FULTON – Fulton thrower Austin Regenwether had a few extra eyes watching him Tuesday during the 68th annual Fulton Relays.
For the first time this season, Regenwether’s family was able to watch him compete, and he saved his best for them. Regenwether won the discus event with a personal-best throw of 117 feet, 3 inches.
His throw helped propel the Steamers to their first win at the invite since 1997, when Regenwether was just a 1-year-old. Fulton scored 81 points and performed well enough near the end of the invite to hold off second-place finisher, defending champion Erie-Prophetstown (71).
Newman Central Catholic (64) finished third, while Amboy (45) took sixth. Morrison (12) was ninth, West Carroll (11) was 10th, and Milledgeville (7) was 11th in the 11-team field.
“It feels really great,” Fulton coach Mike Ankrom said of the win. “Austin has been a great leader for our throwers, and for him to win the discus was huge for us.
“We also have some depth in the sprints, and all the kids are working hard and have had good attitudes.”
Regenwether had been living with his grandmother for 4 months, after his mother and brother moved to Arizona for work. But to his delight, they returned Tuesday in time to see him.
“Them being there might have been the reason, for all of this, tonight,” Regenwether said. “It’s always nice to have family members watch you.”
Fulton’s Bryce Holesinger also helped out in the field portion, placing second in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet, 3 inches, just 6 inches behind Newman’s Brady Rude.
Holesinger also anchored two relays, including the first-place 800 relay, and acted as a cheerleader for his teammates when he wasn’t running.
“We’ve been doing a great job this year,” Holesinger said. “It means a lot to the seniors, and it means a lot to Fulton.
“We have the talent and the kids who want to work for something greater.”
Rude was key for Newman, and was the talk of the meet when he started off a dominant distance medley relay. The sophomore, starting from a standing position due to the different distances, jumped out to an early lead and quickly cut inside to take a lead he wouldn’t give up, and his relay mates held on for the wire-to-wire win by nearly 14 seconds.
“I didn’t really want to get caught in a crowd,” Rude said. “I also didn’t want to cut anyone off.”
Elsewhere, Erie-Prophetstown first-year coach Jon Schlagheck wasn’t nearly as excited about his team’s second-place finish as he was about the development of some runners.
“Just the mental aspect of how strong we can be,” he said. “We always ask, ‘Did we get better today?’ and today, we know we did.”
Top 3 teams
1. Fulton 82; 2. Erie-Prophetstown 71; 3. Newman 64
Stars of the meet: Bryce Holesinger, Fulton & Brady Rude, Newman, 2 wins each