Tracking at Trojan Field: Big South meet, Trojan Relays next up in Worthington
Worthington will host a Big South Conference meet today (Saturday), and coming next week are the annual Trojan Relays
WORTHINGTON -- Critics rave about the new track and field facility in Worthington. The athletes love it, the coaches love it, and the fans love it. Trojan Field, in 2022, is as good a place to stage a meet as anywhere in southwest Minnesota, and there are bigger and better home meets still to come this spring.
The two biggest Worthington-based meets of the season are almost here. Today (Saturday), Worthington will host the big-school Big South Conference event that features the Trojans, Fairmont, Marshall, New Ulm, St. Peter and Waseca. Next week Tuesday (May 17) it will be the 68th annual Trojan Relays with Worthington, Adrian/Ellsworth, Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda, Hills-Beaver Creek, Jackson County Central, Luverne, Marshall, Murray County Central, Pipestone Area, Edgerton/Southwest Christian, St. Peter, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Westbrook-Walnut Grove and Windom Area.
Heading into the Big South Conference meet, Worthington will have several outstanding athletes vying for firsts. On the boys’ side, Abagotte Opiew is coming off a first-place performance in the triple jump at Tuesday’s Section 2AA True Team meet (43-11.25).
The section True Team is a highly competitive meet, one that WHS co-head coach Cory Smidt calls “very comparable to our section double-A meet.” The boys school record in the triple jump is 44-10 and Opiew has been working to beat it for the last two seasons.
“He’s got spring in his feet, and he’s long and he’s fast,” Smidt says about his jumping star, who is also a very good hurdler, as is his brother Marenono.
The Trojans 4x800-meter relay team has also been outstanding throughout the spring, winning events with apparent ease.
“We haven’t had anybody push us since the last meet (the True Team),” said Smidt.
Mikele Walu, Fanuel and Filmon Wolday, Mason Bobb and Ofbeka Morke are all excellent 4x800 competitors. Whichever foursome takes its positions, they, too, train in hopes of setting a new school record this year.
“They put in a lot of extra time, a lot of miles. And they don’t take days off,” said the coach.
Having a state record to shoot for is a bright and shiny object that athletes can use to push themselves farther when they aren’t always pushed in meets. The goal of a new school mark in the girls 200-meter dash is no doubt helpful to Worthington senior Brooklyn Scheitel-Taylor who also competes for firsts in the triple jump and some relays. Teammate Bailey Newsome, another senior, is also enjoying a great year in the 100-meter dash and in relays.
“Super years,” Smidt described their seasons thus far. “They’ve had great careers, too.”
The Worthington boys, who placed a strong fourth in the section True Team meet behind Mankato East, Jordan and Faribault, figure to be a strong challenger for the Big South Conference team championship. Fairmont, which is solid in sprints and throws especially, figures to be the Trojans’ top threat.
“We’re having a great season. I’d really like to try to win it. And I know they (the Trojan boys) don’t like to lose,” said Smidt. “There is one key ingredient. They like to work hard. And they sell out. They don’t like to lose. And they’re fierce competitors.”
Year in and year out, track and field fans circle the calendar when the Trojan Relays near. Over 67 years, it has been one of southwest Minnesota’s premier high school track events, and with this year being the first it will take place on Worthington’s newly-refurbished track, it’s as anticipated as ever.
Yes, the track is beautiful. But it’s the devoted workers that make Worthington meets special, said Smidt.
“The word’s already out. That’s why we’ve had four meets out there already. And it’s not just the kids. It’s the people who come out there and work. And we have the best,” he said.