Riverside-Brookfield's Clare Bollnow, center, and Dee Dee Keen, right, compete in the girls 3,200-meter run at the 47th annual Gary Johnson Bulldog Relays. (David Pierini/staff photographer)

It’s the signature event for the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys and girls track and field programs every spring. On Saturday, the Bulldogs proudly hosted the 47th annual Gary Johnson Bulldog Relays at Shuey Stadium.

Aside from being hospitable hosts to the visiting schools, the Bulldogs also fared quite well in the standings. The RBHS boys team took first place with 104 points and scored in all but one event, while Jacobs finished second with 79 points.

RBHS seniors Lewis Rogers (15.17 seconds) and Gerrand Moody (15.68 seconds) finished first and second, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles, while Rogers also garnered first-place honors in the 300 hurdles with a time of 40.54 seconds. Rogers, who plans to play football and track in college, also anchored the Bulldogs’ 1,600 relay team, which recorded a top time of 3 minutes and 29.02 seconds. Moody, Marvin McKenzie and Mike McCabe comprised the rest of the victorious squad, whose time matched the team’s best showing from last season that qualified for state.

“I felt great,” Rogers said of his relay performance. “Sitting there watching my teammates running and building the lead, I knew all I had to do was hold that lead. I’ve been working hard for the past few weeks trying to get my body in the shape that it’s supposed to be in, and I finally feel like I’m there.”

In the field events, senior Jack VandeMerkt won the high jump clearing 6 feet, 2 inches, while junior Louis Grigoletti earned second in both the shot put (43-5.) and discus throw (125-7). Junior Jordan Petronella (40-11.5) came in fourth place in the shot put.

The Bulldogs are looking forward to the conference and sectional meets later this spring.

“We’re definitely excited for the rest of the season,” Rogers said. “We just have to keep working hard. When it comes time for sectionals and conference, we’ll taper a little bit. By that time we should be in tip-top condition with all the things we’re doing now.”

LaBelle wins pole vault to lead girls team in field events

Although the RBHS girls team placed seventh (18 points/tied with Illiana Christian) in the team standings, several atheltes excelled in the field events. Junior Jackie LaBelle won the pole vault competition (9-6), sophomore Marly Santora took second in the triple jump (30-10), and junior Janae Dabney placed third in the long jump (14-5).

“We’re definitely really strong in the field events right now,” RBHS girls coach Bob Bensfield said. “[LaBelle] is a team leader who has put in a lot of hard work which has really paid off for her. She’s been able to come into the season in midseason form. She’s in a really great place and we believe she has a great chance at going downstate.”

Senior Clare Bollnow finished third in the 3,200 meter run (12:36.39) and fifth place in the 1,600 meter run (5:48.88).

“[Bollnow] is definitely a really strong distance runner for us,” Bensfield said. “She’s put in a ton of work during the cross country season and this track season. It’s really exciting to see where this team is at so far in the season. To come out here and do what we did with a limited amount of practice is very exciting.”