicked a couple but I had so much adrenaline pumping through I didn’t feel them,” Little said. “I couldn’t really tell you how many I got. It felt good, that’s for sure.”
Little’s time broke the school record of 16.16 seconds, which was set by Tristin Little — his brother — at the 2018 Class 2 state track and field championships.
“I’ve been chasing my brother’s record all year and I didn’t think I was gonna get it, but waited until the last minute and finally got it,” Little said. “… I get to call my brother and tell him. He won’t be too happy about that. It’s my last season, so I’m glad I went out this way.”
Little’s victory earned 10 of Russellville’s 22 team points, which earned the Indians a tie for eighth place with New Bloomfield and New Convenant Academy.
Father Tolton won the team title with 44 points, edging Highland and Fayette by two points. Lutheran North tallied 39 points to take fourth.
Campbell Nichols finished fourth for the Indians in a tight 800-meter run with a time of 2:00.81. New Covenant’s Tanner Talley won at 1:56.71 as the top eight times were separated by about five seconds.
Nichols also anchored the 4x800-meter relay team that took fifth in 8:25.30, overtaking Steelville during his leg to grab a better finishing spot.
Russellville finished about 3 seconds better than Steelville at the previous Saturday’s sectional meet to take second.
“I knew we couldn’t let them beat us,” Nichols said. “We beat them in every other race.”
The Indians led after the first 800 meters, with Bryce Mehrhoff getting ahead of the pack with a time of 2:02.08.
“Bryce had a good start,” Nichols said. “We figured he was going to be in first. I wanted him to get a really good lead.”
Simon Hartman and Arjay Wilson ran the middle two legs for the Indians.
Little, Nichols, Alex Oligschlaeger and Mehrhoff capped off the meet with a sixth-place finish in the 4x400 with a time of 3:33.21.
In the 300 hurdles, Little placed 10th in 42.59 seconds.
Russellville’s Trinity Riggs also walked away from her first state track and field championships with a medal.
The sophomore threw 111-2 to place sixth in the discus.