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Hornets Qualify For State

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The Nashville Hornets track team, hosted their final home meet of the year, as they hosted the Class 1A Sectional on May 19. The Hornets were able to have six athletes advance out of the event, to the Class 1A State Track Prelims which will be held on May 26 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

Advancing for the Hornets was Gavyn Lietz in the pole vault, the team of Brandon Schnitker, Jackson Pierce, Caleb Zgonina, and Ryan Kell in the 4X800m relay, Schnitker in the 1600m run, Derryn Holmes in the 400m dash, and the 4X400m relay team of Schnitker, Pierce, Kell, and Holmes.

Overall the Hornets finished in fourth place in the sectional, behind Wesclin, Althoff, and sectional champion Pinckneyville. It was the first sectional championship for the Panthers.

The Hornets again dominated the 4X800m relay at the meet, as they advanced easily. The Hornets finished with a time of 8:22.29, which was 25 seconds faster than second place Pinckneyville, who came across the line in a time of 8:47.54. The team of Kell, Schnitker, Pierce, and Zgonina finished with the fourth best time in Class 2A going into the state meet on Thursday. The 4X800 team missed their best time of the season by almost seven seconds, as they set the school record at the conference meet with a time of 8.15.49. It is the fourth consecutive year, that the Hornets 4X800 team has advanced to state, and both Pierce and Kell have been a part of each of those teams.

It is also the fourth straight year that the Hornets will send a pole vaulter to the state track meet. Lietz advanced as he cleared a height of 11-00, which was good for second place. The starting height for pole vault at the state track meet is 11-6, a height which Lietz has cleared this season.

Schnitker advanced to state for the second straight year in the 1600m run, along with Okawville senior Jacob Schwankhaus. A flip-flop from last year, this year, Schnitker crossed the line ahead of Schwankhaus. Schnitker finished in a time of 4:36.68, while Schwankhaus finished in a time of 4:41.50. Schnitker's time puts him in the middle of the pack, for the State Meet.

The Hornets will also send someone to state in the 400m dash for the third straight year, as Holmes crossed the line in 53.62 seconds to finish in second place at sectionals. The last two years, Pierce qualified in the 400, but did not run in this year's race. Holmes' time places him near the bottom of the state qualifiers.

The last event that the Hornets qualified in was the 4X400m relay. After not qualifying last season, the Hornets 4X400 team is back in the Class 1A State Track Meet prelims as they crossed the line in 3:31.27 seconds, which was eight seconds in front of second place Lebanon. The time recorded by Kell, Pierce, Schnitker, and Holmes is 14th among state qualifiers, but state qualifying times are close as the top time, and the sixteenth ranked time are separated by just over five seconds, with 11 teams running within three seconds of each other.

Jackson Pierce sprints down the final stretch during the Hornets 4X800 relay. The Hornets finished 25 seconds ahead of second place.