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Bureau Valley’s Logan Hoffert jumps during the triple jump at Thursday’s Class 1A IHSA State Track and Field Meet in Charleston. Hoffert advanced to finals in three events, including the 1,600 relay. NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus
CHARLESTON — One Bureau Valley relay team made history Thursday at the IHSA Class 1A State Track and Field preliminaries.
The other has a group of athletes looking forward to making it back to state.
The Bureau Valley 1,600-meter relay team of senior Logan Hoffert, and juniors Ryan Taylor, Tucker Schoff and Daniel Trone became the first boys relay team in BV school history to advance to the state finals after finishing ninth overall in qualifying with a time of 3:32.11 seconds.
“When I first started coaching the old coach said it was too difficult to make it to state in relays. One of the goals I had was to try and see how we could do with the relays at state,” BV coach Nick Hartz said. “To have it be the first relay to make the state finals is a great thing. That 4x400 relay is a close group and they work hard.”
The Storm 1,600 relay started with a strong lap from Hoffert, who handed the baton to Taylor in second place.
Taylor burst out into the lead early in his leg but slipped into second on the back turn before passing to Schoff in a tightening field that quickly pushed the Storm into third place entering the third lap.
Schoff and Trone were able to maintain a solid grasp on third place, however, for the duration of the race and BV claimed the ninth and final qualifying spot with a time of 3:32.11 — just .14 seconds ahead of Newton, which finished second in its heat.
“I knew we were coming in against some great schools. Every flight here has some really great runners, but I was optimistic about what we could do,” said Taylor, who ran a season-best split of around 51 seconds according to Hartz.
“As a team, I think we did great. Our times were a little slower — it’s a little bit windier. … The wind was a factor but all of our guys did great.”
While the Storm 1,600 relay will look to close out the season with some state hardware, the 3,200 relay team of Taylor, Andrew Smith, Colton Peterson, and Kane Eastwood is looking forward to a return run on the big blue track at O’Brien Stadium after missing out on finals.
BV’s quartet of half milers — all new to the state experience with the exception of Taylor — finished sixth in its heat and 15th overall in qualifying with a time of 8:36, three spots away from a berth to the finals.
“We didn’t really place where we wanted to place — we ran about 10 seconds slower than our sectional time — but we’re all juniors so we’ve got next year,” Smith said.
“This is just to get experience basically this year,” said Smith, adding that a return trip to state would lighten the load of butterflies in the young runners’ stomachs.
“(Coming back to state) will be a lot easier, there will be less nerves, too. I know a lot of us were a little nervous coming up to the line.”
Chris Yucus can be reached at 220-6995, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsChris.
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