SIOUX FALLS – Some set the pace, others rallied for dramatic victories, and all made lasting memories during the final day of the State Track and Field Meet at Howard Wood Field on Saturday.
Class B athletes found a variety of ways to collect state championships. Meanwhile the Ipswich boys and Northwestern girls both finished second in team points.
Aberdeen Roncalli’s Morgan Fiedler came up big when it mattered most to win the triple jump title. She trailed heading into finals before making a major alteration.
“My coaches moved me back to the 32 board and I haven’t jumped at that all year,” Fiedler said. “We were just like, it’s all or nothing. I’m a senior. Three more jumps, so I jumped from the 32 and that helped me a lot. That gave me a lot of momentum.”
It propelled Fiedler to a career best mark of 35-feet 10 1/4-inches and allowed her to add a Class B title in the triple jump to go along with the one she captured last year in Class A.
“It felt really good,” Fiedler said of her winning leap. “I just looked at where I was at in the sand and I was like that has to be in the 35s.”
Fiedler wasn’t the only one who set a personal record on the way to winning a state title.
Ipswich’s Ty Kadlec broke his own record as well as his school record on the way to the 100-meter dash championship in a time of :11.04.
The senior edged pre-race favorite Jovi Wolf of Chester Area at the finish.
“I had an OK start out of the blocks and I kept trying to be smooth,” Kadlec said, “and then at the finish I tried to lean so I could beat him.”
Kadlec said he wasn’t sure he had won the event until after it was announced.
“He was so far to my right I couldn’t see him,” Kadlec said of Wolf.
Kadlec was also part of Ipswich’s state champion 800-meter relay squad.
The Tigers again dueled Chester Area in that race and ran in a lane outside of the Flyers. That meant runners couldn’t tell where the main competition was at.
“With Chester right behind us and you can’t see them coming, it’s kind of scary,” said team member Turner Thorson, “but you just have to go all out.”
Thorson was filling in for an injured runner, so he was nervous heading into the finals.
“I’m a mid-distance runner,” said Thorson who ran the opening leg. “I usually run 400s and 800s, so this is a relatively new thing.”
The team was highly motivated to get the title.
“There’s two seniors on that relay. It’s our last day of track,” said Trevor Beyers who ran the second leg. “We’re just trying to run as fast as we can. It feels great.”
Third runner Colby Sylte explained the feeling he gets as he prepares to receive the handoff for his leg.
“When the gun goes off, I feel like I’m going to pass out,” Sylte said. “My arms go numb and then I see him come round the corner and it’s like, well no stopping it now.”
There were multiple area relay teams that collected state championships on the day.
Frederick won the boys’ 1,600-meter relay in school record-setting fashion in a time of 3:29.09.
“This has never happened at our school at state,” said anchor leg runner John Bretsch. “I don’t think any relay team has ever gotten first at state.”
The squad got a big second-leg effort from Stephen Achen, who explained his strategy in the event.
“It’s always about starting off as fast as you can, trying to reach the cones as soon as possible,” Achen said of the spot where runners can cut in on the backstretch. “My goal is to kind of coast along the backstretch and then kick as soon as possible towards the 200-meter mark.”
Brayden Sumption ran a solid third leg. The sophomore enjoys the event, despite how it makes him feel.
“I think this one is my favorite race. It gets me the most nervous,” Sumption said. “I throw up before every race. It just makes me feel better.”
The Titans got off to a good start behind leadoff runner Mason Hinz, who said all of the team members share a common trait.
“We’re a competitive group. Any day in practice we’re doing 300 sprints, or quarter sprints. We race each other to get better,” Hinz said. “I know the coaches bring a lot of passion to it, too. They match our competitiveness.”
A group from Potter County relied on divine intervention on the way to winning its 1,600-meter relay crown. Emma Schlachter fought off the field down the stretch on her anchor leg to secure the victory.
“We trust God. God is the only reason we won today,” Schlachter said. “He’s the only reason we got here. He gets us through it.”
Schlachter credited her teammates (Kirstie Lake, Rayel Persoon and Dannika Kaup) for putting her in a good position.
“They play the most important role,” Schlachter said. “They get me where I need to be and they’re always there for me. They’re awesome.”
Two runners added to their championship resumes from Friday’s competition.
Northwestern’s Ella Boekelheide rolled to the 1,600-meter run title after grabbing the 3,200 the day before.
The eighth-grader pulled away early and was never challenged after that.
“You just have to know what you can run and don’t hold yourself back to be with the girls that you think you can run with,” Boekelheide said. “You can surprise yourself every single race if you want to.”
Tri-State’s Kaleb Foltz won the boys’ 1,600-meter to go along with his 800 title on Friday.
The sophomore had his hands full before rallying for a victory on the home stretch, eventually passing Bison’s Lane Krautschun.
“Right at the 250, I always try to kick it,” Foltz said. “Once I got to that 150 past all of those kids, I saw that finish line and I kind of figured that I could get it, but I wasn’t sure if he had much left, either.”
Foltz later ran on the winning sprint medley relay team, along with twin brothers, Dominick and Jakobe Anderson, and Grayson Madsen.
Again, Foltz came up big down the stretch, passing foes to lead his team to the title in a time of 3:45.27.
When asked about keys to the race, Madsen responded, “Well, it really helps having a sub 2 (minute) 800 runner, that’s for sure.”
The squad also won the event at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays.
“We ran a 3:47 there. We came in with like a 3:53,” Madsen said. “After dropping that amount of time, we knew we had something good.”
Shawnteah La Croix had a big day becoming the first Aberdeen Christian girl to earn three places at a state track meet.
The eighth-grader finished third in the 200-meter dash, eighth in the 100 and ran on the Knights fourth-place 400-meter relay squad. La Croix clock a time of :26.62 to establish a new school record in the 200. Prior to the state meet, the old record was :26.85.
“At the beginning of the school year my goal was to get the school record. I wasn’t even in the 26s before I came here this weekend,” La Croix said. “(Friday) I beat it with a time of 26.81 and then I beat it again today.”
She said she tries not to think about the elite runners she is competing against at the state meet.
“I don’t really pay attention to the other girls,” La Croix said, “because then I feel like I really can’t do it. I just try not to think about it.”
Christian coach Sam Bjorkman said that La Croix has made big strides when it comes to her competitive nature.
“She’s become very competitive-minded in these races,” Bjorkman said, “and I think that’s part of why she keeps running better.”
Bjorkman said that La Croix is paying attention to detail which is paying off in results.
“She did the little things right,” Bjorkman said. “She’s a good listener and she is becoming disciplined in her warmup and prep. It’s so fun to see her rewarded with a very strong run.”
Roncalli competed in four events on the day. In addition to Fiedler in the triple jump, another highlight was the performance of the 1,600-meter relay team that was right in the mix throughout the race and ended up taking third.
“Like every year, it seems like the track season begins and then the state track meet is over,” said Roncalli coach Mark Stone. “We have been blessed.”
To see complete meet results, click on the following link:
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