LEXINGTON — The results from Division II track regionals are in, and Bellevue’s track and field teams are heading to state on Friday, June 3. The Lady Red and Redmen will send athletes to compete in the girl’s 4×800-meter relay team, the boy’s 200M dash and the 4×100-meter relay team.
During the two-day regional competition at Lexington, the weather was nearly unbearable. While spectators sought relief under the shade of the bleachers or umbrellas, some of the best athletes in the region endured the broiling heat of the open track for a chance to head to state.
And endure they did.
Although not all of Bellevue’s athletes made it out of the finals, the school still advanced in three events. The Lady Red 4x800M relay team of Liz Ish, Jamie Vogel, Taylor Waldecker and Lauren Turner took fourth in the finals — posting a time of 9:45 to advance. The Redmen’s 4x100M team of Alex Rogers, Seth Linder, Mike Pierce and Dakota McPeak also took fourth with a time of 43.48 to advance — the top four teams/individuals qualified for this weekend’s state tournament.
McPeak also took fourth in the 200-meter dash with an official time of 21.94 seconds — breaking the 22.08 second school record he set two days. McPeak first broke the BHS 200M school record during the district competition, then again during regional semi-finals before setting yet another new record in the finals.
With his team headed to state and another school record shattered, Redmen Head Coach Nick Lilli couldn’t help but smile as McPeak stepped off the podium.
“I’ve been a part of the track program for the last 28 years, and to have a kid break the school record in that event three times, four times in the last two weeks,” said Lilli. “The times have been phenomenal for Dakota.”
The Redmen coach was excited to see McPeak advance, as well as Linder, Rogers and Pierce in the 4×100.
“The kids have really worked hard,” he added. “I’ve been around long enough to know that the relays are the ones that are nightmares. You have to be able to pass things around. That’s all about trusting the guys that you run with, having the patience to do that, and having four guys put their heart into it.”
As for the team, they just have one goal in mind now — getting on the state podium.
“We had some mishaps throughout the year,” Linder added, going on to say that the team had worked on their hand-offs before Saturday — smoothing out any rough spots that might have kept them from advancing. During the race, the team didn’t focus on past mishaps or breaking records.
“We were just worried about making it on. We weren’t worried about any times,” said Linder.
“(Just) run straight, turn left,” added Rogers.
Assistant coach Myles Majoy also had nothing but good things to say about the team’s performance on Saturday, exclaiming that they had the “cleanest hand-offs all year. Saved our best for last.”
This is the second year in a row the Redmen have sent their 4x100M relay team to the state track meet. Last year, the team made it onto the podium, taking sixth place with a time of 42.18 seconds.
Bellevue also saw athletes compete in three other events on Saturday, with two making it to the podium — but not advancing to state. Turner ran the 800M and placed fifth with a time of 2:18, just missing the cut off. Liz Ish ran the 1600M and placed eighth with a time of 5:31. Waldecker competed in the 3200M and took ninth with a time of 12:17.
Ivy Keller can be reached at 419-483-4190 ext. 1967. Follow us on Twitter @BellevueGazette.