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Track and field: Fun in the sun at the Trojan Relays

The Luverne Cardinals' Regan Feit hands the baton to Jadyn Anderson to begin the second leg of the girls 4x800 relay Tuesday at the Trojan Relays. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)1 / 4
Windom Area thrower Delaney Smith makes her rotation and gets set to release the discus at the Trojan Relays. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)2 / 4
Worthington Trojan Stewart Merrigan (foreground) in the 4x800 relay takes the baton from teammate Ammanuel Ojha. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)3 / 4
On a beautifully warm day, athletes relax in the shade in their camps Tuesday afternoon at the Trojan Relays. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)4 / 4

WORTHINGTON -- The weather was warm -- even hot -- at the 66th running of the Trojan Relays on Tuesday. So warm, in fact, that the athletes who competed in the event had to be reminded to take water breaks.

Many of the times and distances were hot, too, a nice by-product after a first half of the spring season dominated by cold and snow.

As usual, the Luverne Cardinals girls were strong in the relay races Tuesday. But they didn’t win them all. In their first relay event, the foursome of Regan Feit, Jadyn Anderson, Tenley Nelson and Brooklyn Ver Steeg had to accept being a runner-up in the 4x800 to Marshall in Division AA. The Cards didn’t seem to mind, however, because they feel on pace to get to the state meet again this year where they placed sixth.

“I think we’re only going to get better this year. You don’t want to peak early. We did that last year,” said Anderson.

Indeed, Luverne’s best 4x800 last season was 9:36, logged at the very same Trojan Relays. Coming into Tuesday’s meet, the foursome’s best time of 2018 had been 9:50. They bettered that at the Relays this year, covering the distance in 9:39.47 (Marshall finished in 9:32.74.)

Three of the same four LHS girls who ran the relay at state last summer are back again this spring. That includes Anderson, who sat out the early part of this season to rest a strained hip flexor.

“I’m back to normal,” she said Tuesday. “Really focusing on the 4x800. Got some good young-uns (on the team). We’re going to try to be better than last year. … The 4x400 is also doing well. The 4x8 has always done well, so we like to have fun with it.”

Another area competitor who is definitely having some fun this year is Pipestone Area’s Michelle Neece. The junior won four events on Saturday at the Big South Conference meet (100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, long jump) and on Tuesday she started out by winning the AA 100-meter hurdle race in a breeze, finishing in 15.19.

“I want to make it to finals at state, and I hope to medal,” she said.

Another of her goals is to break the school record in the 100-meter hurdles, which is currently 14.7.

Also Tuesday in Worthington, Neece won the AA long jump in 17-2.

Worthington’s Obang Ojulu, always a threat to lead the field in boys 110-meter and 300-meter hurdle events, was very impressive Tuesday in his first hurdle race, the 110. Rolling through the race like a high-stepping locomotive, hitting a few hurdles along the way but never breaking stride, he won his AA race by a comfortable margin, in a 15.25 time.

Teammate Emmett Bicket was second in 16.41.

“It felt good. It felt like I was moving fast. It’s nice to have a nice day out,” Ojulu said. “I love it when the sun’s out. I usually perform my best when the sun’s out.”

Ojulu has dealt with shin splint problems through much of the spring season, but he said it wasn’t a problem on Tuesday.

It sure didn’t look like it. He won the 300-meter hurdles, too, in 40.06.

Another area competitor who enjoyed the warm weather was Windom Area freshman shot putter and discus thrower Delaney Smith, who continues to build on last year’s impressive eighth-grade season in the weight events.

Delaney threw 41-8 in the shot put to capture first place in her double-A division on Tuesday (her best this year has been 42-3), but she continues to be most satisfied in that she’s showing improvement from last year to this one.

“I’ve improved a lot. Last year my PR (personal record) was 38-7. I’ve improved a lot and I think my technique is a lot stronger. I’m being more consistent in my meets,” she explained, adding that she’s only a couple of inches off the school record and she hopes to see that fall sometime in the future.

And how has she improved? She’s getting across the ring faster, and, she said, “doing the little things right.”

She also won the AA girls discus throw on Tuesday, in 111-1.

Teams were divided into AA and A at the Relays, with eight teams in each class. Southwest Christian/Edgerton won the Class A boys team title with 173.5 points with Murray County Central coming in second with 103.5. On the girls’ side, Southwest Christian/Edgerton also prevailed, scoring 169 to second-place Hills-Beaver Creek’s 120.

In Class AA, Worthington was the boys’ winner with 143 points, solidly ahead of second-place Marshall’s 125 and third-place New Ulm’s 98. Luverne won the AA girls crown with 116, and New Ulm was second with 100.5.

The Luverne girls still won their fair share of relay races, capturing their class in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400.

Worthington’s Taylor Eggers flowed to victory in the AA 100-meter dash in 13-flat, and she also won the 200 meters in 26.34.

In Division A, H-BC’s Taryn Rauk won both the 100 (13.57) and the 200 (28.10), and teammate Kourtney Rozeboom won the shot put (40-9) and discus (121-2). Morgan Gehl of Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda was a double winner in the 1600-meter run (5:15.64) and 3200-meter run (11:18.16).

In Division A boys’ events, Westbrook-Walnut Grove’s Cody Willard was a double-winner with wins in the 100 meters (11.58) and 200 meters (23.53).

Worthington had teams in A and AA. Worthington’s Andrew Huber was a winner in the Division A 800 meters (2:11.74). The Trojans’ Adam Koller won the AA 1600-meter race in 4:54.78. Another Trojan, Bryce Olsen, won the AA discus with a 139-4 throw.

Pipestone Area’s Tyl Woelber secured the AA high jump (6-4), the long jump (22-0.5) and the triple jump (44-5.5).

Go online at athletic.net for complete Trojan Relays results.

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.

(507) 376-7328
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