MANLIUS — Everything went according to the game plan for Bureau Valley’s Lindsey Hoffert.
She won the long jump competition and anchored three Storm relays to state-qualifying runs in Thursday’s Bureau Valley 1A Sectional Track and Field Meet under the turbine and rain-soaked skies. They will all go to Charleston along with teammate Sydney Lebahn (discus), Hall’s Maddi Quinn (pole vault) and Amboy/LaMoille’s Erika Zimmerlein (200), Laura Rieker (high jump) and Megan Grady (3200).
“I was always hoping for four and we’ve been working hard to get four of them down there, our relays especially. I can’t even say how good it feels,” said Hoffert, who received a bear hug from her brother, Logan, a past BV state qualifier, after the completion of her 4x400 anchor.
The Storm placed second in the 4x200 (1:50.17) with freshman Marissa Mungia and Tianna Kennedy, joining Hoffert and senior Katelyn Johnson and second in the 4x400 (4:11.89) with Helena Osk Arnadottir, a foreign exchange student from Iceland, freshman Sabrina Webb, Kennedy and Hoffert. BV qualified on time in the 4x100 relay with a time of 51.83 on the legs of junior Haley DeVoss, Kennedy, Mungia and Hoffert.
It was all about team effort, said Hoffert, noting it’s an honor to anchor all the relays and it’s by design because “I’m bad at handing off.
“We’ve worked hard on handoffs and handoffs and handoffs. Just working together an motivating each other. Keeping our heads in it and getting handoffs were key. It worked,” said Hoffert.
“I’m so extremely proud of our freshmen, especially, for just keeping their heads in it. So proud of all our relays, especially in this weather, and our entire team and everyone who made it.”
BV coach Dale Donner said it was great to see three relays qualify and run a season’s best in the 4x100.
“In the 4x200 we ran a real strong race, and by then the temp had started to drop and I was starting to worry about times, but not only did we finish second, but we also ran qualifying time,” he said. “In the 4x400, we had Helena and Sabrina run their best times of the year.”
In the long jump, Hoffert said she just wanted to take care of business in the prelims, landing a state qualifier of 16-10 1/2. Once she did that, she skipped the finals, not wanting to risk running through the puddles in the runway.
“I wanted to get a good jump early so that maybe I wouldn’t have to jump finals, and I did so I wouldn’t waste my legs,” she said. “I was pushing to get qualifying and that’s what I did, now I just got to work more to get 17s.”
The Storm’s Lebahn had a winning throw of 113-5 in the discus, nearly 10 feet farther than runner-up Ashten Sherman of Riverdale.
“Sydney really stepped up in the disc,” BV coach Dale Donner said. “In the weather we had, to watch her navigate the discus ring was very impressive. She did not let the rain influence her footwork at all.”
It was a good news, bad news kind of night for Hall’s Quinn. She took first place in the pole vault, but clipped a hurdle in the 100s and failed to qualify.
“I’m really glad I could make it in pole vault, because that was one of my goals definitely this year. Hurdles, I’m actually really disappointed. I did hit a hurdle really hard, but that’s just my goal for next year, because I have made qualifying. It happens. The weather’s really bad, but I’m glad I could make it in the pole vault.”
The petite freshman cleared 9-3 to win the pole vault, or nearly than twice her own height. She took the qualifying mark and stopped with a first-place finish.
She admitted when the bar gets to a certain height, “it is a little frightening.”
While she didn’t match her season best and qualifying mark of 5-2, Rieker soared to 5-0 to tie for second place with Kewanee’s Reashonda Chandler, both advancing to state. Hall’s Jenna Lusietto also cleared 5-0, but took fourth on the tie-breaker for misses.
A/L coach Bob Halberg was happy to see Rieker return to state after missing out last year.
“Laura has really been working hard on her technique this year, and it has improved her consistency as well as her confidence. It is always a good feeling to see your seniors come through in the clutch,” he said.
The sophomore Zimmerlein came out for track for the first time this year and has taken to the sprints fast. She beat out Newman’s Mary Jensen (27.64) with a top time of 27.49.
Zimmerlein’s night, however, ended on a sour note. She took part in the Lady Clippers’ 4x100 relay that was initially ruled to have been disqualified for running out of a lane. It was later determined there was no infraction, but the damage had been as Pankhurst was told to slow down on the final leg. They still placed third with a time of 1:52.8.
After much discussion, Halberg was able to get his relay crew an extra run by themselves at the conclusion of the meet, although he didn’t think it was the fairest of moves, considering they had to run alone in the rain.
Two of Halberg’s runners, Zimmerlein and Katelyn Pankhurst, had already run six events in the cold and rainy conditions. Halberg scratched the Lady Clippers in the final event leading up to their rerun, the 1600 relay. When it was all said and done, the Lady Clippers, including Hannah Grady and Kaitlyn Boers, turned in a 1:53 running alone in the rain, which had just started to become more substantial.
“I will give my girls credit. I left the decision to run up to them, and they ran their hearts out. They will all be returning next year, and we will be running with a big chip on our shoulder,
“We didn’t get the time we wanted, but as a team, we won in our mind,” Zimmerlein said.
When asked about winning the 200, Zimmerlein, said, it’s OK, “but I’d rather take my team with me.”
Amboy freshman Megan Grady finished second in the 3200 (11:45.28). Putnam County’s Paige Griffith also qualified with a second-place time of 48.24 in the 300 hurdles.
• Notes: Annawan/Wethersfield (108) beat Three Rivers Conference champ Erie/Prophetstown (81) for the team championship. Henry (70) was third, BV (60) fourth, Hall (51) fifth and Amboy/LaMoille (48) sixth. … The 1A prelims will be held Thursday at O’Brien Stadium on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
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