GOOSE LAKE — Camanche coach Mark Metzger said his team was focussing on individual performance Monday night. During the Northeast Boys Track Invitational, Metzger’s relay teams clearly didn’t get the memo.
The Indians placed first in the 400-, 800- and 3,200-meter relays, as well as winning the four-man shuttle hurdle and finishing second in the 1,600. Those races, as well as individual victories in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes, keyed a landslide team victory for Camanche.
By day’s end, the Indians stood 86 points above their next closest opponent, host Northeast, scoring 194 points to the Rebels’ 108. In all, Camanche won 10 of the 18 events.
“Tonight, we kind of backed off and tried to get some individual times going,” Metzger said. “I’m just really happy with the guys. A lot of really good performances. We’re getting to that time in the season where we need to be stepping up and seeing improvement.”
For many winners in the 11-team meet, wind resistance was a constant factor. While warming up, athletes shook their heads and voiced displeasure with the conditions. “That’s brutal,” one Maquoketa sprinter said to an opponent.
“It was a little bit of a rough race,” Camanche sprinter Zach Nissen said following his team’s 800-meter relay win. “The wind affected us. We probably would’ve ran 1:33, maybe 1:32.”
Instead, the Indians finished at 1:36.71, four seconds slower than they would’ve liked.
However, one athlete, at least, made use of the tricky elements. Northeast’s Eli Kaczinski knew the wind would be a factor during the 1,600.
“I definitely didn’t want to take the lead in the first couple laps because the wind’s not the best tonight,” he said. “It was in the back of my mind the whole time.”
Tailing Tipton’s Eric Lenz in the final stretch, Kaczinski said he drafted his opponent for the first 3 1/2 laps, then used the wind to his back in the final turn. It resulted in one of Northeast’s most thrilling victories of the night, with Kaczinski passing Lenz with roughly 80 meters to go. He finished the race at 4:47.49.