Rain has dampened the start of the high school track season just as it has some of the other spring sports, but there have still been a couple of opportunities to run.
The Waterloo High School boys track team is off to a strong start in spite of inclement weather, competing at Columbia and Jerseyville.
The team, coached by Larry Huffman, has received quality efforts from its distance runners, led by Lance Mueller and Cole Rodenberg. The two juniors have won races at 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
In a personal event, Rodenberg placed seventh in the mile with a time of 4:32 during Illinois Prep Top Times at Illinois Wesleyan on March 29.
The strength of this group lies in the great early performances also of Weston Liefer, Will Zeisset, Jake Schwarz, Dustin Schreiber and Joe Daab.
The middle distance and sprint group has been led early on by freshman Noah Hays and senior Nolan Mannino.
Sophomore Greysan Moehrs continues to be one of the top young hurdlers in the metro east.
In the field events, Joe Kirleis and Zach George have placed well in the opening meets.
The boys competed Tuesday in the Highland Invitational.
The WHS girls track team has also shown flashes of success early on, according to coach Barb Borger.
On March 26, the girls won a four-team meet in Columbia, defeating Freeburg by four points with Columbia and New Athens also competing.
“It was the first time in many years that we beat Freeburg,” Borger said.
Hannah Finnerty won the 100 meter hurdles and long jump, with Jenna Bivens winning the 100 and 200 meter races. Malone Wall won the 300 meter hurdles, and Jessi Elder won the 800 meter race and triple-jump.
Whitney Liefer added to the team’s win with a victory in the 1,000 meter race; freshman Makayla Duncan (sister of former WHS state discuss thrower Brendan Duncan) won the discus and Genna Bougeois won the high jump.
April 1 at Jerseyville, the WHS girls lost to the host team by just four points.
Borger was proud of her team despite the loss, as there were 31 season bests and seven
personal records set.
“For the second meet of the season, that’s promising,” she said. “It shows what kind of work ethic they have at practice.”
The girls will compete in the 12-team Triad Invitational on Friday, which will feature large schools such as Naperville Central and Belleville West.
Columbia has had a very slow start to the season, likely due to the weather. Their first three meets were cold, windy and/or rainy.
The exception to that was Grant Snow breaking a 36-year-old shot put record with a throw of 50 feet, 5.5 inches.
Ethan Snow has also been jumping well in the long, triple and high jump events.
At Greenville on Saturday, they had some good weather and there was some real improvement in their times.
The 4×400 team took first among 16 teams. Sean McCarty ran a great time of 2:01.09 in winning the 800 meter. Josh Thompson is also running very well in the 800 meter with times at 2:04 and some 4×400 splits around a 2:02, according to head coach Ernie Kopp.
The 4×800 team keeps improving, Kopp said, and “will be very good” when everyone is in shape for it.
Sam Berghoefer has shown “some great speed” in the 100, 200 and 400 events, finding first place in a couple of our meets and also on the 4×400 team.
“We looked good enough Saturday that I am really starting to get excited about what this team can do,” Kopp said.
Gibault has run in two events, the Dupo Invitational on March 19 and Freeburg Invitational on April 1. At Dupo, the girls team finished second out of seven teams.
Victoria Younge won the triple jump and 100 meter hurdles, and the 4×200 meter relay team of Younge, Brittany Laurent, Missy Kimlinger and Katie Gyore placed first.
Younge won the 100 meter hurdles again for the Hawks at Freeburg.
“Freeburg was a miserable day. It was cold, raining and windy. But we still had some good performances,” coach Brian Hart said. “Overall, we are more competitive than we anticipated coming into the season.”
Dupo has attended the SIUC Indoor and Charleston Indoor at Eastern Illinois.
“I thought our early season performances were promising as some kids were hitting last season personal bests,”coach Kevin Acra said. “We are a little deeper than we were last year and our distance runners are better and much improved.”
Dupo has a very young squad. Their throwers have had some very good meets so far on the season.
The boys team took second at their own meet on March 19, missing first by three points. The girls team took first.
“We have had a few early season injuries but are starting to get some of them back now,” Acra said. “Times have been good so far, but I definitely expect improvements. Once we get through Easter Break, our schedule will start including more invitationals and that is where we show where this young team stands.”