Grafton boys hold their own in 1,600, 3,200 races among international elite
Setting foot on a big stage did little to intimidate five members of the Grafton boys’ track and field team last weekend.
Instead, the Black Hawks embraced their opportunity and posted season-best times in a pair of races at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.
Competing against elite high school runners from throughout North America and the Caribbean, Grafton got solid efforts from the 1,600-meter relay of Matt Salm, Sam Miller, Patrick Tobianski and Erick Huertas and the 3,200 relay of Salm, Tobianski, Alec Weinhold and Huertas.
The 1,600 relay raced to second place in an 11-team heat in 3 minutes, 23.21 seconds. A team from Amherst, Mass., was first in 3:23.14.
In the 3,200 race, the Hawks’ 8:01.32 clocking was good for fifth in a 17-team heat. The winning time by a Blacksburg, Va., team was 7:49.89.
Huertas ran the fastest legs for Grafton, anchoring the 1,600 team in 49.06 and the 3,200 team in 1:55.65.
Although neither team was fast enough to advance, the boys received medals commemorating their participation in America’s oldest and largest track and field meet.
In the overall standings, Grafton placed 41st out of 525 teams in the 1,600 and 31st among 71 teams in the 3,200.
“It was a great trip, well worth it,” said Grafton coach Kevin Kriegel, who accompanied the runners along with sprints coach Mike Maney.
“The guys ran really well. It was something they will always remember.”
Last weekend marked the first time since 2005 that the Hawks participated in the Penn Relays, which are held at Franklin Field. Grafton was the only Wisconsin high school with athletes in this year’s meet.
In addition to having to achieve qualifying times, athletes are responsible for their own transportation, lodging, meals and other expenses on the four-day, three-night venture.
Hawks among leaders in outdoor opener
The Grafton boys’ and girls’ teams opened their outdoor schedules with solid performances at the Slinger Invitational on April 22.
The boys had eight first-place finishes and topped a four-team field with 96 points.