Trojan Relays Class A: Mountain Lake Area sits atop Class A
WORTHINGTON -- Utilizing the multiple talents of several top-notch track and field athletes, Mountain Lake Area claimed both Class A team titles at the 61st annual Trojan Relays Thursday.
Competing on an overcast and somewhat breezy day with the temperature in the middle 50s for much of the meet, there were many outstanding individual performances in the smaller-school division, including a record-setting leap of 21 feet and 8¼ inches by Murray County Central senior Jack Thony in the boys' long jump.
Thony set a new school record with that distance and also snapped the 41-year old Trojan Relays's Class A all-time best of 21-5, accomplished by Fulda's Bill Bunkers in 1972.
"I hit my mark well and the jump felt great," exclaimed a jubilant Thony, who also won the 100-meter dash (11.18 seconds), finished second in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (41.53) and ran the anchor leg on MCC's 4x400-meter relay.
Southwest Christian/Edgerton's Austin LaFollette was a triple winner in the boys' meet, while MCC's Tanner Nepp and Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central's Jeff DeCock were both dual event first-place performers.
In the girls' meet, MLA's Lydia Hildebrandt and Hills-Beaver Creek's Paige Leuthold each won a pair of events.
Hildebrandt, who finished a clear first in the 400-meter dash (1:04.10), tied for first in the 200 (28.58), placed second in the pole vault (7-6) and anchored the Wolverines' winning 4x400-meter relay team (4:22.05), did her part to help her team win its fifth team title in the past six years.
MLA, which also had a first-place finish by Whitney Klassen in the 800-meter run (2:33.00), racked up an impressive 172 points to convincingly reclaim its championship - which was earned by Fulda in 2012.
"We had a good all-around day, as we have several girls who performed very well for us in multiple events," summed up head coach Paul Metcalf, who has been an intregral part of both the cross country and track programs at Mountain Lake for decades. "All four of those girls who ran our mile relay - Lydia, Whitney, Brianna Southhivong and Mikayla Falk - scored a lot of points for us, and lots of other girls came up big, too."
SWC/E was second in the eight-team standings of the Class A girls' meet with 129½ points, followed by MCC (100½), Adrian (74½), Fulda (65½), H-BC (63), W-WG/RRC (60) and Worthington's junior varsity (25).
Meanwhile, the Wolverine boys repeated as Class A team champions, capping the day by winning the 4x400 (3:43.26) and finishing with 146 points - matching their winning total from 2012.
"We are pretty solid all the way through the lineup," Metcalf said. "Our field events are very good - maybe the best that we have had for several years - and we perform well on the track, too."
Fulda also utilized strong depth and finished a close second with 138½ points, while MCC - paced by the scoring of Thony and Nepp - was third with 119.
W-WG/RRC scored 92½ points to finish fourth, followed by SWC/E (73), H-BC (70), Adrian (39) and Worthington's JV (13).
LaFollette, Thony stage classic hurdles' race
LaFollette, who won the 110-meter high hurdles (16.89) and 200-meter dash (24.66), faced a strong challenge from Thony in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
It was Thony's first-ever race in that event, but his speed carried him to a fine performance, creating lots of excitement for fans and MCC teammates.
In a close race, the superior hurdling form of LaFollette allowed him to pull away with a smooth finish, clocking a time of 41.35.
Both state-meet caliber athletes were happy with their efforts after crossing the finish line.
Thony was mobbed by excuberant teammates who offered all kinds of encouragement and advice to their comrade, while LaFollette - who often wins his favorite event by a large margin - was pleased with the challenge offered by Thony.
"I was kind of glad that Jack was in the race," LaFollette said. "He chased me hard all the way to finish and I had to really concentrate and hold my form."
DeCock, who finished second (behind Thony) in the long jump with a distance of 20-1¾, won both the triple jump (40-7¼) and high jump (6-0).
Nepp was first in the discus (141-2) and shot put (50-5), while MLA's Tyler Friesen won the pole vault (11-6).
Other individual winners on the track were MLA's Jose Gonzales (400, 54.52), H-BC's Justin Kerkhove-Brandt (800, 2:12.93), W-WG/RRC's AJ Jongen (1,600, 5:02.01) and MLA's Slade Harder (3,200, 10:56.50).
MCC (Cole Bassett, Jack Erickson, Joey Petersen and Andy Garza) won the 4x800-meter relay with a time of 9:27.29.
H-BC's quartet of Dalton Bass, Dylan Gehrke, Braden Ellingson and Dirk Thone finished first in the 4x200 (1:39.42) and the Patriots' foursome of Bass, Gehrke, Thone and Tate Bork clocked a time of 47.48 to win the 4x100.
MLA's team of Gonzales, Friesen, Spencer Harder and Caleb Bargen clinched the Wolverines' victory by winning the meet-ending 4x400.
Leuthold, Klassen, Van Dyke join Hildebrandt as top girls' performers
Leuthold won the triple jump (31-9) and the 100 (13.52), placed second in the high jump (4-4) and ran a strong leadoff leg on H-BC's third-place 4x400 team (4:27.84).
In addition to winning the 800 and running a leg on the first-place 4x400 relay, Klassen finished a strong second in the 1,600 (5:49.32), which was won by Adrian's Nicole Slater (5:36.85).
SWC/E's Hannah Van Dyke also enjoyed a stellar all-around day, winning the 300-meter low hurdles (50.77), running the third leg on the Eagles' first-place 4x100 relay (54.48) and placing second in the triple jump (31-¼).
MCC's Paris Thomas won the 100-meter high hurdles (18.07), SWC/E's Chantel Groen tied Hildebrandt for first in the 200 (28.58) and Adrian's Jordin Kopplow (3,200, 11:59.10) were the other individual Class A girls' first-place performers on the track.
Sydney Cuperus (Fulda) won the discus with a throw of 93-5 and Kelly Tinklenberg (SWC/E) was first in the shot put with a distance of 31-9.
MCC's Hannah Schmidt came close to the meet record (held by Southwestern United's Betsy Voehl, 16-7¾, 2009) with an outstanding leap of 16-4 in the long jump - 14 inches farther than second place.
The final two field events were won by W-WG/RRC athletes, as Melanie Kedl took top honors in the high jump (4-8) and Chloe Arfsten earned the gold medal in the pole vault (8-0).
Adrian won both the 4x800 and 4x200 relays.
The foursome of Megan Sauer, Kopplow, Morgan Sauer and Slater clocked a time of 10:13.94 in the 4x8 and the quartet of Christina Loonan, Brittney Loonan, Rylie Hokeness and Katie Reisdorfer were timed at 2:04.43 in the 4x2.
Devin Bloemendaal, Cassie Groen and Kara Homandberg teamed with Van Dyke to win the 4x100 for SWC/E.
Complete results of the Class A girls and boys results can be found on the athletic.net website.