Ethan/Parkston's Muntefering accomplishes dream of winning at Howard Wood RelaysSIOUX FALLS — On a day full of records at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls, Ethan/Parkston’s Alex Muntefering still managed to steal the show. The Parkston High School standout won the 800-meter special event in meet-record time Friday night, finishing in 1:52.46 to break the old record, which stood for 12 years, by 1.4 seconds.
By: Matt Bunke, The Daily Republic
SIOUX FALLS — On a day full of records at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in Sioux Falls, Ethan/Parkston’s Alex Muntefering still managed to steal the show.
The Parkston High School standout won the 800-meter special event in meet-record time Friday night, finishing in 1:52.46 to break the old record, which stood for 12 years, by 1.4 seconds.
Muntefering’s time was the second fastest in South Dakota prep history, and if there was a downside to his performance, it was that he removed most of the drama from the night’s most anticipated event by pulling away down the stretch. The University of Oklahoma-bound senior beat Sioux Falls Washington’s Casey Shade — who finished second — by 2.13 seconds.
Muntefering is the defending Class A champion in the 800 meters, but said this title, which came over the best competition from all three classes in South Dakota, was even sweeter.
“The state meet is very important to me, because of the team aspect,” said Muntefering, the reigning Gatorade South Dakota cross country runner of the year.
“But this here — the coaches knew it was for me, I knew it was for me, and that’s what made it so special.”
Muntefering was in third at the halfway point, but only a few strides behind Washington’s Shade and Pierre’s Alec Espeland. Muntefering began to make his move with about 300 meters left, and as he made the final turn with the lead, he began to separate from the pack.
“I knew I had the kick to do it, but I didn’t know what the other two guys had,” Muntefering said. “I started getting a little tired and I was worried Espeland and Shade were going to come up and pass me, but I gave a little bit of a glance and didn’t see anybody, and I knew the crowd was going nuts.”
Muntefering said Friday’s win was the pinnacle of his track and field career. It also must have been extra special for somebody who had to take time off from the sport after losing part of his big toe and sustaining nerve damage in his foot after a farm accident in 2007.
“I’ve been waiting for this since eighth grade,” Muntefering said. “All my training led up to this day.”
In other finals on Friday, Mitchell’s Caitlin Way was one of the favorites in the shot put, but finished second to Rapid City Stevens’ Kelly Herrmann. Herrmann won with a throw of 40-feet-9 inches, beating Way’s throw of 39-feet-7 inches.
“She never had a throw in the shot put or discus even measured at Howard Wood, so to see the success she had today was exciting for her,” Mitchell coach Geoff Gross said of Way, who missed the event last year with an injury. “She’s one of those athletes that knows the history and tradition of Howard Wood, and it’s nice she gets to savor in the success of the moment.”
Kimball’s Heather Spier, who came in with the fifth-best throw in the state, placed sixth at 38-feet-7 inches. Stickney’s Shelby Assmus, who entered the meet with the state’s second best throw this year, was nursing an injury, and did not place.
In the boys’ 3,200-meter Class B relay, the Mount Vernon team of Kody Weiss, Kyle Weiss, Brian Kluth and Jeff Miller cruised to the title in a time of 8:36.65, winning by more than seven seconds. Freeman Academy took fifth in a time of 8:54.48 and Wessington Springs took eighth in 8:59.96.
In the Class A 3,200-meter relay, Gregory won the first heat and took eighth overall in a time of 8:48.73 thanks to a strong final leg from Alex Chocholousek.
Chamberlain’s Connor Morley also placed in the long jump Friday. Morley took eighth with a jump of 20-feet-6 inches.
On the girls’ side, Marion took third in the Class B 3,200-meter relay in a time of 10:33.41. The Bears came in just ahead of Freeman Academy (10:34.64), which finished fourth, and Avon (10:35.50), which finished fifth.
Wagner took sixth in the Class A 3,200-meter girls’ relay in 10:31.51.
In addition to Muntefering’s Howard Wood Dakota Relays record in the 800-meters, one other Howard Wood high school record fell. Stanley County’s Sam Ostarello cleared 5-feet-9.75 inches to win the girls’ high jump, but was unable to clear the state record. Her winning jump went down as the third best in South Dakota history.
A pair of former area track standouts swept the men’s and women’s 400-meter titles for South Dakota State University. Bridgewater native Heather Wollman won with a time of 55.90 in the women’s race, and in the men’s event, Parkston native Luke Leischner won with a time of 48.76.
The University of South Dakota’s Tia Haines, a White Lake native, also finished third in the triple jump with a jump of 36-feet-7 inches.
A number of Howard Wood records fell at the college level as well. Jason Boeding of Black Hills State won the hammer throw with a throw of 181-feet-6 inches, and was one of four athletes to surpass the old mark of 168-feet-2 inches.
SDSU’s Ben Jasinksi broke the meet record in the triple jump by posting a mark of 51-feet-3 inches, and Emma Erickson, running unattached, set the record in the women’s 800-meter feature with a time of 2:07.14.