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De Smet Puts Up Strong Showing But Can't Hold Off SLUH In Metro Catholic Track Championships

Spartans dominate sprint relays, but Jr. Billikens dominate nearly everything else to claim conference track title.

If Thursday's big annual boys track meet at had simply been the Metro Catholic Conference Relays, then the team would've won and defended its conference title easily.

The Spartans, led by senior and Oklahoma University-bound football star Durron Neal, absolutely dominated the sprint relays and set new meet records in the 4x100 and 4x200 meter relays.

But Thursday's meet wasn't only about the relay races, it was in fact the full MCC Track Championship meet, and included all 18 of the usual events.

And as well as its team performed, De Smet just couldn't stay with Saint Louis University High, which won or took second in 15 of the 18 events, to reclaim the MCC track championship after losing it to the Spartans last year.

The final official scores were SLUH 145 points, De Smet 104 points, CBC in third with 92 points, Chaminade in fourth with 20 points, and Vianney in last place with 13 points.

Early in the meet though, when many of the sprint events were held, it seemed like the day might belong to De Smet again, as the Spartans piled up a bunch of points thanks to speed merchants Neal, and fellow seniors KeVonn Mabon and C.J. Durham.

All three were part of De Smet's meet record-setting 4x100 and 4x200 meter relay teams, while Durham won the 110 meter hurdles, and Neal took second in the open 100 and 200 meter races.

Those five performances alone provided half of the Spartans' points on Thursday, and De Smet even got a surprise boost when juniors Tommy Brown won the high jump and Justin LaBelle won the triple jump.

Unfortunately though, SLUH was able to catch up and pass De Smet by winning nearly all the middle and long distance races and both the throwing events, the shotput and the discus. 

In fact, De Smet's only win in any of those events came when Austin Del Rosso won the 3,200 meter run with a season-best time of 9.54.70.

Still it wasn't enough to compete with all the first and second places turned in by the Jr. Billikens, who will now go into next week's MSHSAA Class 4 District 3 Meet at McCluer High School in Florissant, as one of the favorites.

De Smet, Chaminade, and CBC will all compete at the Class 4 District 2 Meet at Marquette High School in Chesterfield next week, with the Spartans ranking among the best teams at that 12-team showcase as well.

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