In a preview of the 1A sectional, it was Forreston-Polo coming out ahead of Rockford Christian at the 42nd Annual Art Carlson Hawk Classic on April 27.
Winning its second Hawk Classic since 2016, F-P had 137 points to 108.5 for RC.
Next were Woodstock North (64), Sterling Newman (58), Erie-Prophetstown (57) and Lena-Winslow (53).
“All I can say is we continue to run well,” F-P coach Bob Wagner said. “With the weather to contend with, I’m happy with how we did.’
With a severe temperature drop and a northerly wind blowing in prior to the 100 meters, meet records were hard to come by, but Riley Wells of RC and Ian Hussung of Oregon made sure at least one was broken.
In a highly anticipated 800-meter race, it was Hussung taking the lead for all but the final 100 meters. Wells, who is noted for his finishing kick, put it into high gear against the wind on the home stretch and pulled away from Hussung for a 1:55.19 to 1:56.79 win.
Both runners broke a 29-year record of 1:57.34, but only Wells, the meet MVP, will get credit for it. The next closest runner was eight seconds back.
“With the wind, I wasn’t planning on going out hard,” said Wells, the 1A state champ as a sophomore. “My coach told me to win with the slowest possible time, but that went out the window when Ian ran a 27-second split for 200 meters.”
Knowing Wells had an advantage with his kick, Hussung deliberately went out fast in hopes of holding his opponent at bay the final portion of the race.
“I had to get the lead,” Hussung said. “The wind skewed my strategy a bit, but I’m happy with my time.”
For Forreston-Polo, AJ Christensen won both hurdles (15.23, 40.03), Brady Webb the long jump (21-8), Christian Groenewold the high jump (6-2) and Jace Coffey the discus (137-5).
“Webb only took two jumps and Groenewold nearly made 6-4,” F-P coach Bob Wagner said. “AJ did his usual thing. In the discus, Jace really came through in a close one (top six placers within 10 feet).”
Groenewold and Eric Robinson of E-P tied at 6-2, but Groenewold won on fewer misses for a personal best.
Additionally, the F-P 800-relay of Evan Kelsey, Reid Taylor, Cailean Davids and Gavin Fuchs won with a time of 1:35.07, just ahead of the 1:37.65 by RC. The Royal Lions did beat F-P in the 1,600 relay, 3:29.17-3:31.38.
“Forreston-Polo is going to be tough to beat, both at the sectional and downstate,” said RC coach Randy Moore, whose team won the Hawk Classic last year. “We like to think we’re going to be right there too.”
Webb, Christensen, Fuchs and Kelsey ran on the 1,600 and Davids, Webb, Christensen and Fuchs ran the second-place 400 relay.
“Relays are going to be key for us downstate if we want another state trophy,” said Webb, a runner-up in the 100 to Rahveon Valentine of Lena-Winslow.
F-P got a multitude of other places on both the track and field events.
Taylor took second in the triple jump with a leap of 40-5 and third in the high jump at 5-8. Garett Badertscher was fourth (45-6) and Sam Barkalow sixth (44-5) in the shot put to winner Isaiah Bruce of Le-Win, who was the only thrower to top 50 feet.
Dom Christensen cleared a PR of 9-6 to take sixth in the pole vault. Kyle Kruthoff, who has a best of 14-9, won the event at 14-0, but wasn’t able to contend for a meet record (14-9) because of the wind.
Davids (24.19( and Skylar Regez (24.25) went 3-4 in the 200 meters running against the brutal head wind. Hunter Daws was fourth (16.28) in the high hurdles, Dan Hanson fifth in the 3,200 run and Kelsey sixth in the 100.