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Central athletes have big meet in regular season finale

Aberdeen Central’s Drew Salfrank, center, runs ahead of Pierre’s Josh Strand, left, in their heat of the 400 meter dash at the Al Sahli Invite at Swisher Field. Salfrank won the 400 at a meet in Huron on Thursday. Photo by John Davis taken 5/8/2021

HURON – Wind can be a sharp-edged sword at times, but it’s nothing if not indiscriminate.

So when Aberdeen Central senior Melanie Jacobs traded her distance spikes for a spot in the open 400-meters at Thursday’s last-chance meet in Huron, then turned in a minute-flat time to win the event, Central head coach Jim Appl turned to his team and said, paraphrased, what are you waiting for?

Challenge, as they say, accepted.

“It’s all a mindset in what you’re going to get done,” Appl said. 

And it worked. Abby Kopecky moved from seventh in the state rankings to second in the 300-meter hurdles, while the Golden Eagle sprinters also knocked time off in both the 100 dash and the 100 hurdles.

Central also had the top times in the 4×200 and 4×400-meter relays despite a faltering start to the former. Melissa Sandquist stumbled out of the blocks, but recovered to keep the Golden Eagles in contention.

But perhaps the most notable performance of the day came in the shot put. Grace Such, Taryn Nieman and Taryn Hermansen all posted personal bests and unofficially forged their way into the state meet field, Appl said. 

“We’ll be the youngest crew there,” he noted. “To have three young girls qualify in one of the events meant for older athletes is awesome.”

On the boys side it was Sam Rohlfs who set the tone for the Golden Eagles.

Rohlfs, a junior, won the 100 dash, the long jump and the triple jump Thursday. All three of his marks were personal bests.

“He had quite a day,” said Central coach Greg Murley.

Murley also pointed out Drew Salfrank and Collin Huff, who have quietly pulled the Golden Eagle quarter-miler group along throughout the season. 

“Drew ran a 50.88 in the open 400 in 15 mile-per-hour winds,” Murley said. “He had a heck of a race and had another good race in the 4×4. So he’s coming on strong. He’s a kid that flies under the radar for us, but he does lot of good things.”

Huff was fourth in the open 400, but Murley said his most valuable efforts came elsewhere.

“Colin starts all four of our relays,” he said. “He’s another kid that doesn’t get a lot of attention but does a lot of great things for us.”

Thursday’s meet was the final one of the regular season. Final state meet fields will be determined today.

To view complete meet results click on the following link:

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