ROCHELLE — It was a historic evening at Rochelle Township High School on Tuesday, as both the Hubs and the Lady Hubs track and field teams brought home first place in the 44th Annual Ogle County Meet, with the girls team scoring 151 points and the boys team totaling 123 points.
Rochelle also honored its Hub seniors prior to the start of the 400-meter relay, with all the boys and their families taking center stage for pictures and recognition.
The Lady Hubs kicked off the evening with a victory in the 3200-meter relay, running a time of 11:02.84 behind freshman Emma Smith, sophomores Cam Turner, Anne Hickey and junior Morgan Baker. Rochelle then won the 400-meter relay, with freshman Macey Ryan joining forces with juniors Morgan Knight, Cesca Vardman and Jacie Wyatt to nail down the victory with a time of 52.47.
Sophomore Katherine Bakken paced the Lady Hubs in open distances races, placing second in both the 3200-meter run (12:50.12) and the 1600-meter run (5:58.88) to score 12 points for her team. Hickey finished fourth in the 1600-meter run (6:20.85), while freshman Britney Baez took fifth in the 3200-meter run (14:08.20).
Rochelle scored three points in the 100-meter hurdles thanks to sophomores Makenna Ferrari and Cheyene Watson, who finished fourth and fifth with respective times of 18.65 and 18.66. Sophomore Abby Tilton took third in the 300-meter hurdles, staying focused despite a false start by another competitor and an issue with the starting gun and clocking in at 55.04.
Wyatt and Vardman dominated the open sprints on Tuesday, earning the top two spots in both the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. Wyatt won both races with respective times of 12.96 and 26.97, while Vardman landed in second twice with times of 13.32 and 27.50.
Knight and Turner took two of the top three places in the 400-meter dash, with Knight running a 1:05.74 to win the race and Turner clocking in at 1:08.27 for third place. Baker and Smith combined to add 10 points to Rochelle’s score with both a second-place (Baker at 2:36.85) finish and a third-place (Smith at 2:39.69) finish in the 800-meter run.
The Lady Hubs continued their strong showing in the relay events with a victory in the 800-meter relay behind Ryan, Vardman, freshman Katie Van Hise and sophomore Grace Garcia, who teamed up to clock in at 1:56.78. In the final race of the day, Rochelle took the 1600-meter relay, with Tilton, Van Hise, Turner and Smith running a time of 4:33.48 to win the event.
In the field events, junior Alexis Bialas cleared 6-6 in the pole vault to place second, while Knight leapt 30-2 ¾ in the triple jump for fourth place and Baker landed at 13-11 ¾ to win the long jump, with Van Hise finishing third at 13-3. Junior Alexis Crawford won the high jump with a clearance of 4-6, and Smith cleared 4-2 to land in second place.
Freshman Cristina Alfano’s heave of 32 feet in the shot put earned her second place overall, while freshman teammate Gabby Harding took sixth with a heave of 29-1 and third in the discus throw with a toss of 89-11. Junior Allysa Harding threw the discus a length of 85-6 for fourth place in the event.
Senior Michael Drendel remained dominant in the field events on Tuesday, winning the pole vault with a clearance of 12-6 and placing third in the triple jump with a leap of 38-4 ½. Senior Andrew Myers won another high jump contest, clearing 6 feet to finish first and beat out senior teammate Matthew Drendel, who placed second at 5-10.
Junior Frantz Vardman’s mark of 18-11 ½ in the long jump put him in third place, while senior Dylan Papke and junior Zach Miller each recorded top-3 finishes in the throwing events, with Papke placing second in the shot put (46-10 ½) and Miller landing in third (42-8).
The Hubs took fourth in both the 3200-meter relay and the 400-meter relay, but sophomore Jessee Infante and freshman Gyvanziel Quinonez picked up the slack in the distance races. Infante won the 3200-meter run with a time of 11:09.33, and Quinonez took second with a time of 11:18.78. Both runners earned top-4 spots in the 1600-meter run, with Quinonez (5:11.26) edging out Infante (5:11.52) for third place.
Fresh off a commitment to St. Ambrose University for track and field, senior Edwin Infante placed third in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 16.83. Senior Levi Johnson also nailed down a third-place performance, running a 43.75 in the 300-meter hurdles.
Matthew Drendel and senior Lance Huftalin were nearly inseparable during the meet, combining for six top-4 finishes and three event wins with Drendel bringing home victories in the 100-meter dash (11.39) and the 400-meter dash (52.71) while finishing second in the 200-meter dash (23.29). Huftalin brought home the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.26 while taking second in the 100-meter dash (11.50) and fourth in the 400-meter dash (57.50).
Rochelle capped off the evening with a second-best finish in the 1600-meter relay behind Johnson, junior Austin Tracey, sophomore Eddie Villalobos and Michael Drendel. The boys clocked in at 3:44.08, with Forreston taking the event at 3:36.86.