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H-BC boys prove themselves at state track meet

The Hills-Beaver Creek football team last fall had speed in spades. But the pandemic put a stop to the Patriot power in a hurry. On a steaming hot Friday here at the state A boys track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville High, several H-BC boys earned a measure of vindication.

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(Joe Brown)

ST. MICHAEL — The Hills-Beaver Creek football team last fall had speed in spades.

But the pandemic put a stop to the Patriot power in a hurry.

On a steaming hot Friday here at the state A boys track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville High, several H-BC boys earned a measure of vindication.

“We made the small-town name proud, for sure,” said Gavin Wysong.

Wysong and teammates Dewell Rauk, Cole Baker and Tyson Bork combined to finish sixth in the 4x100 relay. That’s the shortest of the relays, filled with the top sprinters in Class A.

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The Patriots more than held their own, finishing sixth in the fastest of the two heats. Wysong said the meet was enjoyable for many reasons.

“Being able to compete without wearing masks or worrying about COVID precautions was nice,” said Wysong, an All-State quarterback last fall who will play running back at the University of Sioux Falls. “It was great to finish the last race like we did. You want to go out strong and I felt we did that.”

Tyson Bork played running back for the Patriots last fall, a team that was ranked No. 1 among Nine-Man clubs.

“With our football season ending like it did we weren’t able to prove how good we were,” said Bork. “But we were able to come up here and track and prove ourselves so there’s no question: we were one of the top ones in the state.”

Bork ran the anchor leg on the 4 x 100 relay. He also competed in the 200 meters. He’s elected to join the family farming operation near Manley.

“Farming is my thing,” Bork said. “That’s what I want to do.”

What the Patriots and their fans really wanted last fall was a state football championship. With Wysong and Bork leading the way, H-BC won all seven of the team’s games — by a collective score of 338-35.

But the Minnesota State High School League shut down the season after just one playoff game.

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“We were state champions in name,” Bork said. “But it would have been a lot nicer to prove yourself on the field, so there was no question and no doubt. I feel we did that today here at the track meet.”

Rex Metzger coaches both the football and track and field teams at Hills-Beaver Creek.

Several other southwest Minnesota athletes from small towns performed well on the big stage here Friday.

Pipestone Area sophomore Aiden Voss finished seventh in the 110-meter hurdles (15.88), while Jackson County Central junior Ridge Van Westen was 11th in the 300-meter hurdles.

“I’d never been to a state meet before and I was a little nervous,” Van Westen said. “But I have next year to look forward to.”

He said the spring campaign and its pandemic-caused challenges were unique, but memorable just the same.

“It was awesome,” said Van Westen, who plans to play wide receiver on the Huskies’ football team this fall. “Almost every race I improved.”

He believes the best is yet to come.

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“That’s right,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being back here next year.”

Also performing well were Jackson County Central senior Trevin Ssali-Gaustad in the 110-meter hurdles (11th in 16.31), Windom Area junior Dylan Serreyn in the high jump (11th at 6-0) and Luverne junior Eli Radtke (12th in pole vault at 12-0).

Other state A highlights included impressive winning efforts by senior Will Tschetter of Stevensville in the discus (175-07) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton junior Tony Nelson in the shot put (59-2.25).

Tschetter is a 6-foot-9 University of Michigan basketball recruit, while Nelson, a 6-6, 265-pound offensive tackle, has committed to the University of Minnesota.

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