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Storm sophomores advance to state

ERIE — Three Bureau Valley sophomores qualified for the IHSA 1A State Track and Field Meet competing out of the Erie Sectional Thursday evening.

Lindsey Hoffert punched her ticket in two events, placing second to Erie’s Peyton Rus in both the long jump (17-0 1/2) and 200 (27.55).

Classmates Sydney Lebahn and Regan Weidner used the same pattern with runner-up finishes of their own. Lebahn placed second in the discus (108-9), and Weidner was the runner-up in the 3200 (12:00.04).

“We were seeded to make only three events out, and got four so that is a positive,” BV coach Dale Donner said.

The Storm coach said Lebahn, especially, had a great night in the weights.

“She bested her shot by over two feet and her disc by about five feet. She really stepped up and got the job done when she needed to,” Donner said. “With just two throws left she had not qualified, and then she let the big one fly. We are really happy for her.”

While Weidner got out a little quick in the 3200, Donner said, she was able to turn in an outdoors season best time.

“Our goal is to make sure she is in the fast heat at state in the 3200, and 12:00 will usually do that,” Donner said. “She was disappointed in not making it in the 1600, but knowing Regan it will just motivate her more.”

Donner said Hoffert, who was the 2012 state runner-up, had trouble getting on the board in the long jump, and once she did, they shut her down because of the weather.

“The conditions were miserable and she is coming off a nasty ankle injury and we did not want to take any chances,” Donner said.

The weather conditions were a point of contention for Donner. He has never been one to complain in 29 years coaching track, but he said it was “ridiculous” the meet was run in the existing conditions. He said he was told by meet officials the decision was made back at the IHSA office in Bloomington.

“Really?! A guy 150 miles away is going to tell us if it is suitable to run the meet,” Donner said. “We stood out there for 6 1/2 hours of which four hours of that was in the rain and two of that in a downpour. They always say they are in it for the kids, but they sure proved they were not. When talking to the officials I heard many excuses from ‘we will stay here until 2:00 in the morning if we have to, to the problem is the officials have other meets to work on Friday.’ So it is not for the kids, but for the officials to make their next job?”

Donner said it was not fair to all the athletes, not just the Storm, who qualified in more events than they were seeded in. He notes that in the previous three years, this sectional which is considered by many as one of the toughest in Class A in the state, has had anywhere from 16 to 21 extra qualifiers. Thursday they had just five.

“Well, on the bright side, those three officials get to work an extra night,” Donner said.

Kewanee’s Freya Block, a senior from Neponset, doubled her pleasure in the weights, winning the discus (132-7) and shot (39-9).

Erie-Prophetstown piled up 130 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Annawan-Wethersfield (90) for the sectional championship.

The Cobert and Rus sisters combined to win the 800-meter relay and lead the way to the Panthers’ 11 state-qualifying berths and dominant march to the team title. Courtney and Rachel Cobert teamed with Paige and Peyton Rus to win the 800 relay in a time of 1:45.74, more than two seconds faster than runner-up Riverdale. They haven’t lost the race all season.

The Storm placed fourth overall with 42 points. Amboy/LaMoille tied for 11th (10) in the 14-team field with Autumn Smith advancing as runner-up in the shot put (36-0 1/4).

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