ROCK FALLS – Superior depth resulted in a super finish for the Bureau Valley girls track team on Friday night at the Rock Falls Invite.
The Storm built a big lead in the field, and that carried over to the track. Bureau Valley amassed 139 points to outdistance runner-up Rock Falls, which had 113. Rounding out the top five in an eight-team field were Dixon (79), Milledgeville-Eastland (76) and Amboy-LaMoille (70).
Bureau Valley has now won in Rock Falls four consecutive seasons.
“We were focused on the field events, but we knew it wasn’t going to be just that,” senior thrower Saige Barnett said. “We were going to have to perform on the track as well. All season we’ve talked about how deep our team is. We’re all capable of scoring points, and in a meet like this, every point matters.”
Barnett and Kamryn Kolb spearheaded the Storm surge. Barnett went 39 feet, 1/2 inch to win the shot put, and 111-6 to place second in the discus.
Kolb had a pair of wins, one in her favorite event and the other in her least favorite. She won the long jump with a leap of 16-7 1/2, nearly 3 feet less than she posted Tuesday at LaSalle.
“Cold weather, the wind was bad, the pit wasn’t the greatest – it just wasn’t good tonight,” Kolb said.
In the 400, she turned in a time of 1:00.68. It was just the second time she’s run that race this season, and if she had her way, it might be the last.
“The honest opinion that I tell everyone, I hate the 400,” Kolb said. “But with how I run it and how it ends up in the end, even though I’m really dead, it is a good thing for me because it makes me better in other events.”
Kolb was also runner-up in the 100 (13.15) and 200 (26.54).
Bureau Valley’s other win came from Jade Aber in the triple jump (32-7 1/2).
Rock Falls began its time on the track in style as the 4x800 foursome of Erin Porter, Bailee Fortney, Alex Gomez and Bryahna Ganther won in 10:02.63. The Rockets were pushed by Dixon, which was second in 10:11.21.
“I think we did really well,” Fortney said. “Last Saturday we ran at Rock Island, and the conditions were perfect. There was barely any wind. Today, we ran maybe 8 seconds slower with all this wind. I think we did really well. All of our splits were pretty good.”
Fortney also won the 1,600 in 5:28.78.
The lone double-winner for the Rockets was Tayler Lippens, who captured both hurdles events. She was clocked at 17.42 in the 100 highs and 49.81 in the 300 lows.
Lauren Moeller cleared 8 feet to win the pole vault for Rock Falls.
Dixon’s lone champ was Taylor Renkes, who took the 800 in 2:25.68, a mere .20 ahead of Rock Falls’ Porter.
“Having someone right next to you running the same time really pushes you to the end,” Renkes said.
Paige Stees was runner-up in the 1,600 (5:30.76) for the Duchesses.
Milledgeville had the unquestioned fastest girl on the track in Olivia Sturrup, who won the 100 (13.07) and 200 (26.36). She was pushed by BV’s Kolb in both events.
“I love racing with Kamryn – Kamryn is my fave,” Sturrup said. “All the other meets, it’s hard to find someone to run after. With Kamryn, I know I’ve got to pick up the pace.”
Sturrup combined with Sage Walrath, Kortney Queckboerner and Alyvia Woodard in the 4x100 relay (51.93) and Lydia Coatney, Walrath and Woodard in the 4x200 relay (1:49.49). Sturrup noted the groups can go much lower.
“Handoffs were not very good as usual,” Sturrup said. “It was cold and windy, and I think that affected us.”
Amboy-LaMoille ended the meet in fine fashion with a win in the 4x400 relay. Sidney Corcoran, Brooklyn Whelchel, Emma Lundquist and Ashley Althaus combined for a time of 4:13.2.
“The goal is to go out and keep improving each time you run a race with your teammates,” Althaus said. “We’ve been reaching remarkable times early in the season. It’s great to keep consistent and keep going fast.”
Top 3 teams
1. Bureau Valley 139, 2. Rock Falls 113, 3. Dixon 79