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Princeton success comes in pairs

SPRING VALLEY — Good things came in pairs for the Princeton Tigresses in Saturday’s Rollie Morris Invitational at Hall High School.

Both Zoe Mead and Phoenix Smallwood came away with a pair of first-place finishes to lead the Tigresses to a third-place finish with 66 points. Fieldcrest (88.5) beat out Henry/Midland (78.5) for top honors.

Mead has been known as a distance runner coming up, but has shown remarkable versatility with the shorter sprints this spring. On Saturday, she won the 200 meters with a personal best 27.2 and the 400 meters with a PHS meet best 1:02.

“It’s a change. I’m not really used to it yet, but I think I can get somewhere with it, maybe,” said Mead, of her switch to the faster races.

“I think most impressive was her 200,” Hodge said. “She ran that a few times toward the end of last year, and I think she was getting right at 29 seconds. She almost broke 27 seconds today. She’s certainly run much faster in the speed events.”

Hodge told Mead to try to get out a little quicker in the 200 since she was running in lane 5 and the quicker people were to her inside.

“I told her if you feel anybody coming up inside of you, you’ve got to get moving, because they’ve already made up a stagger, and I think she did that at the middle of that first turn,” he said. “I think that girl did get a little bit by her, but Zoe responded to her and was able to maintain good contact coming down the stretch there.”

What events she will focus on will be a work in progress, Hodge said.

“We’re trying to do some different things and mix things up a bit to see where she’s at when it comes time to sectionals. … Today we were debating about the 800 or the 400, and decided with the cooler weather to keep it short and sweet.”

Hodge said Smallwood was her steady self in her jumping events. She beat the field by nearly 3 1/2 feet in the triple jump with a mark of 35-6. In the long jump, she landed at 15-5 1/4 for first-place honors.

Her day was just another piece in a very good season that she has been enjoying so far this year.  She’s been very consistent and doing a nice job in adjusting to the wind and cooler weather, which are factors outdoors,” Hodge said.

On Saturday, Smallwood had a brisk wind blowing into her face for the long jump, but tried not to let that affect her,

“I knew that’d be a little tough jumping into the wind, but I stayed as positive as much as I could. I reminded myself that everyone is jumping in the wind and it was not going to be great for everyone,” she said. “I wait to make sure the wind wasn’t gusting when I went. For the weather condition, I don’t think I did terribly bad.”

The jumpers benefitted with the wind at their backs for the triple jump and Smallwood’s jump was just about par for where’s been this spring. Through Saturday, she has swept both jumps six times.

Princeton’s young guns scored well in the weights with Colbi Schertz (34-6) and Nicole Holland (31-4) placing 2-4 in the shot put and Holland (103) and Taylor Clark (100) finishing 2-3 in the discus. Mendota’s Kaitlyn Horn swept both events.

Hall had a winning effort in the 4x200 relay, edging Aurora Christian with a time of 1:56.14 on the legs of Brittany Foster, Lexi Scarpaci, Katie Hoffert and Brooke Keegan.

“It was a nice run by the girls.  I knew we had a shot at winning that relay and the girls went out and got it done,” Hall coach Nick Hanck said.

Also for Hall, Hoffert was second in the triple jump (32-1 1/2) and Jacquie Wallaert was third in the 800 (2:38.8) and fourth in the triple jump (31-3 1/2).

Bureau Valley’s top finish was a second in the 4x100 with a time of 54.44, finishing second behind Henry/Midland. Sophomore Regan Weidner finished second in the 1600 (5:43) and fourth in the 800 (2:41.39). Also for the Storm, Katelin Johnson was third in the 400 (1:08.34) with fourths going to Haley DeVoss in the 400 (27.85) and Sydney Lebahn in the discus (99-0).

For St. Bede, Zoe Postula placed second in the 100 hurdles (18.01) and third in high jump (4-11),

• Notes: Henry-Midland won three of four relays, taking the 4x100, 4x400 and 4x800. … Neither Princeton’s Sierra Storm or BV’s Krista Naaktgeboren, the only competitors, were able to clear opening height in the pole vault.

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