Girls track: PA's Spanier, T-M-B's Ludeman return

LES KNUTSON Daily Globe PIPESTONE -- Returning for another spring season of high school track and field, Pipestone Area junior hurdler Maria Spanier headlines the list of returning girl athletes who will be competing in the Section 3A South meet ...

Daily Globe

PIPESTONE - Returning for another spring season of high school track and field, Pipestone Area junior hurdler Maria Spanier headlines the list of returning girl athletes who will be competing in the Section 3A South meet at Pipestone’s Paulsen Field May 21.
Spanier has medaled in the Class A state meet each of the last two seasons, finishing an impressive third last June in the 300-meter low hurdles, clocking a sizzling time of 45.90 seconds, after placing eighth in 2013 as a freshman in the same event with a time of 47.73 on the Hamline University track in St. Paul.
Joining Spanier - who carries on a stellar tradition of hurdling success at PA - will be eighth-grader Michelle Neece, who placed fourth last year in the 100-meter high hurdles at the Section 3A meet and also runs the 300s well. Both Spanier and Neece will help the Arrows form competitive sprint relays, while senior Elizabeth Swenson and junior Maya Bledsoe return as top-notch shot putters, as both girls made the section finals in that event in 2014.
Several other area girls placed at last year’s state meet, including Tracy-Milroy-Balaton high jumpers Kendra Ludeman (a sophomore) and senior Sammy Gervais, a pair of high leapers who helped the Panthers capture second-place honors in last fall’s Class A state volleyball tournament. Ludeman cleared the bar at 5-3 at Hamline, high enough for a third-place performance and Gervais tied for eighth (5-0).
Two Luverne girls placed individually at the 2014 state meet, as junior Morgan Edwards scored a fourth in the shot put (37-4) and eighth-grader Gabi Ferrell finished seventh in the 3,200-meter run (11:41). Freshman Madi Schandelmeier (one of Minnesota’s premier cross country runners) and eighth-grader Jadyn Anderson return, along with Ferrell, from the Cardinals’ 4x800-meter relay team which finished third last June at Hamline with a fine time of 9:35.
With a roster size of 41, Luverne’s primary emphasis will likely be to defend its 2014 Class A State True Team title, as the depth-filled Cardinals - year after year - seek to stress the team concept by striving to find at least two good performers in each of the 18 events.
Senior sprinters Tayla Peterson and Naomi Dooyema, along with senior hurdler/triple jumper Kynzie Smedsrud, are experienced track and field athletes who have consistently scored lots of points for LHS throughout their careers, leading LHS to numerous team titles, including last year’s Section 3A championship. LHS also returns sophomore Kami Sawtelle (discus) and freshman sprint relay runners Sierra Schmuck and Joci Oye with experience competing at Hamline.
Windom Area junior Amy Muller came very close to claiming a state-meet medal in 2014 as she placed 10th (top nine medal) in the pole vault, clearing 9-6 - 10 inches higher than she vaulted in the section meet. The Eagles also return sophomore distance runner Christianna Green, who has twice qualified to run in the state cross country meet.
Jackson County Central has a trio of fine hurdlers, led by sophomore Sophie Johnson, who also excels in the triple jump. Freshmen Brielle Scheepstra and eighth-grader Zoe Pohlman are a pair of promising young hurdlers, while freshman distance runner Jessica Christoffer (state meet qualifier in cross country) and freshman sprinter Alyssa Post (long jump and triple jump) are listed among the top Huskies this spring, along with senior thrower Jade Holthe (past success in the discus) who also runs a strong 400-meter dash.
Hildebrandt, Soutthivong return to lead Wolverine sprinters; young HL-O distance runners are good
In the Red Rock Conference, Mountain Lake Area returns senior sprinters Lydia Hildebrandt and Brianna Soutthivong, who have each been leading performers on several highly successful Wolverine relay teams. Hildebrandt, who usually anchors those relays, is a fine pole vaulter and runs a fast quarter mile. Sophomore sprinter/hurdler/long jumper Emily Jahnke also returns from MLA’s 2014 state meet seventh-place 4x100-meter relay team.
Heron Lake-Okabena freshmen distance runners - Cheyenne Schaffer, Brianna Preston, MaKayla Edwards and Rachel Salentiny - teamed together at the end of May last year to finish third in the 4x800-meter relay at the section meet, after winning that same race in the conference meet. Both Salentiny and Edwards have qualified twice individually for the state cross country meet.
Sophomore sprinter Nicole Thovson, senior middle-distance runner Sierra Van Iperen and junior distance runner Linnea York are three of the veteran performers for Murray Count Central, while Fulda brings back senior thrower Sydney Cuperus, senior triple jumper Sariah Cheadle and sophomore sprinter/thrower Nicole Madison with 2014 success.
Southwest Christian/Edgerton is loaded with a 36-member roster and the Eagles will build around a solid groups of sprinters which include sophomore Chantel Groen (28 individual points, plus anchoring the winning 4x400-meter relay in last year’s conference meet) and junior Lydia Homandberg (2014 conference champion in the triple jump). Groen won the long jump and finished second in both the 400 and 200 in 2014.
Senior Devin Bloemendaal, sophomore Halle Wassink and freshmen Emily Nerem - all of whom also high jump - each return with relay running experience, while senior Grace Buys, sophomore Elise Ver Hey and freshman Annika Brands lead the Eagle distance runners.
Hills-Beaver Creek senior Jenna Wilgenburg won the conference gold medal in the 800 last year and also placed third in both the 400 and the triple jump before running a leg on the Patriots’ third-place 4x400-meter relay team. Freshman Kourtney Rozeboom (shot put), eighth-grader Grace Bundesen (high jump), freshman Paige Tilstra (triple jump) and sophomore Hailey Leuthold (long jump) are other H-BC girls who placed among the leaders in their respective events at last year’s conference meet.
Senior distance ace Morgan Sauer is Adrian’s most experienced runner, having run in several state cross country meets. Seventh-grader Mariah Bullerman is also a top-notch distance runner for the Dragons.
Sophomore high jumper Rachel Kedl and eighth-grade pole vaulter Stephanie Amsden are quality field event performers for Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central, while Amsden, eighth-grader Vanessa Kedl and junior Kenzie Deprez return with the most experience on the track for a young Chargers’ squad which has no seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen on a 24-member roster.
While several schools have tasted competition in early-season indoor meets, the area’s first outdoor meets begin next week with competition at both Luverne and Slayton on Tuesday. Two days later, both Jackson and Mountain Lake host meets on April 2.
The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) has decided to combine the former Sub-Section 9 and Sub-Section 10 meet into one meet (the Section 3A, South Sub-Section meet at Pipestone May 21) which will qualify athletes for the state-qualifying Section 3A meet at Luverne May 28. This year’s state meet is at Hamline June 5-6.


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