Section 3A Track: Thony headlines state qualifiers
BENSON -- Murray County Central senior sprinter Jack Thony blazed to a trio of Section 3A gold medals Thursday, as the top high school track and field athletes competed in favorable weather conditions -- seeking advancement to next week's state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul, June 7-8.
While Thony's performances highlighted the list of area performances, there were many other sparkling efforts turned in by an abundance of premier athletes, including an absolutely remarkable anchor leg by Luverne's Makayla Hohn in the meet-opening 4x800-meter relay.
As most fans watched the race up front between Adrian and Benson/Kerkoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Hohn effectively "switched gears" on the backstretch and made her move, bringing the Cardinals from third to first with a sizzling sprint finish.
"Our coaches tell us to change gears with about 300 meters to go," explained Hohn after the race. "I did some workouts last winter at Avera in Sioux Falls and we worked on getting up on our toes for as long as 600 meters, so I just knew I could 'kick it in' all the way, once I started. As I got closer and closer to the two girls in front of me, I was just so determined to do it for my team. When I crossed the line, I was 99 percent sure that I had it."
Luverne's winning time was 9:57.00, while B/KMS was clocked at 9:57.12 and Adrian -- which led most of the race -- just missed qualifying for Hamline, timed at 9:57.20.
"We had Makayla with about a 2:24 split," beamed LHS head coach Craig Nelson. "She really lit it up over those last 200 meters and just exploded past the leaders with her final kick, finding a 'gear' that we didn't even know she had. What a gutsy effort by Makayla."
The top two finishers in each event -- including relays -- earned advancement to the state meet, along with any competitors who met the state-qualifying standard.
Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central senior Jeff DeCock again advanced in three events, qualifying in the high jump by standard (6-3), while placing second in the long jump (21-4). After earning a bronze medal and a silver, DeCock claimed the gold in the triple jump with a winning distance of 43-9.
"My legs felt great and I was able to get some good jumps in early," DeCock said. "There was good competition in all three events."
Redwood Valley's Randy Juell won both the high jump (6-3, fewest misses) and the long jump (21-5½) before adding a third gold medal by clearing 13 feet in the pole vault.
Pipestone Area sophomore Collin Moeller also cleared 6-3 and placed second in the high jump, punching his ticket to Hamline.
Thony snapped out the blocks strong and won the 100-meter dash (11.24), the 400 (50.44) and capped his day by winning the 200 (22.44).
"I am happy that I won each race," said Thony, after being talked to by a collegiate recruiter. "But, I am not satisfied yet."
Thony qualified in both the 100 and 200 last year, but missed in the 400.
"This year, I get to run all three events," he said. "I know there are fast guys at the state meet."
Luverne girls rack up 89 points, claim team trophy, advance nine
With victories in the 4x800 and 4x200, along with individual wins by Allison Dohlmann in the shot put (35-6) and Kynzie Smedsrud in the 100-meter high hurdles (17.28), the Luverne girls racked up 89 points and won the team title by a 20-point margin.
"We had a good day," summed up Nelson. "We are advancing nine girls to the state meet and eight boys, so we will have a nice group going to Hamline next week."
Benson/KMS was second in the girls' standings with 69 points, followed by Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (60), BOLD/Buffalo Lake-Hector (54), Mountain Lake Area (43½) and Southwest Christian/Edgerton (43) in the top six, among 24 teams which scored points.
Madison Schandelmeier, Kaitlin Wohnoutka and Anna Tofteland ran half miles for the Cardinals before Hohn took the baton. Later, the foursome of Sierra Schmuch, Naomi Dooyema, Smedsrud and Tayla Peterson raced to a comfortable victory in the 4x200 with a time of 1:48.93.
Redwood Valley, led by Juell's 30 points, won the boys' team title with a score of 85.
MCC, paced by Thony (35 points), Tanner Nepp (16 points) and Tyler Scotting (16 points), claimed runnerup honors with 72 points.
Luverne was third in the boys' standings with 63 points, followed in the top six by Montevideo (57), Yellow Medicine East (40) and Windom (38).
Windom was led by sprinter Michael Rivera, who qualified for Hamline in both the 100 (11.43) and 200 (22.70), finishing a strong second in each.
Rivera also ran the leadoff leg on the Eagles' third-place 4x100 relay team, which just missed qualifying, finishing behind Hills-Beaver Creek (44.85) and Luverne (44.90) with a time of 45.11 in a very close race.
Nepp, who earlier missed qualifying in the discus (third-place, 141-10), uncorked a toss of 52-2¾ on his last throw to win the shot put.
"That was my all-time best," summed up Nepp, who topped a strong field to win the event.
Adrian's Nicole Slater also churned an all-time best Thursday, as she clocked a time of 5:22.98 and finished a close second in the 1,600-meter run.
"I felt great," exclaimed Slater, who has run in numerous state cross country and track meets. "It was my best mile ever."
MLA sophomore Lydia Hildebrandt also clocked her best-ever time in the 400-meter dash and qualified for Hamline with a second-place finish, timed at 1:00.94.
Wolverine 800-meter runners Whitney Klassen (girls) and Jose Gonzales (boys) did the same, each qualifying with second-place runs with respective times of 2:23.26 and 2:01.44. Gonzales' utilized a blazing finishing kick to move from fourth to second in the last 200 meters.
Luverne's Cody Hess made an even more remarkable move in the 3,200, improving from sixth to second over the last three laps and clocking a personal best time of 10:24.85.
W-WG/RRC's Chloe Arfsten won the pole vault (9-2) and Adrian's Jordin Kopplow earned the gold medal in the 3,200, winning a competitive duel with Schandelmeier. Kopplow was clocked at 11:40.50.
SWC/E's Austin LaFollette ran a very smooth race to win the 300-meter intermediates hurdles, clocked at 40.68, while Scotting (40.98) also advanced to Hamline. Earlier, LaFollette was second in the 110 high hurdles (16.78).
Here is the list of area state-meet qualifiers :
4x200, Luverne, first, 1:48.93; SWC/E, second, 1:50.50;
4x400, MLA, second, 4:13.63
4x800, Luverne, first, 9:57.00
Shot Put, Allison Dohlmann, Luverne, first, 35-6, second, 106-0
Pole Vault, Chloe Arfsten, W-WG/RRC, first, 9-2
High Jump, Kendra Ludeman, T-M-B, first, 5-3
Triple Jump, Paige Leuthold, H-BC, second, 33-9
100-meter high hurdles, Kynzie Smedsrud, Luverne, first, 17.28
300-meter low hurdles, Maria Spanier, PA, second, 47.44
400-meter dash, Lydia Hildebrandt, MLA, second, 1:00.94
800-meter run, Whitney Klassen, MLA, second, 2:23.26
1,600 meter run, Nicole Slater, Adrian, second, 5:22.98
3,200 meter run, Jordin Kopplow, Adrian, first, 11:40.50; Madison Schandelmeier, Luverne, second,11:48.50
4x100 Relay, H-BC, first, 44.85; Luverne, second, 44.90
4x800, Luverne, second, 8:32.27, first, 52-2¾; Alex Weis, Luverne, second, 50-8¼
Discus, Weis, first, 148-9
High Jump, Collin Moeller, PA, second, 6-3; Jeff DeCock, W-WG/RRC, third, 6-3 *
Long Jump, DeCock, second, 21-4-9; Darnell Taylor-Breck, Jackson County Central, 43-3
110-meter high hurdles, Austin LaFollette, SWC/E, second, 16.78
300-meter intermediate hurdles, LaFollette, first, 40.68; Tyler Scotting, MCC, second, 40.98
100-meter dash:ack Thony, MCC, first, 11.24; Michael Rivera, Windom, second, 11.43
200-meter dash: Thony, first, 22.44; Rivera, second, 22.70
400-meter dash: Thony, first, 50.44
800-meter run: Jose Gonzales, MLA, second, 2:01.44
3,200-meter run: Cody Hess, Luverne, second, 10:24.85