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MCS taking seven first-time qualifiers to Class B state meet

Mitchell Christian's Ashley Glanzer runs in the 4x800-meter relay during the Region 5B track and field meet May 16 at Joe Quintal Field in Mitchell. (Luke Hagen/Republic)

Seven Mitchell Christian athletes are competing at their first state track and field meet today.

The Eagles and the rest of the Class B field are competing at the state meet, held at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls. It's a two-day event that starts today and concludes Saturday.

As first-time qualifiers, Ashley Glanzer, Abbie Reynen, Devin Blindauer, Chandler Nelson, Ethan Cooper, Emily Reynen and Khiree Held all hit the big stage for the Eagles in individual competitions or relays over the next two days.

"I think it is exciting for all of them," Mitchell Christian track coach Bob Lemon said. "I know they are looking forward to the opportunity to be in the atmosphere of a state championship. ... It will be an exciting opportunity to run against schools that we don't compete against normally."

Mitchell Christian also has three returning state qualifiers, making 10 total athletes at the meet.

Abbie Reynen, an eighth-grader, will be competing in the girls' 800-meter run today, Blindauer, a seventh-grader, will run today in the girls' 3,200, while Held, a freshman, will run in the girls' 1,600.

On the boys' side, Cooper -- a freshman -- will compete in the 400 where he sports a time of 53.30 seconds. Nelson, a sophomore, is throwing the discus. Nelson comes into the meet ranked fifth in Class B in the event.

Joining the seven newcomers at the state meet will be juniors Aaron Lemon, Alexa Van Laecken and Becca Glanzer, all state returners for the Eagles.

Lemon will compete in the boys' 800-meter run today. It's an event he finished fourth in last year.

"I think individually they are set up well," Lemon said. "Chandler has been improving each and every time he has thrown. Aaron comes in with the four ranking, so he will be running in the fast seed of the 800, and that is a huge advantage.

"We are really hoping Ethan can get into the finals on Saturday and once he is there, he is going to be able to give his best effort."

Lemon also said the Eagles are looking to place in the relays for the first time in school history. No MCS boys' relay teams are competing, but the MCS girls will have three opportunities to get the job done over the next two days. The school's 1,600, 3,200 and medley relay teams all are in competition.

The 1,600 relay consists of Ashley Glanzer, Abbie Reynen, Van Laecken and Held. The medley relay is Ashley Glanzer, Emily Reynen, Van Laecken and Held. The 3,200 relay is Ashley Glanzer, Becca Glanzer, Abbie Reynen and Held.

"We have never placed a relay team at state," Lemon said. "We will have a couple of opportunities and the girls are going to have to run well, but anything can happen at the state level."