News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

May 30, 2014

Distance crew paces South boys to third at regional; North's Davis wins 1,600 in meet-record time

South's Riley Stohler wins 800, Bertoli 3,200

EVANSVILLE — The longest races were the best ones for Vigo County athletes Thursday night at the Evansville Regional for boys high school track and field.

Terre Haute runners won the 800 (South's Riley Stohler), the 1,600 (North's Peter Davis, in meet-record time) and the 3,200 (South's Jackson Bertoli, challenged at the end by teammate Spencer Danielson) as the Braves finished third as a team and the Patriots sixth.

Evansville Harrison won the championship, finally overtaking surprising Tell City. Northview was 19th, Clay City 24th (thanks to discus thrower Josh Miller) and West Vigo 25th, while Sullivan, Riverton Parke, South Putnam, Cloverdale and North Central all scored and South Vermillion and Greencastle had competitors involved.

Also advancing to the state finals with top-three finishes are Miller, second in discus; Danielson, second in the 3,200; North's A.J. Smith, third in the 200; South's Junior Berry, third in shot put; and North's 4x100 and 4x800 relay teams.

The heartbreaks — and quite a bit of controversy — came with three fourth-place finishers.

South's Jordon Montgomery was an inch behind his teammate Berry in shot put, but that wasn't controversial.

The issues arose with Northview's Ian Heffner, fourth by 0.02 of a second in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles despite the fact that the third-place finisher had knocked a hurdle into his path and caused him to break stride momentarily, and with South's 4x400 relay team on the last event of the meet.

Levi Elrod, running the anchor leg, was in a battle for third place with the anchor from Castle, who seemed to clearly step in front of Elrod with about 35 meters to go, knocking Elrod nearly off the track and causing him to stumble and give up fourth place too.

Coaches Mark Raetz of Northview and Kyle Walsh of South both lodged inquiries, neither successful. At one point, the South 4x400 team was on the verge of being disqualified for running off the track, regardless of the impetus from the Castle runner.

But there was good news too, particularly from Davis and, to a lesser extent, Stohler.

Davis wasn't the fastest-seeded runner in his event, but took the lead on the third of four laps and held on doggedly.

"Best running day of my life," Davis said with a huge smile, and that was before he learned he'd set a meet record in the event. "My expectation was that I would have to work really hard to get in the top three, and I did that. A little bit of luck, a little bit of heart, and it turned out in my favor."

Stohler also wasn't the top-seeded runner in the 800, but there was a reason for that.

"In the sectional I ran the 4x800," he explained after winning. "Here I ran the 800 fresh. ... I won [the regional 800] last year, so I knew I had the most experience out of the group."

Bertoli also had the experience factor in his favor, but even at that there were a lot of athletes and spectators at the meet amazed by the way he started the 3,200.

By the end of the first lap he'd opened a 50-meter lead, one that he held for about six laps. By the last two laps he was being pursued, but at the end it was only Danielson who came close.

All part of training, the oft-injured state cross country champion explained afterward.

"My workouts had been going really well, but then I had an Achilles [tendon] flareup, just like in cross country season, and I took two days off."

Establishing a good starting pace was something Bertoli wanted to work on in preparation for the state finals.

"I worked on getting out really hard," he said, "and I ran a 4:32 [first lap, the fastest one he'd run in the event by five seconds].

"I haven't had a really hard effort like that since cross country," he added, "and I'll benefit from that [at the state finals]."

"I was just thinking about going out and [setting a personal record]," Danielson said, "and it was good; I did what I came here to accomplish.”

Danielson added that he wasn't fooled by the ground he was making up against Bertoli late in the race. "I knew he was going to take it out hard," he said.

 

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High School
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