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Hornets Track Competes At State Championships

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Freshman Gavyn Lietz looks to clear the bar during the Class 1A State Final Prelims held at Eastern Illinois University on May 26. A picture of the medal winners can be found on Page B8

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Hornets Track

Competes At State

The Nashville Hornets track team headed back from the Class 1A State Track Meet with some hardware, as the 4X800 relay team earned sixth place in the finals of the IHSA Class 1A State Track Meet which began on Thursday May 26 at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. The Hornets qualified in five events out of Sectionals, featuring six different athletes. Qualifying out of Sectionals was, Gavyn Lietz in the pole vault, Derryn Holmes in the 400m dash, Brandon Schnitker in the 1600m run, the 4X800m relay team of Jackson Pierce, Caleb Zgonina, Ryan Kell, and Schnitker, and the 4X400m relay ream of Pierce, Holmes, Kell, and Schnitker.

The Class 1A State Track Meet began on Thursday May 26 with prelims. After a lengthy lightning delay of around an hour moved most of the field events indoors, the athletes were finally allowed on the track for the first running event of the day, the 4X800m relay. The Hornets were placed in the third heat, with Rockford Lutheran who came in with the fastest time in Class 1A. Although Nashville was unable to win their heat, the team of Pierce, Zgonina, Kell, and Schnitker finished in a time of 8:18.39, which was the seventh fastest time in prelims, locking them into the final.

The next event for Nashville in the prelims was the 400m dash, run by Holmes. Holmes finished in a time of 55.05, which was not fast enough to qualify for finals. Out of the nine qualifiers for finals, eight ran times under fifty seconds, including Pinckneyville's Caleb Logan who finished in a time of 49.84.

The next running event for Nashville was Schnitker in the 1600m run. It was the second straight year that Schnitker advanced in the mile, and his second event of the day. Schnitker was placed in the same heat as top overall qualifier Jon Davis. Schnitker finished in 4:41.42, which was not fast enough to qualify for the final. In the other heat, Okawville's Jacob Schwankhaus finished in 4:38.97 which was also not fast enough to qualify. The slowest qualifying time was 4:29.38.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Nashville Hornets had a pole vaulter advance to the state meet. This year it was freshman Lietz. Lietz was placed in the third flight of prelims, with a starting height of 11-6. Lietz was able to clear the starting height, but was not able to advance to finals.

The final event of prelims was the 4X400m relay. The Hornets team of Pierce, Holmes, Schnitker, and Kell won the event at sectionals, but their tiem placed them in the middle of the pack at prelims. During the prelims, the Hornets team would be disqualified due to a lane violation, but even without the disqualification, the Hornets' time would not have been fast enough to advance to finals.

After Thursday's prelims, the Hornets had only one chance to bring home hardware. The 4X800 relay team of Pierce, Zgonina, Kell, and Schnitker was the only event in which the Hornets advanced. The Hornets faced stiff competition as five of the six teams head of them after prelims, ran times that would've broken the school record, which was set earlier this season. In the final, the Hornets were able to shave almost three seconds off their time, and finish with a time of 8:15.72, which is the third fasted time in school history. The Hornets time was good for sixth place, three seconds behind fifth place Byron.

Ryan Kell runs the third leg of the 4X800m relay during the Class 1A State Final Prelims held on a wet track at Eastern Illinois University