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Favorites emerge for track and field titles

Aberdeen Central’s Jacob Merxbauer leaps for the pit in the triple jump at the ESD Conference track and field meet at Swisher Field. The Golden Eagles figure to be among the top Class AA boys' teams at this weekend's state meet. Photo by John Davis taken 5/15/2021

Some team races figure to be tight, while others feature a clear favorite heading into the state track and field meet this weekend.

For the first time, the event will take place at three different locations both today and Saturday. Class AA will be in Sturgis, Class A will be Spearfish and Class B will be in Rapid City. Action starts at 3 this afternoon in each location.

Here are some projections based solely on times and distances recorded heading into the state meet. Keep in mind there is no way to account for injuries, illness, dropped batons or false starts. That said, here is a look at each of the six divisions and what may possibly transpire this weekend.

CLASS AA BOYS: This appears to be Sioux Falls Lincoln’s to lose. The Patriots are projected to score 124 points. No other team is within 25 points. The real race looks to be for second, where Sioux Falls Roosevelt and Aberdeen Central will likely be neck-and-neck. Roosevelt is projected to score 97 points and Central 96.

CLASS AA GIRLS: In the tighest team race in any of the divisions, this could be a photo finish. Both Brandon Valley and Sioux Falls O’Gorman are projected to score 139 points. No other team is within 45 points. If the title comes down to the final event of the meet, Brandon Valley owns the top time in the 1,600-meter relay.

CLASS A BOYS: Sioux Falls Christian is the team to beat here. The Chargers are lights out in the relays and are projected to score 117 points. Milbank Area appears to have the inside track on second. The Bulldogs are positioned to finish with 86 points.

CLASS A GIRLS: This could be another team race to keep an eye on. Custer is projected to score 79 points. That appears to be enough to win the state title. However, West Central should be able to win multiple events and will be close behind, projected at 68 points.

CLASS B BOYS: It appears that Viborg-Hurley has the inside track to winning this championship. The Cougars are outstanding in the relays and should win a few individual events as well on the way to scoring 77 points. Warner looks to be primed for a second-place finish, projected to score 59 team points.

CLASS B GIRLS: Colman-Egan will probably take all the drama out of this team race. With the ability to score in a variety of different events, the Hawks will finish with 110 points. The next closest team is Dell Rapids St. Mary, which is projected to score 70 points.

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