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Storm shows its strength

Bureau Valley captured Tuesday’s Howard-Monier Girls Invitational at Princeton, showing remarkable strength with a roster just 12 deep.

While the Storm won just one event, they scored 16 Top 5 finishes, five seconds and five thirds to beat out Peoria Christian, 93-84, to take the team trophy. They did all that without injured 2012 state medalist Regan Weidner, a feat that has to be a scary thought for the Three Rivers Conference and the rest of the area track teams.

“We may be short on numbers, but we are very happy with quality and work ethic of these girls,” BV coach Dale Donner said. “We did not know what to expect (Thursday), and our girls really stepped up and surprised themselves. We have good leadership with our juniors and seniors, and they show the younger girls the work it takes to be successful.”

It was a highly competitive field from top to bottom with only 39 points separating the first-place team, Bureau Valley, to the seventh-place team, Amboy/LaMoille (54), in the seven-team field.

“I think that was the highest score ever for a seventh-place team. We had nice competition there,” PHS coach Pat Hodge said.

Sophomore Lindsey Hoffert secured the lone Storm first-place finish in the 100 meters, edging teammate Haley DeVoss by .02 with a time of 13.6. Hoffert also placed second in the long jump.

The Storm were steady down the board with seconds from DeVoss (200), Lauren Peterson (300 hurdles) and its 4x200 relay, thirds from Sydney Lebahn (discus), Riley Francis (3200), Krista Naaktgeboren (pole vault), and its 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

“We are the same as all the area schools with limited outdoor practice, but to see people like Katelin Johnson triple jump about 29 feet, and she had never triple jumped before except one day in practice, and Krista Naaktgeboren who has had only one practice day on the pole vault pits match her personal best, it goes to show our cross training is paying off,” Donner said. “It is nice to see our team rewarded with a team victory. We hope we can continue this momentum on Saturday at Mendota.

PHS senior Phoenix Smallwood won both of her jumps, blasting the meet record in the long jump by seven inches at 16-9. She also claimed the triple jump at 34-6 1/2.

“The triple jump was going into the wind a little bit at the beginning of the meet, so she did a nice job there,” Hodge said. (In the) long jump, she got the meet record there, so obviously that’s the best she’s done in this meet. So she had a nice solid performance.”

PHS junior Zoe Mead also pulled a double, winning the 200 and 400.

“Her speed’s coming along real well, and hopefully, she’ll be able to generate that into the 800 too, as we go along and keep our options opens and see what’s looking good as we get to the end of the season.”

PHS sophomore Sierra Storm cleared an even 8 feet to win the pole vault.

St. Bede placed sixth overall (56) but claimed three first place finishes. Laura Sickley won the 1600 (6:11.48) and the 3200 (12:57.03) while Zoe Postula won the high jump (4-10).

Hall won the 4x400 relay on the legs of Jacquie Wallaert, Lindsey Conrad, Brittany Foster and Brooke Keegan, who beat out second place Peoria Christian by nearly 13 seconds with a time of 4:37.8.

Kewanee’s Freya Bock, a senior from Neponset, swept the weights with a pair of meet records. She bettered her own mark in the discus by 8 feet at 127-11 and eclipsed the 2010 record by BV’s Melanie Thompson in the shot put by 3/4 inches at 37-11 1/2.

Notes: PHS freshman Elise Blocki hurt her knee on the landing of her first long jump attempt and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She was feared to have a season-ending injury. “Hopefully Elise is getting the care she needs, and she has a quick recovery,” Hodge said ... BV’s Weidner may not have competed Wednesday, but she wore out the Rathje Track conditioning while nursing a hip injury. Donner expects her to compete Saturday at Mendota .... Sophomore Colbi Schertz, one of four PHS throwers in the Top 6, had her best throw by a foot at 34-2 1.2. She tied Amboy’s Autumn Smith, but had to settle for third place by the second-throw tiebreaker ... The Clippers ran an all-LaMoille 4x200 relay of Kaitlyn Hildebrand, Laura Rieker, Meredith Stamberger and Shiela Browning, placing fourth.

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