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Track and field: W-WG's Runck finds his stride; Trojans win both team titles in Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- Here in the age of specialization, a little branching out can be a good thing. But Westbrook-Walnut Grove senior Nathan Runck is wary of getting too much of that good thing, and his experiences on the Chargers' track and field team...

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Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School's Nathan Runck finishes the 1,600 meter run with a commanding lead Thursday at Trojan Field. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

 

WORTHINGTON -- Here in the age of specialization, a little branching out can be a good thing.

But Westbrook-Walnut Grove senior Nathan Runck is wary of getting too much of that good thing, and his experiences on the Chargers’ track and field team last season demonstrate where he’s coming from.

At about the midpoint of the 2017 track and field campaign, one of his coaches told him he should try the high jump. So he competed in the event at Luverne and promptly came away with a neck injury. The setback caused him to miss, he said, “three or four weeks.”

Recalled Runck: “I did not hit the mat, let’s put it that way. … My neck scraped the side of the mat, and it twisted the neck.”

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What it all means, today, is that the W-WG distance runner plans to stick to his best events, the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs. Runck seems OK with letting more accomplished leapers jump over bars.

“He (the coach) said he wouldn’t put me in (the high jump) any more. I’m perfectly fine with that,” said the fully-recovered Charger runner Thursday at the five-team meet in Worthington.

Running in his best race, the 1,600 meters, Runck eased to victory with a time of 4:52.80 Thursday afternoon while increasing the distance between him and his nearest rivals with every lap. At the end of the race, while rain fell lightly at Trojan Field, Runck looked fresh.

“I started off a little bit slower than I usually do. But ended up OK,” he said. “The last race, I started off too fast, I think.”

Runck, who’s also a fine cross country competitor in the fall, hopes to get his 1,600-meter time under 4:40 this spring and qualify for his first state meet in June. Till then, he’s concentrating on keeping his feet on the ground while adhering to his simple running strategy.

“I usually like to keep not too fast a pace in the beginning, then I sprint the last lap. People are usually with me in the first three laps, and if they can keep up with me the last lap, that’s going to tell the story,” he said.

Team results from Thursday showed Worthington sweeping both boys and girls competition. The WHS boys scored 250.25 points while Southwest Christian had 171, Windom Area 130.75, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 56 and Adrian 50.

Worthington scored 197.5 points on the girls’ side, compared to 169 for Southwest Christian, 137 for Windom Area, 57.5 for Westbrook-Walnut Grove and 48 for Adrian.

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The Trojans’ Obang Ojulu, who won three events in Pipestone on Tuesday (110-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles and, with help, the 4x200-meter relay), won both hurdle races again on Thursday. He took the 110-meter hurdles in 15.57 and the 300 meter hurdles in 41.77.

Trojan Bryce Olsen won both the shot put (44-9.5) and discus (143-2). Worthington’s Tad Stewart won the 3,200 meters (11:28.16), and Sean Souksavath won the triple jump (36-10.5). The Trojan boys’ 4x400-meter relay team of Ammanuel Ojha, Pedro Manzanarez, Stewart Merrigan and Nathan Schuck secured a 3:43.81 first-place time.

The Worthington girls’ 4x200-meter relay team of Saida Garcia, Kara Thuringer, Emma Thuringer and Taylor Eggers easily won that event in 1:52.67. Worthington’s Sena Uli won the 3,200 meters in 12:53.71. Emma Thuringer won the long jump in 15-2. Eggers won the 100 meters in 12.94 and also the 200 meters in 27.07.

Back to the boys: Southwest Christian’s Jaden Bloemendaal won the 100 meters in 11.40, the 200 meters in 23.96 and soared to first in the long jump with an 18-7 flight. Teammate Joshua Raak was also a double winner, taking the high jump (5-9) and pole vault (9-0).

On the girls’ side, Windom Area’s Delaney Smith was a double winner, taking the shot put in 40-7.5 and the discus in 103-0. Only a freshman, Smith recently posted a career-best shot toss (42.3), which placed her just two and a half feet behind the school record.

Complete meet results can be found online at athletic.net.

 

 

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Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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