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Storm track running strong

PRINCETON — The Bureau Valley Storm may have graduated some big guns last year with state shot put champ Adam Weidner and state medalist Derrick Johnson moving on to the collegiate ranks. But north central Illinois track teams are quickly finding out the 2013 Storm squad still has plenty of firepower.

The Storm captured the Howard-Monier Invite Tuesday at Princeton’s Rathje Track, landing 14 top-four finishes, including five firsts, two seconds and four thirds to top Annawan-Wethersfield 128-107. They also won Saturday’s Don Gooden Classic in Mendota.

“Everyone doubted our team this year, losing Adam and Derrick. I think we’ll be just as good,” said BV senior Ryan Taylor, who ran on two winning relays and scored in the 800 (second) and pole vault (third). “Everybody expected us to be sad or whatever because we lost those guys, but we’re just working harder to make up for what we lost. Our guys are really working hard in practice, putting in extra work where they need to. The days we don’t have school, the guys are out there running and that’s what it takes, putting in the extra miles nobody else does.”

The Storm excelled once again in relays with three firsts and a second.

“We were pretty strong today in the relays. I’m proud of everybody,” said senior Logan Hoffert, who also won the 300 hurdles (41.32) and placed third in the triple jump.

BV opened the track events with the top time of 8 minutes, 49.54 seconds in the 4x800 on the legs of Kane Eastwood, Colton Peterson, Andrew Smith and Taylor, blasting runner-up Kewanee by 28 seconds.

The winning 4x200 included a mix of freshmen Trey Dale and Will Konneck and seniors Kristian Konneck and Conor Mooney, turning in a time of 1:36.54. Kristian Konneck gave props to freshman Trey Dale, “saying I’ve never seen him run that fast.”

Konneck ran pretty fast himself, winning the 200 meters (23.6) and taking third in the 100 (12.06).

The Storm relays finished the day in the fast lane, winning the 4x400 with Tucker Schoff, Taylor, Daniel Trone and Hoffert running a 3:36.01.

The Storm’s 4x100 of Will Konneck, Trone, Hoffert and Kristian Konneck placed a close second behind Peoria Christian.

Princeton placed third as a team with 98 points. The Tigers’ top individual scorer was senior Austen Stewart, who needed only a clearance of 5-10 to win the high jump. Stewart who has cleared 6-8 indoors, said he struggled to get his steps down Tuesday and missed on his attempts at 6-4.

“There’s not much you can do when your steps are off,” Stewart said, adding he needs to be sure the measurements are correctly for his approach.

The Tigers finished a close second to the Storm in the 4x200 with Zack Bogatitus, Brock Griffin, Alex Biggs and Caleb Strom turning in a 1:37.63. They also followed the Storm in the 4x400 with Kai Tomaszewski, Stewart, Drew Pranka and Lenny Mead running a 3:49.04.

PHS also picked up seconds from Pranka in the pole vault, Strom in the 100 (12.05), and thirds from Zach Andersen in the 3200 (10:49.15) and Tomaszewski in the 400 (54.42).

Hall’s Landon Piccatto won the triple jump (41-7 1/2) and placed second in the long jump (19-8) and third in the 300 hurdles (42.47). Morgan Burcham placed second in the 400 (54.08) and Joseph Parochetti was third in the 1600 (5:06.17).

St. Bede’s Michael Slingsby won the shot put (45-9 1/2) and placed third in the discus (111-6). The Bruins’ Steven Gualandri was second in the 300 hurdles (41.47).

Notes: Michael Cook of Annawan/Wethersfield won a trifecta with firsts in the 3200, 800 and 1600. ... Kewanee edged Hall for the F/S crown 101-99. Hall’s Al Baldonado set a meet record by winning the 3200 in 10:37.3 and won the 1600 in 2:19.49. The Red Demons also won the F/S 4x100 (48.62) with Cole Elliott claiming the 400 (59.87). For third place St. Bede, Baylee Hopps won the 110 HH (19.74) and triple jump (35-8) and John Barnes won the shot put (38-9 1/2) and discus (114-2).

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