CHARLESTON – Four area seniors capped their prep careers with state medals Saturday at the IHSA State Track and Field Meet, while one area relay made history.
St. Bede senior Steven Gualandri had the area's best finish, with a fourth-place run in the 300 hurdles in a new personal best time of 40.28.
“I feel like I could have done better, but this is my best race, I set a new PR (personal record),” Gualandri said. “It feels good. I was going four top four – really I was going for the gold, but there are some great athletes here.”
While Gualandri had the day's best finish, Bureau Valley's Logan Hoffert took in the day's biggest haul with three state medals. In open events, the Storm senior placed eighth in the triple jump, and ninth in the 300 hurdles.
The BV Senior also ran the opening the opening leg on the Storm's 1,600 relay, teaming up with Ryan Taylor, Tucker Schoff and Daniel Trone to give Bureau Valley it's first-ever boys relay state medal with an eighth-place finish at 3:28.14.
“I just feel blessed to be able to come home with three state medals,” Hoffert said. “I credit everything to my coaches, coach (Nick) Hartz, (Dale) Donner, Danny DeVenney, Danny Gustafson. ... I wouldn't be standing here without my coaches.”
Marquette senior Luke Hill put the finishing touches on his stellar distance career, setting a new school record with a time of 9:31.5 in the 3,200, good for a fifth-place finish.
Ottawa Township senior Austin Burant also capped off his prep career with a fifth-place state finish after managing a top long jump of 21-7 3/4
Other area athletes saw their seasons fall short of a trip to the medal podium.
La Salle-Peru's Clay Vaini participated in Saturday's long-jump finals but did not better his top preliminary jump of 20-7 ¼ and finished 11th overall.
Princeton's Austen Stewart cleared 6-2 in the high jump, but missed all three attempts at 6-4 and finished tied for 12th.
In the 3,200, Henry-Midland junior Alex Pettis placed 24th at 10:00.6, while Hall junior Al Baldanado was 28th at 10:05.6.
Check out Tuesday's NewsTribune Print edition for a full story and photos from Charleston.