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Track and field: Trojan Relays ready to begin

LES KNUTSONDaily Globe WORTHINGTON -- With sunny skies and temperatures ranging from the low to mid 60s predicted -- with zero chance of rain -- the 64th annual Trojan Relays should be a pleasant experience for athletes, coaches, meet workers and...

LES KNUTSON
Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON - With sunny skies and temperatures ranging from the low to mid 60s predicted - with zero chance of rain - the 64th annual Trojan Relays should be a pleasant experience for athletes, coaches, meet workers and fans.
The huge two-class high school track and field extravaganza at Trojan Field is scheduled to start this afternoon (Tuesday, May 17) at 4 p.m. with several field events and the running of the girls’ 4x800-meter relay.
Events will follow the standard order with the boys’ 4x400-meter relay slated for an 8:40 p.m. gun time.
“We will follow a rolling schedule,” said Worthington High School co-head coach and co-meet director Ken Henkels. “So the time schedule on the meet program is an approximate estimate. Events could start a bit earlier or later, but races should start close to the listed times.”
A total of 16 teams will be involved in the meet, with eight full squads - girls and boys - participating in each class, meaning there will be four levels of competition. Several events, including all four relays, will feature four races or heats, while some of the individual races will have even more heats.
Competing in Class AA, the larger schools, are Jackson County Central, Luverne, Marshall, New Ulm, Pipestone Area, Redwood Valley, St. Peter and Worthington.
“We really like the Trojan Relays,” says PA head coach Todd Tinklenberg. “It’s the last big meet before sub-section when we need to have our kids ready to perform at their highest. The level of competition at the Trojan Relays provides the atmosphere for athletes to perform at their best.”
The Arrows will bring several of the area’s most gifted track and field performers to the meet, including senior sprinter Eli Stevens, sophomore jumper Tyl Woelber, sophomore distance ace Michael Suda and junior hurdler Justin Kooiman on the boys’ side, which will compete in this year’s Class A State True Team Meet (Saturday at Stillwater) after winning the Section 3A title May 9 at Pipestone.
Redwood Valley, which edged PA for the Big South Conference (Small-School Division) boys’ team title May 14, is loaded with exceptional athletes, too, including senior sprinter/jumper Cade Johnson, who has gone close to 22 feet in the long jump and has cleared 6-6 in the high jump. Cardinal sophomore Logan Josephson is also a top-notch sprinter and long jumper.
Marshall sprinters Coby Hilton and Jefferson Lee finished 1-2 in the BSC’s (Large School) 100-meter dash and had times very close to Stevens in the 200.
“There should be some great races in the sprints,” declared Henkels. “There are several real fast guys coming to this year’s relays.”
Luverne’s girls, who won six of seven Class AA Trojan Relays’ team titles from 2007-2013, will bring a bundle of high-level performers today, including senior thrower Morgan Edwards and junior distance-runner Madison Schandelmeier. One of the Cardinals’ best athletes - junior sprinter/triple-jumper Courtney Siebenahler - will not participate today.
“Courtney’s been having a great season, proving to be one of the best triple jumpers in the state,” said LHS head coach Craig Nelson. “Unfortunately, she’s having some leg soreness and we are going to rest her today, saving her for Saturday.”
The Cardinals, who have been a perennial contender for State True Team titles, will go after another state championship at Stillwater and Siebenahler will be greatly counted on then.
“The Trojan Relays is always a well-run meet and track fans will see some of the best track and field talent in Southwest Minnesota competing,” summed up Nelson, who is retiring at the end of this season. “Our kids really enjoy the overall experience of the Trojan Relays.”
MCC boys, SWC/E girls look strong in Class A
The smaller schools - Adrian, Fulda, Hills-Beaver Creek, Murray County Central, Southwest Christian/Edgerton, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central and Windom Area - will compete in Class A.
Among the top Class A boys to keep an eye are W-WG/RRC pole vaulter Koua Vang, who recently cleared 12-6, MCC miler Jack Erickson, H-BC high jumper Zach Scholten, Windom miler John Irwin and T-M-B sprinter Josh Kirk. If Erickson and Irwin are both entered in the 1,600 (scheduled for 5:55 p.m.), that race may come down to the wire.
T-M-B high jumper Kendra Ludeman, Windom pole vaulter Amy Muller, SWC/E sprinter/long jumper Chantel Groen and SWC/E hurdler Lydia Homandberg are all high-level girl competitors with state-meet experience.
An interesting race could develop in the Class A girls’ 3,200-meter race between Adrian eighth-grader Moriah Bullermand and Fulda seventh-grader Morgan Gehl, who have each burst on the distance-running scene with great success in both track and cross country.
Both MCC’s boys and SWC/E’s girls made strong showings in the recent Section 3A True Team Meet and are likely favorites to repeat the team titles they earned at the 2015 Trojan Relays.
Henkels and his partner, Trojan co-head coach Doug Brands, are again serving as the meet directors and former WHS track and field coaches Larry Petersen (meet referee) and Mike Traphagen (official starter) will also among the huge work force at today’s event.
Brands and Henkels have lined a total of 39 people who will be working at various events, running the field events, supervising the exchange zones, monitoring the curves and handling the duties at the start and finish lines.
“It takes a lot of people to run off a big track meet like the Trojan Relays,” said WHS activities director Josh Dale. “Ken and Doug do a terrific job as meet directors of organzing all of this.”
Craig Kroger is again the meet clerk and Tom Ahlberg will provide the official results with the much-utilized FinishLynx photo timing system.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
What To Read Next
Thursday night high school sports roundup:
The Worthington Trojans girls’ and boy’s hockey teams both played home games on Thursday night. The girls’ team celebrated Senior Night and played the non-conference Austin Packers. Austin beat Worthington 6-1.
Trailing at halftime, the Worthington High School girls basketball team outscored Albert Lea 49-27 in the second half Thursday night in Worthington
The Minnesota West men's basketball team was defeated by conference opponent Rochester Wednesday night. Bie Ruei had a big night with 26 points and four assists.