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Track and Field Fighting to Get Points on the Board
Written by Ernie Quatrani Correspondent
2015-04-15

Upper Perk's Sara Adamkovic takes the baton from Emily O'Sullivan in the girls' 4x800 relay. The girls finished second in the event.

        As it always is against the bigger PAC-10 schools, the numbers-challenged Upper Perk track teams were doomed before the meet even began in the gloom of last Thursday's cold, drizzly day. But that did not deter many Tribe athletes from delivering outstanding individual efforts against Owen J. Roberts.

        Two of the top performers against the Wildcats were senior Quinn Bilger, who won the 100 and 200 meter races and junior Eli Soto, the victor in the 400 and javelin as the boys were absorbing a 101-47 defeat.

        Bilger was satisfied but not thrilled with his times, especially his 11.8 seconds in the 100. Bilger did 24 seconds in the 200.

        "My 200 wasn't too bad," he said. His career bests are 11.2 and 23.1, respectively.

        Of course, the less-than-optimal weather had to be factored into the post-race analysis. "It wasn't really too good, but you kind of just have to deal with it and man up and go with it," Bilger said.

        "Tough being competitive, tough doing your best when it's cold, for sure," agreed coach Byron Hecker. "You just can't get warm."

        Bilger is confident that his times will get better as the season goes along and warmer weather becomes the norm. His is aiming for 11.0 in the 100 and 22 in the 200 which might get him to districts.

        And Bilger feels that his training program, somewhat limited by knee tendonitis, will pay off. "I'm a little lighter than last year. But I have a lot more muscle than last year. I try to eat more healthy food, go to the gym and try to gain muscle instead [of trying to] lose weight."

        Soto was ecstatic about his javelin throw of 150 feet, four inches which beat Wildcat Tom Wolf by over 35 feet.

        "It took me a while last year to build up to anywhere close to 150, and I was barely qualifying for districts, and this year I've already thrown a 150. It felt great."

        Soto qualified last season with a 162, the cutoff for districts this year.

        In the 400-meter race, Soto surprised himself with his time of 54.6.

        "I was happy, because I got first, and I'm definitely improving from last year. It took me until the end of the season to run sub 55, so I was very happy about that."

        The time changed his season outlook on the 400. "Now my goal is to maybe get sub 53," Soto said.

        A district run, where 51 seconds qualifies, is probably out of reach this season.

        "By next year, I'll be able to get that," Soto predicted.

        At the Viking Invitational on Saturday at Perk Valley, Soto took fourth in the javelin, and he and Bilger teamed with Matt Elderhorst and Jake Votta to finish fifth in the 4x100 relay. Twenty-nine schools participated at PV.

        Other winners against Owen J. Roberts included Votta in the long jump, Christian Zera in the discus and Levi Homan and Eli Barker finishing one-two in the pole vault.

        The girls were competitive in most events but only produced one winner during their 126-24 loss. Jess Spano took the shot put with a toss of 31' 2.25," a personal best and over five feet farther than OJR's Mady Alvaro. 

        At the Viking Invitational, Spano placed fifth.

Hecker has been pleased with the progress of his team.

        "I'm real happy with the kids this year. We have real small numbers, but they've been real enthusiastic, and I really can't have anything bad to say about them at all."

        Soto echoed his coach's sentiments.

        "I think our team is great for how small we are. It's very hard to make up for the points we lose because our team's small, and we don't have people in certain events. Everyone is very nice, cooperative, and just great teammates."


 

 

 

 

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