PREP BOYS' TRACK AND FIELD: Worthington boys claim team title by winning 14 eventsWORTHINGTON — Putting a total of 22 individuals among the top-three finishers in 13 different events and winning all four of the relay races Thursday afternoon, the Worthington Trojan boys continued to shine and claimed an impressive team victory at the Sub-Section 9 track and field meet under nearly ideal weather conditions at Trojan Field.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Putting a total of 22 individuals among the top-three finishers in 13 different events and winning all four of the relay races Thursday afternoon, the Worthington Trojan boys continued to shine and claimed an impressive team victory at the Sub-Section 9 track and field meet under nearly ideal weather conditions at Trojan Field.
Worthington won 14 of the 18 overall events and racked up a whopping total of 329 points in sending 26 automatic qualifiers to next week’s Section 3A track and field meet, which will be held Thursday in Redwood Falls beginning at 2 p.m.
The top-three finishers in each event from all four Sub-Sections (9, 10, 11 and 12) earned automatic qualification to the section meet, and the final four places are determined from the next best performances of all four of the Sub-Section meets combined — giving each event 16 participants at Redwood Falls next Thursday.
“The goal was to send as many kids to the section meet as possible, and we’re certainly very happy with today’s results,” Worthington co-head coach Ken Henkels said. “We had some very good performances against strong competition in beautiful weather conditions. It was a great day for all area track and field athletes.”
Jackson County Central was a distant second in the final team standings, scoring 125.33 points. Cedar Mountain/Comfrey/Springfield was third with 110 points, followed by Windom’s solid fourth-place score of 83.33 points.
Mountain Lake Christian (53), Southwestern United (43), Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central (40.33) and Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (29) completed the eight-team boys’ standings.
JCC had five individuals and all four relay teams advance, while CM/C/S will have eight entrants at the section meet. Both Windom and MLC had four top-three finishes, while SWU, W-WG/RRC and ML/B-O will each be represented in one event next week.
Trojans go 1-2-3 in triple jump, 1-2 in six other individual events
Worthington’s tremendous team depth was evident in nearly every event, as the Trojans won all four of the relays and took the top two spots in seven individual events — including a clean sweep (first, second and third) in the triple jump.
Brandon Berger (first, 42-1), Mitch Weg (second, 41-0 1/2) and Nathan Mejia (third, 40-2 1/2) dominated the triple jump for Worthington, giving the Trojans 30 points — 12, 10 and 8 — in that event alone. It was one of four gold medals earned by Berger on the day.
“It was fun to win all four of my events today and see our team perform well once again,” Berger said. “There was good competition at this meet, and I am happy that I was able to contribute to our team effort. We will continue to work hard and strive for further advancement next week.”
Berger won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.45 seconds and later took first in the 300-meter hurdles, clocked at 40.79. Teammate Omot Okello was second in both races, running times of 15.73 and 41.23, respectively.
Berger teamed with Will Collin, O.J. Ojullu and Jeremy Clark to win the meet-ending 4x400-meter relay for the Trojans, finishing with a blistering first-place time of 3:27.88.
It was Worthington’s victory in the 4x800-meter relay — run by Marcus Potter, Omot Othowo, Mejia and Ethan Spittle in a winning time of 8:25.98 — that started the day, set the tone for the Trojans and also served as a motivating factor for Ojullu in the 800-meter run.
Ojullu ran the first 400 meters in 53.9 seconds and maintained a torrid pace during the second lap, pulling away from JCC’s Justin Cook (second, 1:59.39) to win the open 800 in an amazing personal-best time of 1:56.37.
“I was inspired to run well after watching our 4x8 team beat JCC in an exciting race and great finish,” Ojullu said. “I went out faster than normal and felt good the whole way, so I just kept pushing and going harder. This feels awesome.”
Ojullu had earlier run a fine race in the 1,600-meter run, keeping teammate Mubarik Musa in close sight. Musa won with a time of 4:32.44, while Ojullu took second in 4:36.27.
Musa collected another victory in the 3,200-meter run, clocking a time of 10:01.99.
Worthington also went 1-2 in the 400-meter dash, with Clark (first, 51.04) holding off Collin (second, 51.18) down the stretch. Potter just missed automatic advancement by placing fourth in a time of 56.4.
Trojans Jordon Bents and Jalen Voss both moved on in the shot put and the discus, exchanging the top two spots in those events. Bents won the shot put (47-5 1/2) and was second in the discus (127-8 1/2), while Voss won the discus (136-11) and placed second in the shot put (44-0).
Junior Nguyen (first, 13-7) and Will Dudley (third, 12-1) gave Worthington 20 points in the pole vault, while Weg (high jump, 5-11) and Morgan Traylor (long jump, 19-6 1/4) added second-place results individually.
“It was a good day to jump,” Weg said. “I got second in both of my events and our team did great again. We are getting kind of used to doing well as a team, as we have a bunch of great guys who are good athletes.”
Worthington’s Rudy Ramirez placed third to advance in the 100-meter dash (11.94) and just missed in the 200-meter dash (fourth, 24.55). Othowo added a fourth-place finish in the 800, clocked at 2:06.82.
Nathan Landwehr (fourth, 3,200, 11:21.54), Jordan Balster (fifth, 110 hurdles, 16.77), and Traylor (fifth, high jump, 5-7) had the other top-five individual finishes for the Trojans, just missing out on automatic qualification to the section meet.
Clark, Collin, Traylor and Danny Rodriguez combined to win the 4x200-meter relay in a time of 1:34.08, while Mejia, Dudley, Spittle and Jesse Guerra teamed up to win the 4x100-meter relay in a time of 46.47 for the Trojans.
Vongsavanh, Curley and Larson each move on in two events
JCC’s Jason Vongsavanh was a double-event winner, taking home gold medals in both the 100 (11.43) and the 200 (23.0). CM/C/S’s Tyler Larson was second in both events (100, 11.78; 200, 24.06).
Windom’s John Curley was third in both the 800 (2:03.41) and the 1,600 (4:45.73), while teammates Travis Mattson (200, 24.46) and Brady Ysker-Giefer (discus, 119-0) also garnered a third-place finish.
SWU’s Marty Schmitz won the long jump with a distance of 19-7 1/4, while CM/C/S’s Nate Golden won the high jump with a height of 6-1 to round out the individual-event winners.
JCC’s Marc Strom (second, 10:25.43) and MLC’s Taylor Klassen (third, 10:46.79) both ran under 11 minutes in the 3,200, while ML/B-O’s Tyler Friesen (second, pole vault, 13-1) and W-WG/RRC’s Blake Stevens (third, 110 hurdles, 16.07) were the lone qualifiers from their respective teams.
JCC advanced in all four relay races, clocking second-place times of 8:27.07 (4x800) and 3:33.95 (4x400) to go along with third-place times of 1:36.62 (4x200) and 47.22 (4x100).
MLC (third, 4x800, 8:36.53; third, 4x400, 3:47.92) and CM/C/S (second, 4x200, 1:36.3; second, 4x100, 47.02) each advanced in a pair of relays.
JCC’s Alex Tewes was third in the shot put with a heave of 40-4, while MLC’s Jordan Holmen placed third in the long jump with a leap of 19-2 1/4.
CM/C/S had the other individual qualifiers in Ryan Carlson (third, high jump, 5-9), Dylan Boettger (third, 300 hurdles, 42.55) and Zach Wells (third, 400, 55.27).
Schmitz just missed in the high jump (fourth, 5-9), while Wildcat teammate Mitchel VanWesten took fourth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:08.68. Adriano Martins placed fifth in the 400 (56.77), Mykil Vonk was sixth in both the shot put (36-10 1/2) and the discus (104-1), and Jameson Collin took sixth in the high jump (5-5) for SWU.
Ysker-Giefer (shot put, 38-10), Zach Holt (discus, 110-1), Brannon Peterson (pole vault, 9-7) and Douglas Tabb (100, 11.96) — all from Windom — were among the other fourth-place finishers, as were Stevens in the 300 hurdles (43.58) and Holmen in the triple jump (38-11 1/2).