By Christopher Johnson

Within a few weeks the State of Illinois will begin crowing Track and Field Champions and the Pecatonica-Durand Rivermen are running strong, ahead of Class 1A Sectional placement in Winnebago.

This past weekend the Rivermen joined up with teams from Dakota, Milledgeville and Lena-Winslow and came out on top during a quadrangular meet at home, slipping past the Panthers at the post thanks to strong individual efforts from hometown standouts.

Pecatonica-Durand was untouchable in the pole vault as Seth Bolen got the gold with a height of 2.59 meters, which was a personal record.

Senior Jeff Mclean and freshmen Andrew Wilsey helped sweep the competition with heights of 1.98 meters and 1.97 meters, respectively.

In the triple jump, Pecatonica picked up the points thanks to a one-two finish, courtesy of distances of 11.62 meters by sophomore Max Milbrath and classmate Francisco Suarez, who ended with a run of 9.80 meters.

One of the individual highlights of the Quad Meet was in the long jump where Rivermen racer Marcos Perez powered past the field, finishing his round in the sand pit with a long jump distance of 5.43 meters.

That result easily put him in gold standard status, with his result of nearly a quarter meter better than second place finishing Tyler Kauffman of Dakota.

Freshman Dylan Smith cleared the bar in the 300 meter hurdle with a nearly one second finishing win over Casey Klever of Lena-Winslow. His time of 46.46 earned him top honors.

Strength of character was on display in Pecatonica at the quad meet as force of nature Grant Milbrath powered the twelve-point shot put to a distance of just shy of 16 meters.

The senior’s best was a winner that ended two and a half meters farther than second place finishing Gage Dukner of Lena-Winslow.

Milbrath also ran the table in the discuss with a distance of 46.66 meters, 13.19 meters farther than silver-medalist Tanner Kempel of Lena-Winslow, who finished with a distance of 33.47 meters.

Milbrath household familiar Max claimed gold in his second event as well. The sophomore cleared the bar in the high jump at 1.72 meters, one half meter higher than Wes Reifschneider of Dakota.

Rivermen senior Bradyn Windnagle helped secure the first place finish thanks to his hard-earned second place showing in the 1600 meter. Windnagle finished less than one-half second behind Aiden Ruiz of Dakota who closed down the stretch with a time of 4:54:11.

Rivermen runners also combined for a second place finish in the 4×200 relay. The team of Perez, William McGregory, Jaylen Noud and Nathan Folk got the silver ahead of bronze finished Lena-Winslow, which was four full seconds behind.

The team of Evan Folk, Dylan Smith, Danny White and Trenton Meinert claimed second place in the 4 x 800 relay during the area get-together. Milledgeville won the gold with a time of 9:43:23, 24 seconds faster than the Rivermen’s runner-up close.

With only a couple weeks of regular season play to go, the Rivermen runners will get a few more chances to refine what needs to be ahead of their destination of Winnebago during the second week of May games.

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