Allen Jr. High track athletes bring home state medals


Staff writer

LaMOILLE – Allen Junior High was well represented at the IESA State Track and Field Meet on May 13 at East Peoria as it had seven state qualifiers.

Out of the seven, three stood on the podium as seventh graders Gaige Spangler took second in discus, Olivia Glasper was seventh in the shot put, and Aiden Robinson (also competed in the long jump) was eighth in the 200-meter dash.

“It means a lot. We had a lot of kids come out for track this year for the first time,” said co-coach Kenny Shrimplin, who has guided the Allen track team with his wife Staci Shrimplin for the last two seasons. “They were very successful. It’s nice to see them succeed in something, especially coming from LaMoille because we’re not a big town. It’s very exciting and it’s a lot of fun to see them succeed and do good things at every single meet.

“Just to see the smiles on their faces, it capitalizes everything for us.”

The Shrimplins only coach track together as track and field is Staci’s favorite sport. She was a multiple state qualifier for Mendota and won an eighth-place medal in the 200 at the end of her senior year in 1994.

Kenny and Staci agree, Kenny is the disciplinarian while Staci teaches the proper techniques.

“It’s a lot communicating after practices and fixing everything we need to. We work very well as a team trying to figure out how to put the relay teams together and who needs to be where. It’s nice having him right next to me to get through this.”

Also representing Allen Junior High at the state meet in individual events were Jhett Cowser in the 1,600-meter run and Jenna Monroe in the long jump.

Monroe was joined by Caidence Hendricks, Alexis Flanagan, and Olivea Glasper, who was also in the shot put.

“For being our second year as coaches, we did very well with a lot of new kids to track this year,” said Staci Shrimplin. “It really surprised me on how well they listened, and they did what we asked them to do. It led to us succeeding at the end.”