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Familiar faces, fast company at state

There’s going to be some familiar faces and fast company for the Bureau County athletes competing in the IHSA 1A State Track and Field Meet on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

One event, the 300 hurdles, will have four area competitors, and another, the triple jump, will have three for Thursday’s state prelims at O’Brien Stadium.

St. Bede senior Steven Gualandri was the sectional champ at Bureau Valley with a winning time of 40.56. He goes to State as the fifth seed. Right behind him are Amboy/LaMoille senior Cooper Nelson (10th, 40.84), Bureau Valley’s Logan Hoffert (11th, 40.76) and Hall senior Landon Piccatto (17th, 41.30).

Piccatto, the sectional champ, is seeded 10th, 42-5 3/4 in the triple jump. He will be joined by Hoffert (11th, 42-5 1/2).

The best local seed in 1A goes to the Storm’s 4x400, which was sectional runner-up with a time of 3:28.64 on the legs of Tucker Schoff, Ryan Taylor, Daniel Trone and Kristian Konneck.

The BV 4x800, consisting of Colton Peterson, Kane Eastwood, Kody Church and Charlie Lotspeich is seeded 13th at 8:27.22.

BV also sends senior Kristian Konneck in the 200 (19th, 22.93).

Class 2A: Princeton senior Austen Stewart is the lone competitor in 2A. He is one of 18 jumpers to hit 6-3, tied for the 10th seed coming in to Friday’s prelims. All those jumpers will have a ways to go to catch Waterloo senior Justin Kretchmer, who has cleared 7-1.

PHS coach Dan Foes is very optimistic about Stewart’s chances at State, adding it should benefit Stewart to be able to focus solely on high jump.

“We will focus on getting into finals first and go from there,” Foes said. “It might be the first meet all season he doesn’t have to worry about any other events, hopefully that will work to his advantage. There is a 7-1, 6-9, and 6-8 jumper coming out of sectionals and after that the field is wide open. It should be an outstanding competition.”

Stewart placed fourth in Class 1A in 2011 with a jump of 6-5, but did not qualify in 2A a year ago.

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