Track and field: Performances outstanding at Section 3A meet

BY LES KNUTSON The Globe LUVERNE -- With the elite high school track and field athletes competing under calm and warm weather conditions at Cardinal Field Thursday, four new Section 3A meet records were set and the top two finishers in each of th...


The Globe

LUVERNE -- With the elite high school track and field athletes competing under calm and warm weather conditions at Cardinal Field Thursday, four new Section 3A meet records were set and the top two finishers in each of the 36 events earned qualification to next week’s Minnesota State Meet at Hamline University in St. Paul.

There were numerous exciting races in the high-caliber meet, including a pair of close finishes between Pipestone Area and Ellsworth sprinters in both the boys’ 4x200-meter and 4x100-meter relays.

“We’ve been that close the last several meets,” said PA head coach Todd Tinklenberg. “We have had just enough to finish ahead of them -- by just a little bit.”


The Arrows edged the Panthers in the 4x200 as both teams bettered the existing meet record of 1:31.81 set 11 years ago in 2008 by Worthington when the Trojans were competing in Class A.

The new record of 1:30.83 was run by the foursome of Carter Nesvold, Cole Doppenberg, Jason Steenstra and Devin Tinklenberg. Exchanging the baton for the Panthers were Sean Boltjes, Noah Kruse, Robby Armstrong and Kade Boltjes, clocked at 1:30.88.

Both record-setting relay teams will advance to Hamline where they may chase each other one more time.

After finishing neck-and-neck at the front of the 4x200, the Arrows and Panthers emerged in the lead in the quick-paced 4x100 where handoffs are crucial. Both teams had good exchanges and once again anchor runners Tinklenberg and Kade Boltjes raced hard to the finish.

Pipestone (Nesvold, Braeden Benz, Steenstra and Tinklenberg) won the race, clocked at 43.89, while Ellsworth (Sean Boltjes, Kruse, Cole Boltjes and Kade Boltjes) had a time of 44.00.

“We dropped our times in both races,” summed up third-year Ellsworth head coach Ethan Van Briesen, who has done a remarkable job creating interest and building the program at the small school near the Iowa border. “We did our job and what needed to be done, but Pipestone -- again -- was just a little faster each time. It’s been incredible how close we’ve been and we certainly have developed a mutual respect for each other competing that way.”

Cardinal girls win seven events, Smith and Gehl set records

While those two relays were closely-contested, as were both the meet-ending 4x400’s, there were a few that separated early, including the opening girls’ 4x800, which the defending Class A state champion Luverne Cardinals dominated in meet-record fashion.


Running the half-mile legs for LHS were sophomore Regan Feit, senior Jadyn Anderson, freshman Tenley Nelson and freshman Brooklyn VerSteeg. Their winning time of 9:27.41 smashed the 10-year-old meet record of 9:35.46 run by Adrian in 2009.

That winning effort triggered an overall impressive performance by the Cardinals, who racked up 120 points and won the team championship by 43 points over second-place Canby/Minneota (77). Luverne won three relays (and finished second once, qualifying all four) and had four individual champions, getting 70 points from those seven gold-medal performances.

Jackson County Central, paced by the dual victories and 28 individual points of senior veteran Aleigha Henderson, finished third in the girls’ team standings with 59 points, followed in the top 10 by Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (58), Redwood Valley (51), Southwest Minnesota Christian/Edgerton (47), Windom Area (41), Pipestone  Area (32), Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda (30.33) and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (27). A total of 23 girls’ teams scored points in the meet.

“Aleigha was outstanding,” summed up JCC head coach Rafe York about Henderson’s day. “She won the long jump (16-11.75), finished a clear first in the 100-meter dash (12.84) and broke her own school record in the triple jump by about a foot-and-a-half, placing second (35-7.25) and qualifying for state in three events.”

Joining Henderson as two-event individual champions in the girls’ meet were stellar performers Delany Smith of Windom and Morgan Gehl of HL-O/Fulda. Both sophomores established new meet records.

After winning the discus (120-7), Smith set an all-time Section 3A distance of 42-11.75 in the shot put, bettering the old record of 42-8.5 held by Fulda’s Jenna Wendorff since 2002.

Gehl was chased by Canby/Minneota ace Grace Drietz in the 1,600-meter run, which helped her clock a new meet record time of 5:05.36, a bit faster than Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Julie Gifford ran the four laps (5:06.09) in 2001. Drietz ran an excellent second-place time of 5:08.28.

Gehl, who finished fourth in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at last year’s state meet, later easily won the 3,200 with her time of 11:14.80.


PA’s Michelle Neece (15.45) and SW Christian’s Sommer Schaap (15.83) finished an impressive 1-2 in the 100-meter high hurdles, each advancing to Hamline, along with Schaap’s teammate Kaitlyn Schuur, who won the pole vault as the only competitor to clear the bar at 10 feet.


Eagles advance both 4x800s, H-BC girls 4x100 qualifies as do LHS boys 4x800 and 4x400                                                                                                                                                      

While Luverne was convincingly claiming the girls’ team title, the boys’ team chase was not decided until the final race (the 4x400-meter relay) was finished. LQPV/D-B ended up nipping Redwood Valley by two points, 81-79, while SW Christian/Edgerton (68) edged Pipestone (67) for third.

Luverne, which qualified two relays to Hamline, finished fifth with 62.5 points, followed in the top 10 by Ellsworth (53), Canby/Minneota (40), Montevideo (38), JCC (32) and BOLD (28).

The Cardinals, with a gutsy effort by second runner Austin Winter and a strong anchor leg by Jedidiah Dooyema, won the 4x400 with a fine time of 3:30.75. Jordy Thone and Jonah Friedrichsen ran fast first and third legs, respectively for LHS.

Luverne (Winter, Brayden Tofteland, Dalton DeSollar and Thone) finished second in the 4x800 (8:23.90) behind SW Christian (sophomore Payton Bork, freshman Levi Van Dyken, junior Jonathan Eisma and junior Avery Pater) which clocked a season-best time of 8:19.45.

“We had excellent efforts all day,” declared Eagles’ head coach Brian Tschetter. “Both our 4x8’s advanced as we ran our eight best splits of the whole season. Both groups are awesome competitors who push each other every day in practice to get better.”

Running for the second-place Eagle girls in the 4x800 (10:01.13) were senior Audra Homandberg, sophomore Mikayla Johnson, sophomore Cybil Vander Top and eighth-grader Savannah Schultz.

Luverne’s girls won the 4x200 (sophomore Autumn Nath, junior Ivory Hudson, sophomore Gracie Zewiske and junior Sydney Biever) with a time of 1:47.97, while Hills-Beaver Creek also advanced with a second-place time of 1:49.39. Running for the Patriots were seniors Madison Spath and Sidney Fick, seventh-grader Layla Deelstra and sophomore Taryn Rauk.

Luverne finished second (behind RV) in the 4x100, clocked at 51.55 with the team of Hudson, Nath, Zewiske and Biever.

The Cardinals won an exciting 4x400 (4:05.01) with VerSteeg running an exceptional anchor leg after Feit, Nath and Anderson had each run well on the first three legs.

Individually, Mallory Thorson won the triple jump (36-4), VerSteeg won the 400 (59.37), Feit led a 1-2 finish in the 300-meter low hurdles (48.20) and Zewiske won a very close 200 (27.01) to lead the Cardinals. Gabrielle Ferrell finished second in the 300s (48.95) and Nelson advanced with a second-place finish in the 3,200 (11:52.36).

JCC’s Kendall Kaplinger placed second in the shot put (38-0.25) to qualify individually, as did Deelstra and Windom’s Gracie Bucher. H-BC’s Deelstra finished second in the 100-meter dash (13.04), just nipping Neece (13.05). Bucher held on to second-place with a stellar finishing kick in the 800-meter run, clocking a time of 2:22.38 -- five seconds faster than her previous all-time best.

T-M-B eighth-grader Jordan Munson qualified twice, finishing second in both the 400 (59.56) and 200 (27.02).


Bork, Nesvold, Tinklenberg, Pater, Boltjes, Friedrichsen, Hassing win boys’ events

H-BC’s Tyson Bork (11.36) and JCC’s Mason Stubbe (11.50) finished 1-2 in a very close boys’ 100-meter dash, Nesvold (22.69) and Kade Boltjes (22.75) were 1-2 in the 200, Tinklenberg (50.84) and Dooyema (50.98) were the top two finishers in the 400 and Pater utilized a strong finishing kick to win the 800, clocked at 2:02.57.

“Avery’s a fighter,” said Tschetter. “He had the lead, was passed and came back to win the race with his best time.”

Sean Boltjes ran a great race to win the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (40.54), while PA’s Benz also advanced by finishing second (41.49).

Friedrichsen cleared 6-3 to win the high jump and JCC’s Jordan Hassing leaped a school record distance of 21-1.25 to win the long jump with Kade Boltjes placing second (20-10.75).

Adrian’s Scot Edwards qualified by placing  second in the shot put (47-6), SW Christian freshman Micah Schaap advances in the triple jump (second, 42-11.5) and MCC’s Aaron Johnson qualified for state with a second-place time of 15.47 in the 110-meter high hurdles.

“Aaron has really been coming on the high hurdles,” praised MCC coach Tim Bobeldyk. “He beat his time by four-tenths of a second and just ran a terrific race to finish second among a bunch of good hurdlers.”

Benz will race three times at Hamline as his third-place time of 15.48 in the highs bettered the state-meet qualifying standard of 15.55. He joins Nesvold, Tinklenberg and Sean Boltjes as three-event boys’ performers at the state meet.

Kade Boltjes is the only area athlete who qualified in four events (long jump, 4x200, 4x100, 200).


Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
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