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Track and field: Swanson sweeps sprints as MCC boys win RRC meet

In the Red Rock Conference track and field meet in Slayton Thursday, Camryn Bunting of WWG-RRC and Southwest Christian/Edgerton's Leah Buys (right) try and keep pace with Sommer Schaap in the 100-meter hurdles. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)1 / 2
Logan Knutson of Heron Lake-Okabena, in the Red Rock Conference boys 1,600-meter race, regains the lead over Murray County Central's Patrick Platt in the last moments. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)2 / 2

SLAYTON -- Murray County Central’s Ethan Swanson tweaked his hamstring in his first event of the day -- the 100-meter dash -- but it didn’t stop him from dominating the boys sprinting events at the Red Rock Conference meet on Thursday in Slayton.

“I didn’t want that to stop me,” he said. “I pushed my hardest to get through the pain. I put some pain reliever on that. In the 400, it really hurt and I had to push through it on the 200 too.”

Swanson set a new personal record on the way to a first-place finish in the 100, finishing in 11.40 and besting his old best time of 11.44. He also won the 200 (23.33) and the 400 (52.8).

In the 400, he barely edged out Mountain Lake Area’s Reynaldo Capetillo with a strong finish. Capetillo also came in right behind Swanson in the 200, finishing in 23.88.

“He for sure pushed  me today,” Swanson said of Capetillo. “In the 400, he pushed me to the max. I was dead after that 400, he really pushed me.”

Swanson’s efforts helped the Rebels secure a conference championship, winning the meet with 172.5 points. Southwest Christian/Edgerton was second (102.5), MLA was third (102), Hills-Beaver Creek was fourth (81), Westbrook-Walnut Grove was fifth (57.5), Ellsworth and Adrian tied for sixth (53), Fulda was eighth (48.5), and Heron Lake-Okabena was ninth (28).

SWC/E sophomore Sommer Schaap ran away from the pack in the girls 100-meter hurdles, with a time of 16.96, well ahead of second-place Emily Jahnke of Mountain Lake Area (17.59). After what she described as a down couple of weeks, she seems to be hitting her stride just in time for the biggest meets of the season.

“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger since the start of the season,” Schaap said. “I’m really happy about that as we come into subsections and sections.”

Schaap was second in the triple jump (32-01), behind Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Ramsey Piotter (32-03), and third in the long jump behind SWC/E teammate Chantel Groen (16-01.75) and Hills-Beaver Creek’s 14-01.25. She was also the first leg of SWC/E’s first-place

4x200 relay team that finished in 1:54.95. She was joined by Sydney Van Hulzen, Leah Buys and Halle Wassink.

“I’ve just been trying to do well for my team to get our team points up there,” Schaap said.

She did plenty to help her team as the Eagles won the conference championship with 191 points, ahead of H-BC’s 110. Westbrook-Walnut Grove was third (89), MCC was fourth (76), HL-O was fifth (68), Fulda was sixth (65), MLA was seventh (62), and Adrian was eighth (31).

As well as her first place in the long jump, Groen won the 100 (13.18), 200 (27.54), and 400 (1:04.22). And Buys added a conference championship in the 300 hurdles (51.1) to her 4x200 win.

As a two-sport athlete who focuses on baseball in the spring, HL-O distance runner Logan Knutson hasn’t had as much success in track as he has had in the fall in cross country. But on Thursday, he won a pair of conference championships in the 1,600 (4:51.97) and 3,200 (10:47.54).

“Last year I got second or third in the two-mile,” he said. My track career hasn’t been as good as my cross country career, so I’m happy to get a conference championship.

Knutson led through all of the first three laps of the 1,600, but early in the fourth lap, MCC’s Patrick Platt passed him and pressured him to finish strong. And he did, as he ran away from his opponent in the final 200 meters.

“All I knew is that I had to catch him,” Knutson said. “I was going after the school record too, so I was going my hardest. I’ve always had a pretty good kick even when no one’s in front of me. I can kick it in the last lap, and then really kick it in the last 200.”