PREP TRACK AND FIELD: Trojan boys, Cardinal girls winLUVERNE — It was a beautiful early spring day Tuesday for the annual running of the Cardinal Relays and athletes from eight high school track and field teams took advantage of the near-perfect weather conditions to turn in some stellar early-season performances.
By: Les Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — It was a beautiful early spring day Tuesday for the annual running of the Cardinal Relays and athletes from eight high school track and field teams took advantage of the near-perfect weather conditions to turn in some stellar early-season performances.
The host Luverne Cardinals utilized quality all-around depth to win the girls’ team title with 166 points, while Southwest Conference rivals Worthington (130), Pipestone Area (97) and Windom (76) claimed the next three places.
Adrian (75), Southwest Christian (64), Hills-Beaver Creek (64) and Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central (27), each representing the Red Rock Conference, completed the rest of the girls’ team standings.
On the boys’ side, Worthington won three of the four relays and came home with an impressive total of five 1-2 finishes in individual events, as the Trojans racked up a remarkable 283 points — winning the team title by a whopping 180 points.
“We had a lot of guys contribute in a lot of ways,” summed up Worthington co-head coach Ken Henkels. “Our usual big scorers came through as they usually do and then we had several better than expected performances, like Junior Nguyen clearing 13-6 in the pole vault — which is a foot-and-a-half higher than he’s ever made in a meet.
“Eighth-grader Matthew Jirele nearly broke 11 minutes in the two mile and sophomore Morgan Traylor won two events — the high jump and long jump — and finished second in the 400, scoring 28 points for us. To have him run and jump like he did was a real plus. Nguyen’s performance in the vault was just outstanding.”
Luverne finished as runner-up with 103 points, followed by PA (89), H-BC (69), SWC (52), Windom (50), Adrian (29) and W-WG/RRC (26).
Woelber, Berger both win three events
Multiple individual event winners included PA’s Bree Woelber, Luverne’s Katlyn Sawtelle, Windom’s Hannah Steele, Luverne’s Jon Ehde and the Worthington quartet of Brandon Berger, Mubarik Musa, Sarah Cham and Traylor.
Woelber and Berger each won three events.
Woelber scored 38 points herself, as she won the 100-meter dash (13.30), finished first in the 300-meter low hurdles (46.66) and sailed 17-7¼ to win the long jump by 31 inches. She added a second-place finish in the 100-meter high hurdles (15.51)
Berger, who was part of Worthington’s winning 4x400-meter relay team (3:36.79), won individual gold medals in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.23), the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (41.62) and the triple jump (40-7).
Sawtelle was first in the 100 highs (15.38) and cleared 10-6 to win the girls’ pole vault by two feet. She finished a close second in the 100 (13.30) and placed third in the 300 lows (48.80) to complete a 34-point day.
Steele won both the girls’ discus (128-11) and shot put 37-10½) events.
Ehde, just a freshman, blazed to twin victories in the boys’ dashes, winning the 100 (11.62) and 200 (22.88) by impressive margins.
Musa won both the 1,600 (4:36.05) and 3,200 (10:05.41) in impressive fashion, leading a 1-2 Trojan finish in the 3,200, as Jirele clocked a second-place time of 11:01.90.
Cham nearly broke the 60-second mark in claiming victory in the girls’ 400-meter dash, clocked at 1:00.42. She also won the triple jump, leaping 34-10¾ — winning that event by 28½ inches.
Traylor, who was part of a 1-2-4 Worthington finish in the boys’ 400, won both the long jump (19-4½) and high jump (5-6), while also placing second in the 400 (55.02).
“Morgan had a nice day, no doubt about it,” praised Henkels.
Senior veteran Will Collin won the 400 (54.13), while sophomore Jon Vorwald (56.70) placed fourth, giving the Trojans 22 points in that event.
The senior tandem of Jalen Voss and Jordon Bents gave WHS a pair of 1-2 finishes in the weight events.
Voss (143-11) won the discus, while Bents (136-3) placed second.
In the shot, it was Bents (48-9½) and Voss (43-6) combining for 18 points with a 1-2 placing.
Nathan Mejia leaped 39-7½ to place second in the triple jump (behind Berger) giving the Trojans their fifth 1-2 finish.
O.J. Ojullu won the 800 (2:01.13) by nearly 10 seconds and Nguyen (13-6) took top honors in the pole vault by two-and-a-half feet.
“Junior was really on today,” declared Henkels. “He just kept making heights. After he soared over 13-6, he came close to making 14 feet — which is our school record.”
Omot Othowo, Ethan Spittle, Mejia and Ojullu combined to win the meet-opening 4x800-meter relay (8:38.81).
After the Trojans took a close second (to PA) in the 4x200, clocked at 1:36.8, the WHS sprint relay team of Jesse Guerra, Mejia, Will Dudley and Spittle pulled off a victory in the 4x100, blazing the one-lap race in 47.20.
Collin, Jeremy Clark, Berger and Ojullu finished the day with their first-place in the mile relay.
Danny Rodriguez, Rudy Ramirez, Collin and Clark had run the 4x200 for the Trojans.
Winning the 4x200 for the Arrows was the quartet of Aaron Kozlowski, Tyler Evans, Gathin Veldhuizen and Casey Kooiker, who clocked a fine early-season time of 1:35.93.
Walhoff, Hentges, Tofteland, Kopplow, Svalland also claim first-places
Southwest Christian senior Megan Walhof won the 200-meter dash (28.32), Windom junior Meredith Hentges finished first in the 800-meter run (2:35.9), Luverne freshman Anne Tofteland claimed victory in the 1,600 (5:40.42) and Adrian sophomore Jordin Kopplow won a close race against H-BC senior Whitney Wilgenburg in the 3,200.
Kopplow was clocked at 11:38.87, while Wilgenburg covered the eight laps in 11:39.96.
Worthington sophomore Tara Svalland cleared 5-2 to win the girls’ high jump.
Hailee Heitkamp, Nicole Slater, Kopplow and Austyn Thier gave Adrian a first-place finish in the 4x800 (9:55.50), clocking a time 21 seconds better than second-place Luverne.
Alina Keodouangsy, Lydia Kemper, Samantha Thuringer and Cassie Landgaard gave Worthington a girls’ relay victory when the four Trojan speedsters clocked a 1:54.07 to win the 4x200.
“That was neat,” chimed Henkels. “All four ran good splits and we were able to win a race which was close between the top four teams.”
A bit later, WHS sprinters won again — as Keodouangsy, Svalland, Thuringer and Landgaard were smooth on their handoffs and won the 4x100, timed at 54.59.
“Those were two nice wins for our girl sprinters,” praised Henkels. “Those two first-place relay finishes were among our highlights.”
Luverne finished the meet with a relay victory in the 4x400 (4:17.14). Running for the Cardinals were Paige Nath, Kaitlin Wohnoutka, Tofteland and Naomi Dooyema.
Lots of solid second-place performances
Other second-place individual finishers in girls’ events included Landgaard (200, 28.62), Nath (400, 1:01.53), Luverne’s Makayla Hohn (800, 2:36.5), Hentges (1,600, 5:42.19) and Heitkamp (300 low hurdles, 47.34) on the track.
Nath (high jump, 5-0), Luverne’s Lauren Witte (long jump, 14-11½), PA’s Trisha Sumption (shot put, 36-4), Worthington’s Ellen Dudley (pole vault, 8-6), H-BC’s Paige Leuthold (triple jump, 31-6¼) and SWC’s Kaci Mouw (discus, 111-4) had second-place performances in girls’ field events.
On the boys’ side, other second-place individual finishes included PA’s Gathin Veldhuizen (110 high hurdles, 16.47), H-BC’s Tate Bork (100, 11.88), Windom’s John Curley (1,600, 5:09.17), Velhuizen (300 intermediate hurdles, 42.49), Curley (800, 2:10.88) and PA’s Casey Kooiker (200, 23.51) on the track.
Veldhuizen claimed a third silver medal by placing second in the long jump (18-10), Windom’s Travis Mattson (5-6) was second in the high jump and Luverne’s Daniel Muller (11-0) captured second place in the pole vault.