If there’s any pressure returning to State as the defending champion, the Bureau Valley 4x100 relay is not feeling any of it.
The Storm squad won the 1A title last year and brings its foursome of Marissa Endress, Carly Endress, Molly Bohm and Kamryn Kolb back intact. They won the Erie Sectional with a time of 50.33 and will be seeded second behind DuQuoin (50.11).
“It’s not really pressure. We never focus on the bad things,” Kolb said. “We always just push through. We’re going to defend our title and do the best that we can do. It’s never, ‘Oh we’re going to worry about these people, let’s worry about this.’ It’s never that.”
The 4x1 is one of nine events Bureau Valley qualified in for State, coming off a second-place finish at the Erie Sectional. The Storm placed fourth at state last year, missing out on a trophy by one point, which provides much motivation in its return trip to Charleston.
“We think all nine events are capable making finals, which means there is a shot for a team trophy,” BV coach Dale Donner said. “Our team goal has been to put ourselves in position for a team trophy. We had a great effort at sectionals, now we just need to perform on Thursday at prelims. Last year, we had eight in finals. Hopefully we can go a step further this year.”
Senior Saige Barnett goes down in the shot put for the fourth year (4th seed) and makes it back to the discus (9th) for the third time, seeded to medal in both.
Kolb (4th) and Konneck (8th) will tag team in the long jump while Kolb is also seeded 21st in the 200. BV sophomore Jade Aber is the sixth seed in the triple jump.
The Storm also qualified in the 4x200 (4th seed) and 4x400 (12th seed) relays.
The Amboy-LaMoille Clippers have also made fast tracks to Charleston in six events.
Junior Emma Lundquist joins former Clipper standout Erika Zimmerlein (twice) as another LaMoille girl to qualify in four events. She beat out 110 hurdles state champ Danielle Taets of Orion to win the 300 hurdles, seeded 16th. She also goes down on all three relays, including the 4x400, which is seeded fifth.
“Coming from the most highly competitive sectional (Erie) in the state, we are no stranger to competition and look forward to Thursday’s challenges,” said A-L coach Bob Halberg, who will be retiring after 13 years as Amboy girls coach.
LaMoille freshman Kylee Brown also punched her ticket to Charleston, hitting the qualifier in the long jump, going 16-5, placing seventh. She broke the 31-year-old LHS record earlier this season.
Halberg believes that all the Clippers’ individual qualifiers, Lundquist, Brown and Ashely Althaus (400), can advance to Saturday’s finals with “PR’s” Thursday.
• Putnam County senior Madison Keegan set a school record in the discus with a winning toss of 130-6 at the El Paso Sectional, seeded second.