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Boys track & field: Forreston-Polo wins Byron Relays for second year in a row

Cardinals flying high again

BYRON – If the results of the Byron Relays mean anything, Forreston-Polo’s track team may be on its way to another state trophy. F-P repeated as team champ with a 157 to 102 win over second-place Lena-Winslow on Thursday. The Cardinals won 12 of the 18 events, and also had a few marks that would have placed at the 1A state meet last year.

“That’s the plan again - to get a trophy,” said Brady Webb, who nearly hit 23 feet in the long jump.

Webb settled for 22-4, which would have gotten him third downstate last year. In the relay-scored event, Evan Kelsey added a 19-6 and Ethan Phillips 18-11 for 61 feet and first.

“Our long jumpers did really well,” F-P coach Bob Wagner said. “If Brady hits the board right, he’ll be at 23.”

Phillips (40-1), Reid Taylor (40-1) and Christian Groenewold (39-5) grabbed another win in the triple jump and Groenewold nearly went 6-2 in the high jump.

“He was over it by 2-3 inches, but clipped it,” Wagner said.

In the most exciting race on the track, and a battle between two NUIC football stars, it was Gavin Fuchs coming from behind to nip Rahveon Valentine of Lena-Winslow in the anchor leg of the 400-meter relay (44.07-44.11).

“I can’t believe it,” Wagner said. “But, Gavin is such a competitor. That’s a big win because of how good Le-Win is.”

Joining Fuchs were AJ Christensen, Cailean Davids and Webb. The clocking of 44.07 would have placed at the state meet also.

Le-Win, which had an all-star cast of football players running the 400, was able to avenge the loss with a 1:33.06 to 1:33.80 win in the 800 relays.

“Forreston-Polo is the team to beat this year. We have such respect for them,” L-W coach Austin Rickels said.

In the 800 relay, Valentine
held off Fuchs, as F-P
was hampered by bad exchanges.

“Horrible handoffs,” F-P’s Sam Barkalow could be heard saying as his teammates muffed a couple baton passes.

All Wagner could do is nod his head and agree.

“It’s still early in the season,” Wagner said. “That can be fixed. The key for us right now is staying injury free. It’s nice to come into a meet like this healthy.”

After leading his team of Hunter Daws and Bennett Soltow to an easy win in the high-hurdle shuttle (49.37), Christensen ran a 39.07 in the 300 intermediate hurdles. That is one of the top times in the state this year and would have been good for second downstate in 2017, which is where Christensen finished.

“I didn’t hold anything back. I went all out,” Christensen said.

Jace Coffey threw 131 feet in the discus to lead F-P to another field-event first. It was only his second meet after being out with an ankle injury.

F-P put an exclamation mark on the meet with a win in the 1,600 relay, with Christensen, Webb, Kelsey and Fuchs running 3:34.

“It was an amazing night,” Wagner said.

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