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Hoffert batting a thousand

(BCR photo)
Bureau Valley’s Logan Hoffert (left) and Hall senior Landon Piccatto compete in the heat of the 300 hurdles in Thursday’s prelims of the IHSA 1A State Track and Field Meet at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston. Hoffert won the heat with a time of 40.27, fifth overall. Piccatto did not advance. Hoffert also advanced in the triple jump and as a member of the Storm’s 4x400 relay. Finals will be held Saturday.
(Shaw Media Service photo/Alex T. Paschal)
Princeton’s Austen Stewart soars in 2A high jump.
(Shaw Media Service photo/Alex T. Paschal)
Ryan Taylor helped the Bureau Valley 4x4 relay run down a state finals berth.
St. Bede’s Steven Gualandri advanced in the 300 hurdles.

CHARLESTON – If Logan Hoffert was playing baseball, he’d be batting one thousand competing in the IHSA Class 1A Boys State Track and Field Meet.

The Bureau Valley senior went three for three in Thursday’s prelims at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, qualifying in all three events he competed in — the triple jump, the 300 hurdles and the 4x400 relay.

Hoffert will be joined in Saturday’s 1A finals, looking to make his way up to the medal stand, with teammates Ryan Taylor, Tucker Schoff and Daniel Trone in the 4x400 and with St. Bede’s Steven Gualandri in the 300 hurdles. Hall sophomore Al Baldonado will run in Saturday’s finals of the 3200 meters, which has no prelims.

Princeton’s Austen Stewart will represent Bureau County in the 2A finals competing in the high jump.

“It was an unbelievable day,” said Hoffert, who added he didn’t dream he’d make it in all three events. “I didn’t think I’d make it in the triple jump. I was just happy to be there.”

Hoffert was first in his flight and sixth overall in the triple jump with a personal best of 42-10 1/2 and won his heat of the 300 hurdles, ranked fifth overall with a time of 40.27.

He also ran the lead leg of the 4x400 relay that finished third in its heat with time of 3:32.11 to grab the ninth and last spot in the finals, just 0.14 seconds ahead of Newton.All in all, a good day’s work.

“Logan being ranked sixth going into the finals in the triple is great. He had a personal best and started his day off on the right foot,”BV coach Nick Hartz said.

“Ever since conference, I’ve just been going up,” said Hoffert, who had a personal best by five inches. “I’m peaking at the right time, I couldn’t be happier about it.”

Hoffert’s 300 race, Hartz said, was a great one, despite competitors falling like dominoes around him.

“He ran smart and while he had kids falling around him, he stayed focused and finished strong,” Hartz said.

Taylor was determined to get the Storm’s 4x400 relay into the finals after missing out in the 4x800. It becomes the first relay in school history to qualify for finals.

“It was awesome to make it because it was really close. It’s definitely going to be remembered,” said Taylor, who ran the second leg of the Storm’s relay.

“That means so much to me. I know we were all so happy,” Hoffert said. “There’s been so many great relays in BV history. It’s an honor to be the first BV relay to medal. I’m just so grateful.”

“I’m so proud of all the boys. Just a great day,” Hartz said.

Gualandri placed second in the first heat of the 300 hurdles, sixth overall with a time of 40.42 to take his spot alongside Hoffert in Saturday’s finals. The best time of the day in the 300 hurdles belonged to Trenton Wesclin senior Jason Bliven, who clocked a 40.03 in the third heat.

Hall senior Landon Piccatto (triple jump, 300 hurdles) failed to advance as did Bureau Valley senior Kristian Konneck (200).

2A prelims: Princeton’s Stewart was one of 14 competitors in 2A to clear 6-3 in the high jump, to advance to Saturday’s finals. The top nine will be medal.

Stewart placed fourth in 2011 in Class 1A and is happy to get another shot at a state medal.

“I’m just glad to make it back here again and having a great time doing something I love,” Stewart said. “My jumps felt really good today and some of the technical mistakes I made at sectionals I didn’t make today and I’m just hoping that continues (Saturday.”

“What a great accomplishment. It was like 9 o’clock and he was already in the finals. A big relief,” PHS coach Dan Foes said. “We didn’t know what the height was going to be and it turned out to be 6-3, certainly a comfortable height for him. A great accomplishment for a great kid.”

Notes: When told he better medal to keep up with his sister, Lindsey, once again, who placed third in the long jump in last week’s girls State finals, Hoffert laughed, and “She’s a great athlete and I love her to death.”

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