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Track and Field: Trojans ready for Section 2AA

WORTHINGTON -- For high school sports teams, this is the time of year when optimism is both desired and necessary. So when the Worthington Trojans track and field athletes contemplate the fact that they haven't participated in a meet since the May 16 Southwest Conference event, it's an occasion to look at the bright side.

Sure, the pessimist might say that athletes could get rusty after a nearly two-week absence from competition.

But the optimist might say different.

The way WHS co-head coach Doug Brands sees it, the extra time off has given his Trojans more time to shift from team goals onto individual ones.

"This is what you work for all year, is placing and shooting for state if you can get there," Brands said Tuesday.

Today beginning at 3 p.m., Worthington participates in Day 1 of the Section 2AA meet at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. The finals of the 3,200-meter race, the girls high jump, long jump and discus, and the boys pole vault, triple jump and shot put will be decided today. All the other finals will take place on Day 2, Friday, again at Gustavus Adolphus.

One of Worthington's best hopes today is junior Will Dudley, who established a new school record in the pole vault at the Southwest Conference meet. Dudley's 14-foot, 1-inch vault is already better than the state standard, which is 13-11.

The top two individuals and the top relay team, plus anyone who meets the state standard, qualifies for the state meet.

"He's a hard-working kid," co-head coach Ken Henkels said of Dudley. "What I like about him most is he works hard at the sports he's in now and doesn't really worry about the other sports. ... He doesn't mix up his sports (out of season)."

In a track season that has come up a little short in team accomplishments, Worthington has several other athletes who could do well at the sectional level.

Ethan Spittle, a senior voted the most valuable member of the boys' squad, made it to the open 400-meter finals at last year's sectional meet. Nathan Landwehr, Gordy Moore and Ian Stewart have looked sharp in the 4 by 800-meter event and will pair with Oliver Wolyniec in that event. A freshman, Ammanuel Fissiha, went to state last fall in cross country and could do well in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter events. Brands says the boys 4 by 200-meter sprint relay team of Jessie Guerra, Troy Ektnitphong, Dudley and Spittle have an "outside chance" in that event.

Senior Whitney Coriolan, who is this year's most valuable girl trickster, was second in the True Team 300-meter hurdles. Tara Svalland made it to state last year in the high jump and has gone 5-4 this spring. Meydee Okello comes off a victory in the Southwest Conference 400-meter dash and also runs the 100. Allison Kremer, who is out for track for the first time this year, is performing well in the relays and the 100 meters.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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