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Milbank Area sweeps NEC titles; Fiedler, Schwenn win four open events

Aberdeen Roncalli’s Ella Ulmer, right, runs with Milbank’s Laney Forrette, left, in the 100 meter dash final at the Northeast Conference track and field meet Thursday in Groton. Ulmer edged her twin sister, Olivia, to win the 300-meter intermediate hurdles title. Photo by John Davis taken 5/13/2021

GROTON – Milbank Area swept the team titles at the Northeast Conference track and field meet in Groton on Thursday with Aberdeen Roncalli second in both divisions.

The Bulldogs scored 218 1/2 points to win the boys’ championship. Roncalli was runner-up with 85. Milbank Area topped Roncalli for the girls’ crown 174 to 136.

It was another monster day for Roncalli’s Morgan Fiedler who won the 100, 200, long jump and triple jump. She also won four open events two years ago. The junior said it was more difficult this time.

“I had some pretty good competitors,” Fiedler said.

When asked which win was most satifisying, Fiedler responded, “I think the 200, because that’s only my second time running it this year. My time was pretty good; a lot better than my first one.”

Bennett Schwenn also won four open events on the day. The Milbank Area standout won the same four events as Fiedler did only on the boys’ side.

Milbank Area’s Nick Batchelor also had a memorable day. He won the 800, 1,600, 3,200 and ran a leg on the winning 3,200-meter relay team.

Batchelor overcame an early deficit and eventually passed Tyler O’Neill of Clark-Willow Lake to win the 800.

“Coming into the second lap I really didn’t think I was going to catch up to him, but he seemed to get hurt in the wind a little bit,” Batchelor said. “I thought if I passed him real quick, he wouldn’t be able to keep up and I just tried to hold it the last 200.”

Batchelor had a brief rest before heading back onto the track for the 3,200-meter run. He took control of that race on the fourth lap and cruised from there.

“It was really tough, especially after the 800,” he said. “I had 40 minutes of break. My breathing wasn’t too bad, mostly just my legs were tired.”

His seventh-grade sister Ashlynn Batchelor won the same events in the girls’ division.

“On days where I’m not very fast, she’s right with me,” he said. “We run together a lot.”

In one of the best finishes on the day, Roncalli’s Ella Ulmer held off her twin sister, Olivia to win the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.

Olivia cleared the initial hurdle first before Ella caught up and it was a battle from there.

“She normally has a better start than I do,” Ella said. “I was really happy for her, but I also wanted to do well. It was a healthy competition.”

Interestingly enough, the two were talking to each other in the heat of the race.

“She said, ‘Let’s finish it.’ I said, ‘Go Ella,’ ” Olivia said.

When told talking might slow them down, Olivia responded, “We were both talking, so it works out.”

Andrew Kranhold of Sisseton won the boys’ high jump in a closely contested battle with Tyson Huber of Clark-Willow Lake. Both jumpers cleared 5-feet 9-inches, but Kranhold won on jumps.

Huber nearly cleared 5-feet 11-inches, but the bar slowly came off assuring Kranhold of the victory.

“It was close. I was happy for him,” Kranhold said. “I kind of wanted it to stay up there to give me a challenge, but I like to get first, so I was kind of glad to see it fall.”

Kranhold said things need to be just right in an event like the high jump.

“If you’re just a little off, it could be an inch closer or an inch away, you’ll knock off the bar,” he said.

Gracelyn Leiseth of Hamlin set a meet record in the discus. However, it was her shot put win that she was most proud of “because I was more consistent and my form felt better today,” she said.

The sophomore said while there are similarities in the two events, there is more technique in the discus.

“You have to hit your spots properly so then you can have your form right and it will go further,” Leiseth said. “In shot put you can muscle it a little bit sometimes.”

Roncalli will compete in the Region 1A meet Thursday in Sisseton. Cavaliers coach Mark Stone was proud of his athletes’ performances at the NEC.

“Like always at a conference meet, we try to split them up a little bit with the idea that it’s the first meet we’ve been to where they’re going to score team points,” Stone said. “We probably did all that we could do and got as much out of athletes as we could. We’re really proud of our kids.”

To view complete meet results click on the following link:

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