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    Inside the Huddle – SD State Track and Field State Preview – B Tourney Baseball Recap

    With the South Dakota High School State Track and Field Meet set for Friday and Saturday, a horde of runners, throwers and jumpers will descend on the Queen City and area. AA competition will be held at McEeaney Field in Sioux Falls with Class A at Trojan Field in Madison with Class B at Howard Wood Field.  

    In my latest blog, I provide a few notes and my take on what will happen at the South Dakota Track and Field Championships.

    Heading into the meet, Class B Girls favorite Ipswich, the 2013-14 cross country champ, received a little surprise at their region meet. Ipswich, which rolled up 116 points and ran away with the 2013 title, returned everybody, including two-time MVP Macy Heinz. A year ago, Heinz, then just an eighth grader, won the 400, and repeated in the 800 and 1,600 meters and ran on the winning 4x200 meter relay.  But at the Region 2B meet, it was Potter County getting the region title. The Battlers outscored Ipswich, 155-to-142. At that meet, Heinz won the 100 meters and set a meet record in the 800 meters of 2:16.84 as the two-time MVP affirmed that she is ready to go heading into the state meet. Despite the region results, the depth and strength of Todd Thorson’s Ipswich team will overwhelm other teams. Heinz is joined by Angela Heinz in the sprints, Tori Moore in distance events, two of the top pole vaulters in the class (defending champ Autumn Pitz and Kristi Pond) and a horde of talented relay squads. Remember last year, the Tigers had 79 more points than the second place squad - Parker. The likelihood is that Ipswich will again score in the 120 point range, leaving everyone else in the dust. And, Heinz, just a freshman, could win her third straight MVP. She would become the first athlete in history, according to my accounting, to win three MVPs by her freshman year. Regardless, Heinz and her teammates should put on a show. Heinz is the only athlete ranked #1 in five events, boys and girls, in any of the classes but can compete in just four at the state meet. She owns the top times in the 100-meters (12.1), 200-meters (25.8), 400-meters (57.9), 800 meters (2:16.90) and 1,600 meter relays (5:13.50). Tori Moore is ranked second in the 3,200 meters (11:46.50) but will be going for her fourth straight title and she ranks 6th in the 1,600 meters while A. Heinz is 5th in the 100-meters (12.6) and second in the 200-meters (26.20). As the battle for second place shapes up, perhaps Potter County enters the fray but look for Sully Buttes, Gayville Volin and maybe Irene-Wakonda, seventh a year ago, to make their bids. Irene-Wakonda will collect points led by Lauren Sokolowski, who is the best 100-meter hurdler (14.5) in the state as she proved in winning that race at the Howard Wood Relays. She could get the gold medal (best time in all three classes). Shannon Sokolowski will also score points in the hurdles and Andrea Sokolowski in field events. Gayville-Volin and Sully Buttes, which tied for third a year ago, will also tally up some decent numbers and likely push for second and third again. Gayville-Volin, second to Ipswich at the cross country championships last fall, will lean on 2013-14 individual cross country champ Laura Nelson, who is ranked 4th in the 800 (2:26.50), second in the 1,600 meters (5:18.10) and first in 3,200 meters (11:38.70). Genevieve Clark, second at the cross country meet, will also score points in distance events. Sully Buttes will also be among the leaders with a group of really strong sprinters – Bailey Bradford and Remi Wientjes among others --  and relay squads that will place high. Wientjes is 5th in the 200 (26.40) and Bradford, third in the 200-meters and both run on Sully Buttes' second-ranked 4x100 meter squad (51.90) while the 4x400-meter relay squad (4:16.0) is also second while the 4x200 meter squad is 4th (1:51.20).

    In Class A, St. Thomas More girls will look to defend their title, which they narrowly won over Sioux Falls Christian, 95.50 to 90.50 points a year ago. STM will be strong in the relays, where they are #2 in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 and fourth in the 4x800 meters and sprint medley. However, Sioux Falls Christian looks to be a big favorite with a large contingent returning and strength across the board in hurdles, sprints, relays and field events. Based on available rankings, SF Christian is projected to score well over 100 team points and could be in the 120-130 range. This is a team that owns the hurdles with Jordan Oostra, who was 2nd in the 300M hurdles and 5th in the 100M hurdles last year, and Shelby Zommermaand, 3rd in the 100 meter hurdles and 4th in the 300 meter hurdles a year ago. Oostra is #1 in both hurdles  events (15.0, 100M hurdles; 44.80 in the 300M hurdles) while Zommermaand is 2nd (15.1 at 100M and 45.80 at 300M). Sprinter Megan Veldersdyk (3rd in the 400 meters and 6th in the 200 meters in 2013) is ranked #1 in both the 200 (25.70) and 400 meters (58.60). Kara Koth is ranked first (17'06.75)  in the long jump (took second in the event in the 2013 state meet) and triple jump (36-02.5). Then, there is Allison Brooks who won the pole vault a year ago and is ranked first (10-01) this year. Brooks is also third in the high jump (5-01). Plus, SF Christian is ranked #1 in the 4x100 (50.40), 4x200 (1:45.10) and 4x400 meter (3:58.60) relays and third in the 4x800 relay (10:07.0) and sprint medley (4:26.20). While, they may not win all those events due to placing an athlete in just four events, this is a team that looks unstoppable. Veldersdysk is a strong candidate for MVP as is Tori Glazier of Custer, who is ranked first in the 800 meters (2:15.80) and second in the 400 meters (59.0) and third in the 1,600 meters (5:20.10). Led by Glazier, Custer, along with Madison, which is strong in the middle distance with Cami and Hailey Streff, will put up some team points but can’t match the power of SFC. Madison does have the top time coming in with both the sprint medley (4:20.20) and 4x800 meter (9:59.50) relays.  It should be interesting watching the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs where H. Streff and Vermillion's Maddie Lavin, an eighth grader and the A cross country champ, will battle. Streff is #1 at 1,600 meters (5:14.90) while Lavin ranks second (5:18.90). Flip them in the 3,200-meters where Lavin is #1 with her time 11:21.20 ahead of Streff, who is #2 at 11:33. Madison wil

    In Class AA, Rapid City Central and Rapid City Stevens should be in the hunt again for a state title and it could come down to the relays at the end. Sioux Falls Roosevelt could also be in the mix along with Pierre, which boasts the state’s top sprinter in sophomore Courtney Dowling, top ranked in the 100 (11.8), 200 (24.5) and 400 (55.60). Dowling, a leading candidate for MVP, is the defending champion in both the 100 and 200 and finished second to Sturgis standout Brooke Ireland in the 400 meters in 2013. Ireland, who is headed to USD, is #1 in the 800-meters (2:15.70) while holding the #2 spot in the 100 meters (12.0), #4 in the 200-meters (25.50) and #2 in the 400-meters (56.60). Defending champ Aberdeen Central isn’t likely to win it again but their championship a year ago broke the 17-year run of titles by RC Stevens & RC Central  Alexis Clark of Aberdeen Central is a field event dynamo and will score in three events. Of note, the RC Stevens Girls, currently directed by former Coyote Paul Hendry, have won 18 AA titles with six second place finishes since 1st year of championship in 1975. Since 1st year of SDHS Girls State Track Meets in '75, RC Stevens (18), RC Central (5), & Sturgis have won 24 of 39 state titles, so a little West river dominance has been in place in girls track. While Stevens doesn’t have a lot of strength in the field events, they will score some points there but it is the middle to long distances that the Raiders will rack up points. In the 800 they have three of the top four runners (Renae Dykstra, Emily Person, and Kendra Dykstra) while Tamara Gorman is ranked #2 at 1,600 meters (2nd a year ago at state) with a 5:03.20 clocking and #1 at 3,200 meters (10:42.60), an event she won a year ago. She will be pushed in the 3,200 by Annie Kruse of Yankton, who is ranked second and is #1 in 1,600 meters (4:59.50). Emily Person is another Raider who will score points in middle-long distance. Stevens will also score in the 300 hurdles with third-ranked Gabbi Demarce (46.70), along with Claire Deuter, 6th at 47.10; and Berkley Fierro, 7th at 47.30. Stevens also has the top ranked relays at 4x800 (9:30.5), sprint medley (4:16.10) and the third ranks 4x200-meter relay (1:44.90). In addition, they will likely place two in the high jump. Meanwhile RC Central, directed by head coach David Dolan, is very strong in the sprints, including short relays, and field events. The Cobblers ranked 4th in the 4x800 relay (9:48), 4th in the 4x200 meter relay (1:45.50) and 5th in the 4x100-meter relay (4:16.10). Ashley Solano will score in both hurdles while Maddison Sullivan is third in the 400 meters (57.80) and third in the 200-meters (25.30). In addition, RCC could place three in the 100-meters with Alaina Klapperich ranked third (12.0), Hailey Ogle, 5th (12.2) and Kiana Maxon, 8th (12.3). Colette Christensen is the defending champ and top-ranked in the high jump (5-07.5) and placed third in the triple jump last year. She ranks second in the long jump (17-08) and second in the triple jump (38-06). Speaking of the field events, keep an eye on one of the state’s top jumpers in history with Alexis Gannon of Brookings, who will compete for North Carolina next year. She own the state’s top triple jump in history of 41-4, which she set at a Yankton meet this spring. The mark ranks in the top 10 nationally. Gannon also ranks third all-time in the long jump at 18-11 ½. She will also run on Brookings 4x100 meter relay squad that could contend for a medal. The senior, who has recorded five of the top seven triple jumps in South Dakota girls track history, is the defending champ in both the triple jump and long jump and is another candidate for MVP.

    Class AA Boys should be a battle with Sioux Falls Lincoln and Sioux Falls Roosevelt, second a year ago to Sioux Falls Washington (138-to-102.5 team points) the favorites, with Watertown, Sioux Falls Washington and Rapid City Central as contenders. But this race should be Lincoln and Roosevelt which should end SF Washington's three year run of championships. Lincoln, directed by head coach Jim Jarovski, is particularly strong in the middle to long distances with three of the top five 800-meter runners - Free Bump, Ned Sudbeck and Nathan Schroeder. Will Lauer, 2nd in the AA cross country meet last fall, is ranked 2nd at 1,600 and #1 at 3,200 meters where he has a clocking of 9:05.5.  Throw in speedster Adam Belhaj (100, 200, 400) and top rankings in the 4x400 meters, sprint medley and 4x800 meter relays and this group could win a first title since 1989. If Lincoln prevails, they would have their 11th overall title and add to a growing 2013-14 trophy case. Lincoln won the AA football and cross country titles last fall and this winter and spring have added the State A tennis crown and the Class A baseball title while claiming second in AA boys hoops. That is quite a run. But to get to the first place podium, the Patriots will battle with Roosevelt, Watertown and RC Central.  Roosevelt , directed by head coach Jason Wagoner, has a great shot at their first title since tying Yankton in 2000. The Rough Riders have an MVP candidate in thrower Jack Lembcke, who is top ranked in the shot put with his 65-1 throw leading the pool by 11 feet. He owns the discus this year with a throw of 198-3 (2nd best throw ever in SDHS track), which is 39 feet better than second ranked Aaron Beaird of Rapid City Central (159-8). David Mulbah is another talented Roosevelt performer as he is tied for the top high jump at 6-7 and is #1 in the 200 meters (21.6) and 100 meters (10.4) and may be a candidate for MVP. Watertown is talented in the sprints, led by Joe Foley. They will be competitive in the short relays with points coming in the shot put (Michael Keogan, 2nd) and pole vault where Colton Jordan is top ranked with a vault of 15-0 (best of all classes). Rapid City Central is strong in sprints with solid performers in field events. Central, which goes for a seventh team title but first since 1997 (runner-up four straight years from 2005-08), will get points in the 110 meter hurdles from Talon Maxwell (1st, 14.3) and in the 300 meter hurdles from Alex Klapperich. The Cobblers sprint team is led by Quade Ruffin-Hill, who is second ranked in the 100 meters (10.5) and third in the 200-meters (22.0). Another MVP candidate could be J.J. Hejna of Yankton who is among the leaders in the high jump (6-7, tied for 1st), triple jump (45-8, 1st) and long jump. He could win all three events. In addition, Jacob Simmons of Sturgis has the top clockings in the 800-meters and 1,600 meters. Dan Marlette of SF Washington could score in three events including the long jump (2nd, 21-5) and both hurdles (1st, 300M hurdles, 39.8; 2nd, 110M, 14.8), where is ranked in the top two in both. In fact, SF Washington could dominate the 300 meter hurdles with Marlette, A.J. Breck and Tanner Waddell ranked in the top three spots.

    Class A Boys will once again be Custer’s to lose. A year ago the Wildcat dominated in rolling to their second ever championship as they outdistanced St. Thomas More, 108-to-58 with Dell Rapids at 56 and Madison, 53.5. Custer, which also won the 1981 track and field title, is loaded, led by Brennan Witt, who is the defending champ in the 800 and 1,600 meter. Witt, who was fourth in the cross country meet last fall, is also currently rank third in the 400. Custer, led by head coach Craig Black, also has 2013-14 cross country individual champ Logan Burns, 2nd in the 3,200 a year ago, ranking in the top two in both the 1,600 (2nd) and 3,200 meters (1st). Chase Glazier adds strength in the mid-distance and relays while pole vaulter Clayton Wahlstrom, second a year ago, is ranked first with a best of 13-9. Joel Thomsen will also score in the hurdles. Throw in the fact that the Wildcats are the defending champs in the 4x400M and 4x800 meters and will likely have two throwers (Angelo and Paul Climenti) place and the verdict seems set. However, keep an eye on Dell Rapids, which has standout sprinter Zach Schroeder who is ranked second in the 100 (10.7) and first in the 200 (22.2) and the top 4x200-mter relay squad at 1:30.7; second-ranked sprint medley (3:40.5) and third ranked 4x100-meter relay (43.9). The Quarriers also feature Brett Nichols, the state’s leader in the triple jump (45-10.5) and second in the long jump (22-2.5). Madison, led by sprinter and field event specialist Taylor Anderson (ranked 1st in the 100 meters, 10.4; third in the long jump, 21-8), has outstanding athletes. Rush Milne will likely place high in both hurdles. Hudson Priebe of Chamberlain could vie for MVP honors with Witt, Logan Burns as Priebe is ranked #1 both hurdles events (110 meter hurdles, 14.4; 300 meter hurdles, 38.7, which is the top time in all classes) and the long jump (22-3). A year ago he finished third in the long jump and 110 meter hurdles and second in the 300 meter hurdles. It is best to keep an eye on Canton, which could end up in one of the top three spots in the team standings. Led by Cody Majeres, who led Canton to an 11B football title, the C-Hawks will be tough in the sprints and short relays (ranked #1 in the 4x100, 43.8). Tyler Lems adds strength in the field events, owning the top throws in the shot put (53-9.5) and discus (171-10).

    Class B Boys – Herreid-Selby, the defending champ (71 points) looks every bit the part of repeat titlists as they are strong in the field events and hurdles. Herreid-Selby Head Coach Rick Quashnick has a squad led by senior Dakota Thorstensen is the defending champion in both the high jump and triple jump.  They also feature Austin Iverson, who is top-ranked in the 110-meter hurdles (14.7) and will also score in the 300-meter hurdles. Then, they have junior Cooper Schaefbauer, the defending champ in the pole vault (tied for #1, 13-0), who could also add points in the sprints. Herreid-Selby could also get points in the relays. Freeman, led by top-ranked Brennan Schmidt in the 400-meters, is strong in the sprints and is ranked in the top three in every relay except the 4x800 meters and will push Herreid-Selby as will Parker which has sprint, relays and field events power. Freeman, led by head coach Rory Hermsen, should also get points from Cole Paulson in both hurdles races As for Parker, Zack Anderson is tied for the best high jump coming in while Tristen Erickson ranks second in the 400 meters (50.3) and Michael Olson is second-ranked in the 800 meters (1:59.7). Parker, directed by head coach Phil Bjorneberg, also owns the top 4x800-meter squad (8:30.0) and the #1 sprint medley team (3:42.9). One of the talents at this year’s meet will be Jase Kraft of Wessington Springs, the 2013 state cross country champ, leads Class B in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter hurdles. A year ago he finished second in the 800 and 3,200 and won the 1,600 meters. He is a definite MVP candidate if he wins all three events.


    Baseball – St. Thomas More Wins 2nd Straight Class B Crown

    St. Thomas More defended its Class B State title on Monday, May 26, utilizing outstanding pitching and timely hitting. In the semifinals the Cavaliers upended previously unbeaten Parkston, 5-1, behind the solid mound work of George Ecarrius and a four-run fourth. 

    In the finals, STM scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 2-0 win over Madison in a pitcher’s duel between Travis Mills of STM and Jacob Giles of Madison, neither of whom allowed a hit over the first three innings.  With the win, STM won their 4th title in six seasons and affirmed the contention that they are the state’s top program.

    STM finally punched out a hit in the fourth. However, no scoring would occur until the Then, STM loaded the bases and Jacob Henderson scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch by Madison starter Jacob Giles. After a failed suicide squeeze, cut down one run, Mills had an infield RBI single to plate the second run. Mills, who started and went 5 1/3 innings, pitched in both games as did SDSU recruit Newt Johnson. In both games, Johnson closed the door on opponents. In fact, he entered the Parkston game with two runners on and one out in the 7th and promptly retired the next two hitters. Then, playing the role of closer, he snuffed out a Madison threat in the top of the 6th after the Bulldogs had placed two runners on with one out. As for Madison, they finished 8-1 as they struggled to get in games all spring due to the weather. Of note, the Bulldogs went 10 straight innings without allowing a hit. They have a lot of young talent and could challenge again. Maybe these two meet again next year.

    Of note was Madison’s advancing into the State B title game. This year, three Madison programs advanced to the championship with baseball joining the football team that lost 28-21 to West Central and the unbeaten boys basketball team that recorded a 52-48 win over Sisseton. It should be pointed out that all three Madison teams took unbeaten records into championship play.

    To get to the championship game, Madison’s Jacob Leighton pitched a seven-inning no hitter as the Bulldogs defeated rival West Central, 1-0. Leighton was dominating with 16 strikeouts among the 21 hitters he retired. West Central, which made their first ever appearance at the state tourney, rebounded in the third place game with a 4-2 win over Parkston, which finished, 16-2, losing its final two games after 16 straight wins. Parkston, which outhit West Central, 9-5, had a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning before things went awry.

    In Class A, the Sioux Falls Lincoln boys (14-3) won eight straight games and claimed the baseball title with a 3-0 win over Pierre.  



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