All Aaron Kramer wanted was another chance.

The Center Point-Urbana junior fell short of qualifying for State as a freshman, but he more than made up for it as a junior alongside his teammates as the Stormin’ Pointers qualified eight events for the Blue Oval after Thursday’s State Qualifying Meet at Independence.

“All I was trying to do was keep up with the guys in front of me and ended up winning the 100,” Kramer said. “I was excited about that. We came here today to put it all out there for our seniors. We didn’t want this season to end for them or myself.”

Kramer qualified for the open 100 and 200 with a first and second place finish respectively, but also led off the sprint medley of senior Dylan Griswold, senior Logan Peterson and sophomore Cole Werner to a third place finish with a time of 1:36.35. This time qualified them for State on Saturday.

“[Aaron] was great getting out of his blocks and really finished strong on both of those individual runs,” coach Jeff Engen said. “Over the last week, he seemed like he was fading a little. None of that was seen tonight.

Griswold, Werner, Peterson and junior Eli Larson would qualify the distance medley with a second place finish. This was the first time this relay had run together and Engen saw exactly what he and the athletes had envisioned for it come to life.

“We knew everyone’s numbers and saw how it all fit together perfectly,” Engen said. “We were really confident about it going into this and it looked like what we thought it would.”

CPU’s strength all season long had come from their distance duo of Larson and senior Mason Bach and Thursday was no exception. Larson won the 3,200m run with a 9:40 while Bach finished third even with a time under 10 minutes. Bach would later learn he qualified for State in the event based off time, but not before winning the 1,600m over Larson by .08 of a second.

“He’s one of the top runners in the state,” Bach said. “It pushes me to have a teammate like him in practice and at every meet we run. He could have outlead me in that second race if he wanted to. We’re just both happy to get to State.”

“They’re just getting better and better together,” Engen added. “We’ve seen this all season long between these two and it was great to see Mason get the 1,600. I’m really excited to see what these two can do at State.”

Their shared goal: both place in their events. Both athletes are currently seeded in the top eight for both events. For Bach as a senior and not getting a season last year, this scenario is exactly what he’s been dreaming about.

“It means a lot having the chance to run at the Blue Oval,” Bach said. “I’ve watched my brother and sister run there. It feels amazing to keep the family tradition going.”

Approximate schedule of events: 3,200 (Bach, Larson) Thursday at 10:25 a.m., 200m (Kramer) Thursday prelims at 11:10 a.m., 100m dash (Kramer) Thursday prelims at 1:12 p.m., 1,600 distance medley (Griswold, Werner, Peterson, Larson) Friday at 12:20 p.m., 800 sprint medley (Kramer, Griswold, Peterson, Werner) Saturday at 9:30 a.m., 1,600m run (Bach, Larson) Saturday at 11:47 a.m.

Vinton Newspapers will have coverage of these and other State events over the course of the State meet online and in Tuesday’s Vinton Eagle.

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