Kernels have 28 athletes qualified at Class AA meetTwenty-eight athletes will be wearing Mitchell High School track and field uniforms at this weekend’s Class AA state meet.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Twenty-eight athletes will be wearing Mitchell High School track and field uniforms at this weekend’s Class AA state meet.
The two-day meet starts today with preliminary races in running events and finals in several field events. Mitchell and the rest of the Class AA field will be in Sturgis today and move to Rapid City Saturday.
“This is always an exciting weekend,” said Mitchell coach Geoff Gross, whose team is represented by 18 girls and 10 boys.
Gross is looking for a top-six finish in the boys’ race. He said strong teams are Sioux Falls Washington, Brandon Valley, Sioux Falls Lincoln and Rapid City Central.
“After that, it’s kind of wide open,” Gross said. “There’s a group of about eight teams that could finish anywhere from fifth to 13th. It just depends how the weekend goes.”
The Kernels will have four boys’ relay teams running today looking to advance to Saturday’s finals. Mitchell’s mile and 400 relays broke the school records earlier this year.
The mile relay consists of Nick Kummer, Jade Miller, Austin Loes and Jason Greenway. The group, which set the record at the Pierre Legion Relays, holds a mark of 3 minutes, 23.4 seconds and is behind only Sioux Falls Lincoln in seeding. The 400 relay set the school record at the Huron meet last week and consists of Loes, Miller, Kummer and Justin Greenway. The team recorded a mark of 43.8 seconds, breaking a school record that was held since the 1970s, Gross said.
The Kernel boys will also be represented in the sprint medley and 800 relays.
Loes, Kummer, Justin Greenway and Luke Mauer will run the sprint medley and Mitch Berens, Tyson Allen, Keenan Shannon and Drake Johnson are running the 800.
“You have to run well twice,” Gross said, referring to the prelims and the finals of the relay races. “We have a very good seed in the mile relay and we should be in the driver’s seat as far as winning our heat (today).”
Individually, Jason Greenway is favored to win two events. He holds the top time in the 300 hurdles (38.8 seconds) and the top mark in the long jump (22 feet, 10 inches), a Mitchell High School record. He’s also seeded third in the 100 (10.7 seconds).
Kummer and Loes are both running in the 400, and Miller and Mason Wenzel are both running in the 300 hurdles.
The Mitchell girls have four seniors who will be at their final state track meet, and Gross is looking for the team to crack the top 12 places.
Seniors Lexie Weier, Shelby Gunsch and Tara Palmer will be competing in running events and Olivia Willis is qualified for the high jump. Willis’ top mark this year is 5-feet-1 in the high jump, and she holds the 11th seed and will compete Saturday.
Gross is looking for four of the five girls’ relay teams to place in the top eight. The Kernels’ sprint medley relay is seeded seventh and includes Amy Gaetz, Megan Farnham, Jesse Volek and Berkley Rietveld.
The 400 relay, consisting of Weier, Palmer, Farnham and Gaetz, is the eighth seed.
Kara Hanson, Ashley Larson, Gunsch and Weier make up the 800 relay; Naomi Munsen, Emma Schmidt, Volek and Farnham make up the 1,600 relay; and Emily Sudbeck, Schmidt, Volek and Rietveld make up the 3,200 relay.
“They’re all in the area where they can finish from fifth to 12th,” Gross said. “We need to perform very well to get the recognition those girls deserve.”
Farnham is also in the 200, Ellie Rew is in the 100 and 300 hurdles, Abby Sudbeck is in the shot put and discus, Taylor Volesky is in the triple jump and Weier is also in the 100 hurdles. Munsen is also running in the 800.
“It’s going to be really exciting to see the great performances around the state,” Gross said. “It’s a great weekend.”