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Mitchell’s Rew already qualified for 100, 300 hurdles

Mitchell’s Ellie Rew finishes first in the girls 100-meter hurdles Tuesday at the Corn Palace Relays at Joe Quintal Stadium in Mitchell. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

Ellie Rew is the hardest worker Mitchell track and field coach Geoff Gross has ever coached.

The Mitchell junior works out before school at 5:30 a.m. and is the first athlete on the track and the last one to leave practice.

The fruits of her labor are paying dividends as she is in good form to start the season. Rew has qualified for the Class AA state track meet in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. She’s won the 100-meter hurdles twice this season and a 55-meter hurdle race indoors.

“Ellie has always been a pretty good technical hurdler, but now she is really strong and her speed has really improved,” Gross said. “She didn’t have the natural sprinter speed at first that would make you say she is a blue chip sprinter. But through natural determination and hard work, she has made herself into a great sprinter.”

Rew’s qualifying time in the 100 hurdles this season is 15.2 seconds, while her time in the 300 hurdles was 47.90. Rew’s time in the 100 hurdles is the best in the state so far this season. Harrisburg’s Haley Bruggeman is second in the state with a 15.3. Rew’s 300 hurdle time is fifth in the state, with Sioux Falls Roosevelt’s Valerie Moos at the top of the list with a time of 46.60. Both of Rew’s times were good enough for her to become an automatic qualifier for the Class AA meet. The automatic qualifying time for the 100 hurdles is 15.60, while the 300 hurdles automatic qualifying time is 48.40.

“I prepare for the 300 by running 400s a lot,” Rew said. “You have to attack the first hurdle in both races, but if you get to the first hurdle in the 100 you win the race.”

Rew said she has worked out with former University of South Dakota sprinter Michelle Munsen in the weight room and has followed the advice given to her by Gross and coach Eric Palmer.

Palmer has worked with Rew for the last year and half. Prior to her race Tuesday at the Corn Palace Relays, Rew and Palmer worked on her balance as she glided over hurdles.

“She is one of the most coachable people I have been able to work with,” Palmer said. “She is always willing to listen and make the most of every opportunity to get better, and she will without a doubt outwork anybody else that she is going to compete against.”

Rew won the 100 hurdles at the Corn Palace Relays with a time of 15.33 and finished third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 48.96.

“I feel like I am better than I was last year,” Rew said. “I have put in a lot of time in the offseason. I have a lot of goals that I want to reach this season, and it is going to take a lot of hard work to reach those goals.”

Rew’s top goal is to win her first individual state track championship, which has eluded her the last two years. Rew qualified for the 100 and 300 hurdles at the Class AA state meet in 2012 and 2013. She finished 15th in the 100 hurdles in 2012 and eighth in 2013. Rew took 16th in the 300 hurdles in 2012 and ninth last year. Rew said she is looking forward to getting back to the state meet and improving her times and position from a year ago.

“I know it is her goal for her to win a state championship, and she is making good progress toward that,” Gross said. “Ellie is a dedicated athlete and blessed with some good flexibility.”