By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
They came in as the X-factor in a field of unknowns. They left as champions of the Ozark ‘7’ Conference.
McAuley Catholic, with the help of some of its baseball players, won its first boys conference track title since 2006 Tuesday at Thomas Jefferson.
“Things went well,” said McAuley head coach Patrick Bromley. “There were events where we left points on the table, but we made up for it in other events.”
McAuley’s conference titles in golf and boys track this spring are the school’s first conference championships since the Warriors won the title in boys track in 2006.
McAuley scored 208 points in the Ozark 7 Conference meet. Wheaton was second with 110 and Southwest was third. Southwest won the girls’ title with 174 points, followed by Purdy, McAuley and Thomas Jefferson.
Any celebration will be short-lived. McAuley’s boys have three days to prepare for the Class 1 District 3 meet Saturday at Midway High School in Cleveland.
“I don’t think we’re ready for a district championship,” Bromley said, “but I think we’ll take more people to state than we have in a long time. It’s good for these guys to have success and they’ve worked really hard for this.”
Purdy’s baseball team defeated McAuley 4-3 last month and went on to win the Ozark 7 title.
Cole Lowry, who won four events, said the meet was his second of the spring and the first since he ran at the Galena Bulldog Relays on March 28.
He won the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 7.5 inches.
“I could have gone farther, but my steps were all messed up,” said Lowry, whose primary spring sport is baseball. “On the weekends, we spend a couple of hours on the track getting things where they need to be.”
Lowry won the 100 meters in 12.1 seconds and won the 200 and 400.
Another converted baseball player was Greg Carney, who also had not competed since the meet at Galena. He won the 110 and 300 hurdles and won the pole vault with a jump of 9 feet.
“We have some events we’re good at and really work on,” Carney said. “We feel we can go to district and maybe move on.”
McAuley won the 4x800 relay and used its depth to place in the top five in every event.
Chris Saladin of Thomas Jefferson won the 800, 1600 and 3200 meters.
Wheaton’s Darrell Burns won the high jump, and Wheaton won the 4x200 and 4x400 relays. Verona won the 4x100 relay.
Kordell McNabb of Southwest won the shot put and discus. Lucas White of Purdy won the triple jump.
In the girls’ division, Southwest won 10 events, led by Nicole Ikes, who won the 100, 300 hurdles and long jump. Victoria Foley of McAuley won the discus and shot put.
Thomas Jefferson’s Hannah Cromer won the 200, and the team of Cromer, Marieke John, Sarah Wilson and Tearra Mims won the 4x100 relay.
Thomas Jefferson scored 74 points, placed second in three events and was third in three events.
“I’m really pleased with their performance,” said Thomas Jefferson head coach Clayton Carnahan. “The 4x100 was a PR (personal record). I think that shows the work they’ve put into it.
“Our senior runners really care about what they do,” he said, “and that has encouraged the younger athletes to run harder and try harder.”