PAXTON — If all goes according to plan, the best part of Monday’s 33rd News-Gazette Honor Roll track and field meet for Paxton-Buckley-Loda will be the ending.
PBL is looking forward to the final event, the 1,600-meter relay, in a meet to be held at the UI Track.
The Panthers hope that with two of their runners doing their only event as part of the relay and with two others making it their second event, they could break their school record.
It’s a mark that has stood since 1973, when Jim Niewold, Ronnie Graham, John Guthrie and Jim Dunnan teamed up for a 3-minute, 31.94-second clocking.
With a group of 400-meter runners this year who are all capable of a 52-second split, PBL staff members believe the standard could be lowered. To date, PBL’s best time this spring is 3:33.0.
Expected to share the baton are Tyler Rubarts, Vaughn Gentzler, Trent Wooten and Nick Porter. It’s an all-senior unit, except for Porter, a sophomore.
The relay will be the lone event for Wooten and Porter on Monday. Gentzler will run the sprint-hurdle race, and Rubarts will warm up in the long jump.
Adding to the optimism is the quality of the relay field. PBL will be seeded third, behind Centennial and Uni High, and just in ahead of Monticello.
The Panthers’ three seniors on the relay unit are among four on coach Erik Ronney’s squad who will continue with the sport in college. Gentzler is going to Monmouth College. Rubarts is headed to Augustana. Wooten will compete at Knox College. The fourth senior seeking a college career is Grant Iverson at Tennessee-Martin.
Monday’s Honor Roll meet will start with field events at 5 p.m. Running finals will begin at 6 o’clock, with girls and boys alternating on the track. Prior to the competition, there will be a scratch meeting at 4:30 in which late entries will be accepted if anyone drops out of an event.
Spectator admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students.