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A trio of medalists

CHARLESTON — Three Bureau County athletes brought home state medals from IHSA State Track and Field competition Saturday in Charleston.

Making it to the medal stand in 1A were Bureau Valley sophomore Lindsey Hoffert, who placed third in the long jump, and Kewanee’s Freya Block, a senior from Neponset, who was the State runner-up in both the discus and shot put. In the 2A meet, Princeton junior Zoe Mead placed third in the 800 meters.

Hoffert medaled for the second straight season in the long jump, placing third with a jump of 17-4 3/4. The state runner-up last year, Hoffert managed to outduel Sullivan’s Amanda McLain on her last jump to reclaim third place via the second-best jump tiebreaker.

“I finally got on the [launching] board today, which is a good time to do it,” Hoffert said, “and I’m happy with what I did. But I know I’ve got 18 [feet] in me, and with a little more time, I can get there.

“It’s a little pressure and motivation, honestly. Now I know what I have to do to make it back to the finals and compete, and it’s nice to finish high up on that stand.”

BV coach Dale Donner said Hoffert really came through in the clutch, noting she’s only been able jump the last half of the outdoor season having rolled her ankle in the indoor season.

“We are very proud of her stepping up and producing the big jumps when they were needed,” Donner said. “Her dad tried to figure up how many jumps she took before state this year and I think he came up with 19. Coach (Dan) Gustafson did a good job having her prepared for this. He did a lot of work with approach and other technique without her actually jumping.”  

In 2A, Mead placed third in the 800 meters with a time of 2:17.37, saying it was a pretty good feeling. She becomes the fourth PHS girl to medal at state in the 800, the first to do so in a class higher than 1A. Other 800 medalist from PHS include Becky Scott, fifth in 1985; Angie Noble, second in 1987; and Jennifer Moss, third in 1990.

PHS coach Pat Hodge said Mead had a good run, nearly eclipsing the PHS school record while bettering her junior record from Sectional.

“With the drop she made in time at the Sectional, it is sometimes hard to duplicate that again right away.  I was very proud of her in being able to better her Sectional run in the final,” Hodge said.

“She was in pretty good position for most of the race, about eighth, and caught one girl in the last 200. She wasn’t able to shift into another gear on the homestretch, but maintained the pace she had going.  She gave it all she had and that’s all you can ask for. We definitely moved up another level in all phases of her middle distance (and 200) events this season.”

Block had throws of 125-3 and shot put of 40-4 3/4 for her red ribbon efforts.

Bureau Valley sophomore Regan Weidner did not medal in the 3200 meters, placing 13th with a time of 11:59.51. It was not the kind of finish she would have hoped for having placed third a year ago, but like Hoffert, faced injuries this season.

“I didn’t run like I wanted at all, but that’s the way the whole season was,” Weidner said. “My times just weren’t what I wanted this year, and I thought a little rest this week would have me running better. At least my season didn’t end at sectionals, but I just couldn’t push through today.

“That’s really motivating, though, because it just makes me want to work harder so the same thing doesn’t happen next year.”

Donner said both of the BV girls had their seasons best on Saturday. which is their goal when at State.

“I know Regan had her goals a lot higher than 12th since she finished third last year.  Her injury really held her back this year, and she never got back into her same running shape she was in last spring,” he said. “I am sure this finish will motivate her and I know a good summer base of miles will get her back to where she wants to be.”

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