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4 to go to finals

CHARLESTON — Lindsey Hoffert has jumped herself back into contention for another medal in the IHSA State Track and Field competition.

The Bureau Valley sophomore is ranked fourth overall in the 1A long jump competition with a jump of 16 feet, 11 3/4 inches in Thursday’s prelims at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. She was the state runner-up in the long jump a year ago.

Classmate Regan Weidner is ranked 13th heading into Saturday’s 3200 meter run based on sectional seeding. She placed third last year. There are no state prelims in the 3200.

They will be joined in the 1A finals by Kewanee’s Freya Block, a senior from Neponset. She is in position to medal twice in the weights, ranked second in both the discus (121-6) and shot put (40-4 3/4).

Princeton’s Zoe Mead (800) is the lone qualifier for the 2A finals.

Hoffert, who used a jump of 17-8 to place second last year, was happy to advance, but not satisfied. BV coach Dale Donner said Hoffert missed her mark on the board.

“I felt all right, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted,” Hoffert told Shaw Media Service. “I still feel I have something better, and I’m happy to have one more day to show it.”

Hoffert just missed qualifying in the 200 meters by one place with a 13th-place time of 27.34.

Mead came in seeded fourth in both of the 800 and 400. She will go into Saturday’s finals in the 800 ranked 10th with a prelim time of 2:19.54. Running about 15 minutes after completing her 800, Mead failed to advance in the 400 with a time of 1:00.3, sixth best in her heat.

“She was about two seconds off her 800 time, but hung on to make the finals,” PHS coach Pat Hodge said. “I knew it was going to be tough, because there was some girls in her heats that ran 58, 59 in their sectionals in bad weather, but had run 56s and 57s before. I knew that’d be a tough double anyway.”

Both Bureau Valley sophomore Sydney Lebahn (discus) or Amboy/LaMoille senior Autumn Smith (shot), just missed the 1A finals cut. Lebahn was ranked 13th with a toss of 107-10, needing a 110-3 to advance.

“She was disappointed. When you’re that close, you get a little greedy. But she had two of her best four throws of the year down here,” Donner said. “I told her if she wouldn’t have had her best throw (at sectional) she wouldn’t have never made it. She was close she almost got there.”

Princeton’s Phoenix Smallwood came up short in her quest to qualify for the jumps in 2A once again. She placed fifth in her flight in the long jump at 16-2 3/4 and 20th overall. She jumped 34-3 1/2 in the triple jump, seventh in her flight and 22nd overall.

“She wanted to come down and medal,” Hodge said. “It was a little tougher than the indoors. There were some girls in Southern Illinois that didn’t jump at the Prep Top Times so the competition was a lot tougher than it was in the indoor meet.”

Like Hoffert, Hodge said Smallwood had trouble hitting her board.

The last week in practice even in practice, too, she wasn’t hitting the board right and when she did jump wellshe wasn’t on the board,” Hodge said. “If you get off there, sometimes it’s hard to get rhythm back.”

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