Prep Sports | Illinois Valley

Track and field: Princeton girls keep Ferris Invite title at home

Rock Falls boys win fifth straight title

Princeton's Miyah Fox, Hall's Natalia Zamora, and Mendota's Abby Buettner compete in the 110 meter hurdles during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.

PRINCETON – After losing out on winning their Ferris Invitational last year, the Princeton girls track and field team made sure it kept the championship at home this year.

The Tigresses led throughout the meet and held off surging Kewanee at the end for a narrow 249-243 victory.

“We really wanted to win, and I think Coach (Pat) Hodge set up a good lineup for us to try and win. That’s just what we wanted to do,” said Princeton sophomore Camryn Driscoll, who took part in four wins for the Tigresses. “It’s really nice to get a win at home.”

It was the 17th time the Tigresses in the 34-year history they have hosted the meet.

“It was a super team victory. Everyone made an important contribution to the cause. Several girls were doing events they’ve never done before in order to help out,” PHS coach Pat Hodge said. “The way we score this meet makes no lead safe. We got up by 20 points with 4 events left and Kewanee cut it to 3 points in the very next event. Even during the last event, Kewanee was in a position to win the meet by one.”

Driscoll swept the sprints, winning the 100 meters with a PR of 13.16 seconds, the 200 in 26.99 and the 400 in 1:01.50.

“It was nice weather today, and I wanted to push hard and get a good workout. That’s what I did,” Driscoll said.

The speedy sophomore was also the leadoff runner in the 4x100 as the Tigresses edged Kewanee, running a 53.28 along with Georgie Fulton, Scarlett Fulton and Miyah Fox.

Princeton senior Morgan Foes came up big for the Princeton girls in her last Ferris Invite. She swept the weights with throws of 35.39 meters in the discus and 11.90 in the shot, earning Most Outstanding Female Athlete of the meet.

“I’m still working on improving. I have a lot of things to work out in practice, but I’d say today was a victory for me, and we’re making strides toward state, which is really the goal,” Foes said.

The day could have been even a little bit better, but Foes scratched on a toss in the shot which would have been a PR.

“That would have been a big one, but at least I know I can throw that,” she said.

Princeton's Morgan Foes throws shot during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.

Teammate Morgan Richards was right behind with a second in the discus and third in the shot.

Princeton senior Miyah Fox won the 100 hurdles with a time of 17.25 seconds.

The Tigresses’ Brinley Kloepping, Abby Harris, Georgie Fulton and Jadeyen Klingenberg won the 4x200 (2:02.46).

Princeton's Ashlynn Weber competes in the triple jump during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.

Ashlynn Weber placed second in the triple jump (10.21m) and third in the long jump (4.62m) for the Tigresses. Josie Sierens took third in pole vault (2.13m). Freshmen Payton Frueh (13:35.44) and Natalie Meyer (14:46.38) gave PHS second- and third-place finishes in the 3,200.

Mendota’s Mariyah Elm won the triple jump with a jump of 9.3 and the high jump at 1.52. She also took second in the 100 meters (13.27).

Rock Falls also got wins from Savannah Bufford in the pole vault (2.44), Hana Ford in the 800 (2:31.44) and Ariel Hernandez in the 1,600 (5:37.77).

The Rockets also won the 4x800 (10:23.50) and 4x400 (4:33.28) relays.

Hall’s best finishes came from Elizabeth Wujek, second in pole vault (2.28), Natalie Zamora, third in the 100 hurdles (18.40) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (55.75), and Laela Shevokas, fourth in the shot (9.29).

Rock Falls wins boys event

The boys meet saw Rock Falls win its fifth straight Ferris championship, topping Kewanee by 41 points, 283 1/2 to 242 1/2, with the host Tigers third at 162 1/2, Mendota fourth (150) and Hall fifth (102 1/2).

Adan Oquendo, the Most Outstanding Male Athlete of the meet, had a trifecta for the victorious Rockets, winning the triple jump (11.91), 100 (11.24) and 200 (22.70).

(From left) Hall's Joseph Bacidore, Rock Falls's Adan Oquendo, Hall's Caleb Bickett, Princeton's Evan Driscoll and Casey Etheridge compete in the 100 meter dash during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.

“I just try to get a PR really in my race,” he said. “I’m still coming. I’m still getting better and better. That’s the goal.”

Oquendo said he’s just doing his part in keeping up the Rockets’ tradition in Princeton’s invite.

“It’s pretty important (to win). It’s more important to me that everyone does good. It’s a better feeling to see everyone be happy how they’re performing than winning the meet,” he said.

Rock Falls coach Eric Bontz expected a good battle with Kewanee.

“I knew Kewanee was going to be tough to beat tonight. They always bring good kids. They’re a fantastic team, especially with the numbers they have. And we enjoy the little competition we have against them.

“It’s fun to see what our guys can do, and they responded real well tonight. Pretty happy with them.”

Princeton flexed its muscles in the weights with a pair of top-two finishes.

Princeton's Ian Morris throws discus during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.

Junior Ian Morris won the discus at 42.89 meters, with senior Payne Miller second at 42.05m.

Miller stepped up to No. 1 in the shot at 15.92 meters, with junior Cade Odell second at 14.99.

“I would still prefer to throw what I’m warming up. That’s what practice is for. We’ll keep building,” Miller said. “In discus, it’s just silly mistakes, little tweaks we’ve got to make. Once we do, hopefully it’ll come out a little better.

“I’m proud of our guys.”

Rock Falls’ Gavin Sands and Christian Hernandez both jumped 6.19 to share top honors in the long jump. Other Rock Falls winners were Kohle Bradley in the pole vault (3.50), Brady Root in the 800 (2:05.89), Jeffrey Sommer in the 1,600 (4:50.07) and Ian Finney in the 3,200 (11:04.31).

The Rockets also won the 4x800 with Seth Wade, Gabe Meyer, Jeffrey Sommer and Christian Cid turning in a 9:06.0; the 4x200 in 1:36.23 ran by Carson Devers, Easton Canales, Christian Hernandez and Gavin Sands; and the 4x400 (3:39.77) with Christian Hernandez, Sands, Stanton and Root.

Rock Falls's Gabe Moyer and Jeff Sommer run in the 4x800 relay during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.

Mendota gained its lone win in the 400, where Sebastian Carlos ran a 52.09.

Hall’s Caleb Bickett scored the Red Devils’ best finishes with runner-up efforts in the 100 (11.47) and 200 (22.70) behind Oquendo.

Princeton sophomore Augustus Swanson was second in the 1,600 (4:54.03) and third in the 3,200 (11:08.61), while senior Andrew Peacock placed second in the pole vault (3.50 meters).

Rock Falls's Gavin Sands hands teammate Easton Canales the baton in the 4x200 meter relay during the Ferris Invitational on Monday, April 15, 2024 at Princeton High School.
Kevin Hieronymus

Kevin Hieronymus

Kevin has been sports editor of the BCR since 1986. He previously was sports editor of the St. Louis Daily News and was a regular contributor for the St. Louis Cardinals' magazine. He is a 2021 inductee into the IBCA Hall of Fame (Media) and a 2023 inductee into the Shaw Media Illinois Valley Hall of Fame as "Distinguished Media."