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Tigers land Ferris crown

PRINCETON — The Princeton Tigers marked the 60th anniversary of the Princeton Invitational by capturing the 2013 meet on a wet and chilly Monday night at Rathje track.

The Tigers won three events and claimed 14 top three finishes overall to top Mendota 185-169 to win the meet now known as the Ferris Coed Invitational.

“It’s certainly nice to win your own meet and have the young men perform like they did today. We had a lot of good things,” PHS coach Dan Foes said. “I’m very proud of the young men. They just keep working and keep fighting. We had a little bit of the depth to pull this one out here today. So we’re very, very proud of them.

“Everybody’s playing their part. When we set up the lineups, we always set them to compete to the best of our abilities and tonight the plan came true.”

PHS teamed up for a winning effort in the 4x200 relay with Caleb Strom, Zack Bogatitus, Brock Griffin, and Austen Stewart turning in a 1:37.07, edging Mendota at the finish.

Austen Stewart, who cleared 6-8 indoors this spring, needed only a jump of 5-11 to take home Monday’s blue ribbon.

PHS sophomore Drew Pranka had a winning mark of 10 feet in the pole vault. He also picked up a second in the 110 high hurdles (16.42) and third in the 300 hurdles (43.29).

Other leading contributors for Princeton were Strom, who placed second in the 200 (24.26), third in the 100 meters (11.91), fourth in the long jump (19-3 1/4), Zach Andersen, who ran third in the 1600 (4:58.91) and 3200 (10:35.29), Kai Tomaszewski, who placed second in the 400 (54.73), Jordan Sissell, who placed third in the shot put (39-6).

Hall’s Landon Piccatto was the lone double winner of the day and named as “Most Outstanding Athlete.” He won the triple jump (41-4) and 300 hurdles (41.26). He also placed second in the long jump (19-11 1/2).

The Red Devils’ Al Baldonado claimed the 3200 with a time of 10:19.49.

St. Bede’s Michael Slingsby had a winning toss of 45-3 in the shot put. Teammate Steven Gualandri was second in the 300 hurdles (41.89).

The meet was halted with a mandatory half hour delay when lightning was detected when the rain cut loose. Foes said it’s typical of the kind of spring north central Illinois has endured this year.

“If it’s not the wind on one day, it’s the rain,” Foes said. “You get a beautiful day on a Sunday afternoon when it’s 70 degrees or whatever, and the next day it’s 40 and raining. It will straighten up sooner or later. All of a sudden it will be 100 degrees out and we’ll be complaining it’s too hot. But we’ll be glad when that time comes because its probably easier to get the guys loosened up.”

The championship was the 24th for the Tigers in their home meet which dates back to 1953. It also was the Tigers’ fourth straight Ferris Invite crown, matching their best streak which came from 2002-05.

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