BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
WEST BURLINGTON – A depleted Bloodhound track team captured 3rd place at the Falcon Relays Monday night.
Co-Head Coach Mike Schneider said the squad was without eight or nine runners due to illness and injury.
Holy Trinity Catholic juniors Quentin Schneider and Matt Hellige continue to pace the Bloodhounds, each garnering first place finishes at the meet.
Hellige, who runs the mile, two mile, and long legs of medley relays, has been showing a lot of late race speed this year. Hellige took first in the 1600 and 3200 Monday night.
Hellige took the 1600 at 4:48.32 a full 12 seconds ahead of Burlington sophomore Coner Stringer. Mt. Pleasant’s Cody Mertens, a perennial state distance runner in track and cross country, is coming off an injury and was seeing his first action this year. He placed third at 5:00.62.
Hellige also took first in the 3200 A division with a 10:20.85, five seconds ahead of Mertens.
“Matt does quite a bit of speed work in practice and that’s paying off and he’s finishing stronger. He’s got more foot speed this year,” Schneider said.
Quentin Schneider took first place in the 400 hurdles at 1:00.91 and also had a 3rd place finish in the open 400 at 53.95.
Mike Schneider, Quentin’s father, said the junior has the foot speed to break a minute in the 400 hurdles, but they’re still fine-tuning his techniques.
“That’s a tough race. He seems to like it and he’s getting better,” the older Schneider said. “He’s got the speed for it, we just need to work on the hurdling technique. I was more impressed with his 400 open. the two that beat him qualified for state last year.”
Mt. Pleasant’s Ryan Seberg won the 400 with a time of 52.87, followed by Washington’s Ethan Hunt at 53.47.
Junior Mathew Meierotto also captured a 3rd-place finish for the Hounds with a 2:19.25 in the 800-meter run. Meierotto was just .6 seconds off Keokuk’s Eddie Lee. Mt. Pleasant’s Brody Bender won the event going away with 2:07.86, setting a new meet record.
Schneider said Meierotto’s performance was the biggest surprise of the meet.
“That was PR for him and this is only our second year with Matt,” Schneider said. “He’s really improving and is running way better than he ran all of last year. He was so excited with that run.”
Sheymouhr Redd-Donald took 3rd place in the high hump with a leap of 5′-6″. Schneider said the senior tweaked his Achilles on Monday but hopes it’s not a lingering issue.
Other third place finishes came in relays with the 4×400 team of Brock Califf, Meierotto, Andrew Schaefer, and Schneider with a time of 3:48.05. The distance medley team of Gavin Wiseman, Jacob McGowan, Schaefer, and Hellige also took third place with a time of 4:02.02.
Other top finishers for the Hounds included the 4×200-meter relay team of Califf, Wiseman, Schaefer, and Romeo Maestro with a time of 1:42.61 and the shuttle hurdle relay team of Isaiah Miller, Macaden Rhoer, McGowan, and Meierotto at 1:14.92.
Scoring points in fifth place were Rhoer in the 800 at 2:28.76, Hayden Wolfe in the 3200 at 11:36.66, Jayden Fedler in the shotput at 38′-11″, Redd-Donald in the long jump at 18′-2.5″, and the 4×100 relay team of Calem Maclearn, Joey Dodson, Dom Frantz, and Trey Kuntz.
Co-Head Coach Chad Hannum said the team performed well despite the missing personnel.
“We placed third in our division and we were without eight guys due to being sick,” he said. “So we’re pretty happy with how we did as a team.”
Hannum said five different runners set personal bests.
“They have been running well and improving every day,” he said. “I challenged Meierotto to break the 2:20 mark (800) and Rhoer to break the 2:30 mark (800).”
Wolfe took 6th in the 1,600-meter run at 5:31.03 and the 800-medley relay team of Kuntz, Maestro, Bryce Britton, and Wiseman rounded out the team scoring with a 1:53.24 mark.
The Hounds finished in third place with 81 points in the A division behind Mt. Pleasant and Washington. Mt. Pleasant won the meet outright with 198 points. Washington had 106. The Bloodhounds took 7th place overall.
The Bloodhounds join the girls squad in a co-ed meet Thursday at Mt. Pleasant.