CHARLESTON – The third-place spot on the Class 1A medal podium saw some local flavor Saturday at the girls state track meet at O'Brien Stadium.
Oregon juniors Shannon Cullen and Cydney Long stood in the space, with Bureau Valley sophomore Lindsey Hoffert taking over for a bit in between. The trio led the six 1A finalists who weren't part of Erie-Prophetstown's runner-up state finish as a team.
Cullen was the first to occupy the stand, throwing 38 feet, 10 1/2 inches in the shot put. She was pleased with the third-place finish, and is now looking for more in 2014.
"Honestly, third was my goal coming into today," said Cullen, who was seeded fourth coming into the finals. "I wanted to move up at least one spot, and it was really fun and challenging to be pushed by these girls and be able to push them, too. It's a little pressure for next year, but it's also a lot of motivation to finish on top of that podium."
Classmate Long was also ecstatic after her third-place finish. She ran the 100 hurdles in 15.20 seconds, a new personal best.
She was actually aided by the false start of Seneca senior Aspen Stuedemann; it allowed for a better start than when the starting gun first fired.
"I was nervous, and I know she was too," Long said. "I knew it wasn't me who left early, but the first time I actually started with the wrong leg. When the gun fired again to stop it, it was a lot less stress on my shoulders."
Long, whose first goal was a top-five finish, then the top three, shared Cullen's views on the pressure vs. motivation argument for her senior season.
"I think it's a lot more motivation than pressure," she said. "I just hope my performance here will get the other girls in this event to notice me, and realize that I belong in the state finals field."
Class 1A state finals finishes
Shannon Cullen, Oregon jr., 3rd in shot put (38 feet, 10 1/2 inches)
Lindsey Hoffert, Bureau Valley so., 3rd in long jump (17-4 3/4)
Cydney Long, Oregon jr., 3rd in 100 hurdles (15.20 seconds)
Mykil Baker, Polo-Forreston sr., 7th in discus (115-4)
Kaylee Vos, West Carroll sr., 14th in high jump (5-0)
Regan Weidner, Bureau Valley so., 13th in 3,200 (11:59.51)