The Relays: Worthington comes alive with color; Trojan girls set new school and Relays record in 4x100
Great times, great throws and the return of one of southwest Minnesota's premier track and field events happened Tuesday in Worthington
WORTHINGTON -- It might be said that twin sisters Ashley and Amanda Overgaauw are joined at the hip, but one’s hip is better than the other’s.
The Murray County Central star distance runners both learned a new nuance about sisterly love and support last year when Ashley fought through a hip injury during cross country season. Amanda provided all the support she could muster for her sister, who battled through her troubles the best she could.
“It was hard. It was difficult to do,” said Ashley Tuesday afternoon at the Trojan Relays in Worthington. “I would say I’m like, probably, 90 percent (now). I expected since cross country season it was still there. But I like how my body feels now. It’s getting better.
“Then, I could tell like I was running different strides. And now I’m running the same kind of strides as Amanda.”
The MCC juniors competed in their typical excellent, gutty way at the 2022 Relays under cool, overcast skies. Ashley won the small-school 800-meter race in 2:26.44 and Amanda won the 3200-meter run in 11:03.02. Ashley, Brylei Schreier, Abby Overman and Amanda also placed first in the 4x400-meter relay in 4:21.97.
Ashley believes she hurt her hip last year, oddly enough, because she took so many left turns during running practices. Because of her malady, her sixth-place finish in the state Class A girls cross country meet is worthy of lasting pride. Amanda, who finished in first place, remembers it was difficult watching her sister run at less than full capability.
“It was hard to see her. ‘Cuz she’s usually right by me, and she’s really just as fast as I am,” said Amanda, who also finished third in the state track and field 3200-meter run last season.
Both girls are MCC school record holders -- Amanda for the 3200-meter run (which had stood for 43 years until she surpassed it) and Ashley for the 1600-meter run. The two of them also part of the MCC 4x800 girls relay record.
Tuesday’s weather was welcomed by most fans and athletes, but it wasn’t perfect -- at least as Worthington sprinter Bailey Newman was concerned. The speedy Trojan won the girls’ big-school 100-meter dash in a time of 13.09, but if the air had been as warm as it was on Saturday at the Big South Conference meet, when Newman won the event in a personal-best clocking of 12.9, well, who knows?
“Saturday was better, but this one was good,” Newman said. “Saturday was the Big South meet, and I felt more pressure. So I finally broke 13, so that was good. I set a new personal record. It was really nice out. It was hot and I was definitely a little more loose.”
Ah, but the Trojans made more history at the Relays on Tuesday, as the 4x100-meter relay team of Newmanyou Gora, Newman, Pham Gora and Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor covered that distance in 51.34, establishing a new school and Trojan Relays standard.
For Luverne sprinter Ashton Sandbulte, who placed third in the Class A state boys 100-meter dash last season, the 100 meters was easily won the big-school event at the Relays in a time of 10.92. The powerfully-built senior, who is also an excellent football linebacker, looked as sharp as ever, but he didn’t have much else to think about on Tuesday.
“I felt pretty good. I got a pretty light day today, because we’ve got the state True Team on Saturday. I stretched it out pretty good. I came out pretty good out of my blocks,” said Sandbulte, who usually knows if his start is good, the rest of his race will be good, too.
“Within the first five steps I feel pretty confident if I get out of my blocks good and I get in a good stride,” he said.
Other results of note in the Trojan Relays are, in the boys big-school division: Worthington’s Filmon Wolday in the boys 1600 meters (4:37.24), Worthington’s Abagotte Opiew in the triple jump (42-6.25), Worthington’s Marenono Opiew in the 300-meter hurdles (4:04), Worthington’s Fanuel Wolday in the 3200 meters (9:56.87), Dylan Serreyn of Windom Area in the high jump (6-0); in the girls big-school division: Tenley Nelson of Luverne in the 400 meters (1:00.10), Kaylee Walklin of Windom Area in the 1600-meters (5:18.65), Caiya Strasser of Pipestone Area in the 100-meter hurdles (16.26), Worthington’s Scheitel-Taylor in the 200 meters (26.64) and the triple jump (34-1.75), and Worthington’s 4x200-meter relay team of Newmanyou, Pham, Newman and Scheitel-Taylor (1:47.34); in the boys small-school division: Southwest Christian/Edgerton’s Micah Schaap in the 400 meters (50.16) and triple jump (42-11), Cole Boltjes of Adrian/Ellsworth in the discus (169-4) and SWC/E’s Grant Busker in the high jump (5-10; and in the girls small-school division: Taylor Wieneke of A/E in the shot put (31-2.5), Reece Wassink of SWC/E in the discus (105-3), and Hermella Suda of SWC/E in the 1600-meter run (5:50.14).
Sixteen teams competed in the Relays. Southwest Christian/Edgerton finished first in both the boys and girls small-school standings. Worthington outscored second-place Marshall 151.5 to 115.5 in the boys big-school standings. And Luverne edged Marshall 148 to 137.5 in the big-school girls standings.
Complete results are online at athletic.net.
The Trojan Relays, a prestigious annual event in Worthington for nearly 70 years, has undergone many changes since its inception. Interest began to wane in the 1990s before the cinder track was replaced with an all-weather track not many years before longtime WHS track and field coach Larry Petersen retired in 2001.
While cinders still ruled, Petersen said, “the Trojan Relays were hanging on by a thread. We had some teams that were loyal and kept coming back.”
In 2022, they’re all back.
Petersen, who still lives in Worthington, helped set the hurdles on Tuesday. He said the newest Trojan Field remodel, the last touches of which were finished before the 2022 spring season began, fills him with pride.
“It’s great. It’s just the way it should be,” he said. “In the real old days, it was one of the best facilities in the state, and I think we’re back to that now.”
Now, not just the track itself, but every part of Trojan Field, has got a high-grade upgrade.
“The whole complex. The bleachers, the press box and the fieldhouse,” Petersen said. “But I have no regrets about the way the facilities used to be. It was just the times, and we did the best we could. … And we had great kids. The kids are what made it.”