Mitchell coach Geoff Gross has high hopes for today's Eastern South Dakota Conference track and field meet.
The Kernels will travel to Pierre for the ESD meet today with competition beginning at 11:30 a.m., and Gross believes his team has a number of individuals -- and relays -- with a chance to post solid finishes.
"Both on the boys' and girls' side, I think we've got three relays that have a very good chance of placing," said Gross, who is finishing his second season with the Kernels.
In boys' competition, Mitchell will look to continue the success it has had all season in the 800- 1,600- and 1,600-meter medley relays. Gross said he will mix and match the fivesome of Justin and Jason Greenway, Turner and Tyler Volesky and Blake Guymon in the three races.
The Greenways and Voleskys combined to set a school record in the 1,600-meter relay at the Howard Wood Relays in Sioux Falls earlier this month in a time of 3:25.53. That time gave the Kernels the second-fastest 1,600-meter relay time in the state this season behind Sioux Falls Washington.
Guymon replaced Turner Volesky to help the 800- and 1,600-meter medley relays place at Howard Wood as well. The four ran times of 1:32.50 in the 800-meter relay and 3:44.34 in the 1,600-meter medley, both of which are the fastest times in the area this season. The four also posted the best time in the area this season when they ran a 44.20 in the 400-meter relay at the First Dakota Relays in Yankton.
"For the boys, in the 400, 800 and 1,600, we're hoping to do better than just place; we're hoping to get a first or second, and I think we're running all those well enough to win them," said Gross, who, with the concern of low numbers, has focused on the relays throughout the season. "If we can run them the way we have been, I know we'll be in a good position (this) afternoon."
Individually, Jason Greenway is the favorite in the 300-meter hurdles. He ran a season-best time of 39.02 seconds at Howard Wood. Justin Greenway is expected to be in the mix in the open 200- and 400-meter runs.
Tyler Volesky is also a contender in the 400-meter run, while Turner Volesky will look to make some noise in the high jump and long jump competitions.
On the girls' side, Berkley Rietveld will anchor the medley relay team and Gross said the1,600-meter relay squad consisting of Megan Farnham, Lexie Weier, Jesse Volek and Ashley Larson has been improved as of late.
"We know where we stand with regards to the competition we'll be facing," Gross said. "It'd be nice, though, if we could sneak either our 400- or 800-(meter relays) in for a medal as well."
Volek will also be a factor in the triple jump and the 400-meter run, while Farnham will be in the field of the 200- and the 400-meter runs. Gross said Rietveld is one of many solid 1,600-meter runners in the ESD and Andrea Uher and Olivia Willis have improved enough in the high jump since the season began to be optimistic.
While he is hoping for a strong team performance, Gross said he is most concerned with his athletes posting their individual bests today.
"I'll take our (personal records) all the time and if we can put forth our best efforts, we'll take where we fall," Gross said. "Our bests are going to be good enough to take some of the top spots this weekend."