PREP BOYS TRACK: Vikings jump to new hights

May 16—DANVILLE — Amazing things can happen through competition.

Danville's PerSirus Menifield and Victor Jones are a perfect example.

All season, Jones, a sophomore, has been just a little better than his senior teammate, Menifield.

The two would not only compete against each other in every meet, but every day at practice, their friendly competition was setting the tone for what happened on Wednesday.

Both Jones and Menifield cleared the state qualifying mark of 1.90 meters at Wednesday's IHSA Class 3A sectional meet at the Wayland-Young Athletic Complex.

For the first time since Sherard Blanden qualified for state in 2002, the Vikings will have individuals in the state high jump championship.

"This means all of the work that we've put in since the beginning of the season has paid off," said Menifield. "That was the goal that my coaches set for me and Victor from the beginning of the season. Now, we have to keep working to compete at state next week.

"I'm really proud of what Victor and I were able to do today. We have put in a lot of work behind the scenes, that no one has seen. Just because we had a rough start to the season, we didn't let that stop us, we always knew we could make it. We were able to speak it into existence."

But, honestly, it was their abilities and the motivation that the other provided.

"Victor is like a younger brother to me. He has been a little better than be, and that pushes me because I'm the senior and I'm supposed to be helping him," Menifield said. "It's a pride factor. The best thing is that we are both going to state."

Danville coach Tyler Arnholt admitted it's very exciting for the program to have two kids qualify for state in an event that the Vikings didn't even enter an individual in last year at sectionals.

"Victor has been a little more consistent, but all it takes is one good day and they both stepped up to the challenge," Arnholt said. "When you have good teammates, you can compete against each other every day, not just in a meet.

"It makes it easier to run faster, throw further and jump higher."

The competition of Wednesday's sectional also had a very positive influence on Danville freshman D'Mario Jackson.

The school freshman record holder in the 100- and 200-meter dashes lowered his times to 10.78 in the 100 and 21.61 in the 200, which was good enough for second and third in those individual events but those times are also under the state qualifying standards.

"Sometimes, I'm a little surprised," said Jackson, when asked about his continued improvement in each race. "Today was definitely a surprising moment. I didn't feel like I ran that fast today, but the times were definitely better."

Both of his previous bests in those events, 10.88 in the 100 and 21.73 in the 200, came in last week's Big 12 meet at Champaign Central.

"It's very achieving to run that fast and it feels awesome to make it to state in both events," said Jackson. "I'm just very thankful."

When asked why he's been so successful this season, Jackson had a simple answer.

"Really, it's putting in the training and the work," he said. "If you put the work in and you trust in the Lord — you will get better."

Neither Jackson nor Arnholt came into the season expecting the freshman to qualify for state in both sprint events.

"I knew he was pretty good from his middle school times, but I didn't know he was going to be this good," Arnholt said. "He just keeps surprising us and working hard."

So, when did Jackson think a trip to state was possible?

"Probably when we got outside and I ran a 10.9," he said, referring to his 10.92 at the Salt Fork Invitational on April 9. "I started to think it was a possibility, but I knew I had to keep working and now, it's happening."

While his individual accomplishments were impressive, Jackson was seemingly more excited about the Vikings 800-meter relay qualifying for state with a time of 1 minute, 30.09 seconds.

"I get to run one more time with one of my favorite seniors, Davari Boyd," Jackson said. "I'm really glad that we could get him to state in the 4-by-2 after he just missed in the long jump."

Boyd finished sixth in the long jump with a personal best of 6.71 meters, but that was 4 centimeters short of the state qualifying distance of 6.75 meters.

Danville junior Tayvion Diltz was fourth in the shot put with a toss of 14.20 meters.

As a team, the Vikings finished seventh with 38.33 points. Edwardsville was the sectional champion with 112.83 points.

The IHSA Class 3A state track & field meet is set for next Friday and Saturday at O'Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University.

All sectional track results can be found online at