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Southern’s Bradley, Syracuse’s Brandt use JCC Invite as stepping stone for postseason
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Southern’s Bradley, Syracuse’s Brandt use JCC Invite as stepping stone for postseason

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TECUMSEH — Shin splints limited the boys events Southern’s Connor Bradley and Syracuse’s Burton Brandt could compete in at the Johnson County Central Invitational track and field meet Friday, giving them a chance to heal and rest up before the district meets next Thursday.

But the duo took full advantage of their opportunities in the final regular-season meet of the spring.

Bradley, a junior sprinter, broke two meet records in winning the 100- (11.16 seconds) and 200-meter dashes (:22.19) in ideal track conditions with calm wind and temperatures in the low 70s.

Bradley stayed away from the 400 where he is currently ranked seventh overall in the state charts and second in Class C (:50.70). Bradley is third in the Class C charts in the 100 with a season-best :10.96 and second in the 200 with the :22.19 he ran Friday.

“I’m just keeping myself good for districts next week,” Bradley said. “It was a great day to run, not too hot, not too cold and not much wind at all. This was good preparation for next week.”

While a state gold medal is the ultimate goal, Bradley’s main objective is qualifying for state next week, then a top-three finish in all three sprint events.

“I’d like to get my 100 time under :10.8, my 200 under 22 and break 50 (seconds) in the 400,” said Bradley, who qualified for state in the 400 two years ago as a freshman. “With good weather and the tough competition at state, I think I can get there.”

Brandt wants to reach the state meet in four events that are not usually grouped together — the shot put and long jump along with the 110 high hurdles and 300 intermediates.

The Rocket senior, a 195-pound Class C state wrestling champion, won the 300s in :41.37, a little slower than his season-best of :41.29, which is fourth in the Class C charts. Brandt didn’t run the 110 highs nor long jump on Friday to save his legs, but the Midland football recruit did finish third in the shot put with a throw of 47 feet, 1 inch.

“I started doing the shot put last year, then everything shut down (because of the COVID-19 pandemic), so I never threw in a meet until this season,” said Brandt, who is sixth in the Class C charts in the 110 highs with a season-best :15.43. Brandt’s best in the shot this season is 49-3, while he’s gone 20-0 in the long jump.

“At a lot of meets, I’ll be in the first flight so I can get my first three throws in the shot, then do all of my jumps in the long jump, go run the 110 prelims, then go back to the shot put for the finals,” Brandt said. “I haven’t practiced long jump in a while because of my shins, but that’s something I need to work on this week.”

Wilber-Clatonia dominated the boys team race at the 10-team meet, amassing 188 points to runner-up Falls City Sacred Heart’s 67. The Wolverines’ Mason Combs swept the jumps, winning the high jump (5-10), long jump (19-9¾) and the triple jump (40-11¼). Teammate Tommy Lokken reeled off victories in the 1,600 (4:54.01) and the 3,200 (10:32.44).

Syracuse, which won girls Class B team titles in 2018 and ’19, captured the girls JCC crown Friday by a 134-115 margin over the Lincoln Southwest junior varsity. The Rockets were paced by a pair of former state champions who are now seniors, Jessie Moss in the high jump (5-0) and Ellie Wilkinson in the 1,600 (5:35.70).

Syracuse missed a chance at a three-peat when COVID-19 canceled the 2020 spring sports campaign and left standout jumper and sprinter Lauren Meyer without a senior season. Moss, who went a Class C-leading 5-8 (tying the school record) last Saturday at the Capital Conference meet in Syracuse, will lead the charge this year.

“Last year’s team was really close and bonded together, so it was kind of sad to miss out on our season,” Moss said. “I won state (high jump) as a sophomore, but I had a back injury, and the year off kind of helped heal that up.”

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High school sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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