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Sports: Freeman girls, Scotland boys claim Region 5B crowns

FREEMAN -- The Scotland boys and the Freeman girls continued their dominance at the Region 5B track meet Thursday as both picked up team victories. Scotland easily won the boys' race with 152.5 team points. Freeman took second with 111.5 points. ...

FREEMAN -- The Scotland boys and the Freeman girls continued their dominance at the Region 5B track meet Thursday as both picked up team victories.

Scotland easily won the boys' race with 152.5 team points. Freeman took second with 111.5 points. It's the second straight year that the Highlanders have won the region meet and their fourth overall after previously being in Region 6B.

On the girls' side, Freeman also easily won with 139 team points to second-place Freeman Academy's 104. The win was the Flyers' fifth straight girls' region title.

For Scotland head track coach Gary Pepper, it wasn't a surprise that his team ran away with the boys' team title.

"We were expecting to win, but not by that much. We had more points than we could have hoped for," Pepper said. "We've won four or five meets this year and we've had some kids hurt. We're still not at full strength. But we're hoping to by state. One of our best runners is Mark Sayler and he only ran two of his four events today. A couple of our other kids we held back just to rest them up for next week."

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The Class B, A and AA state meets are next Friday through Saturday in Sioux Falls.

For Scotland, Sayler won the 200-meter race with a time of 22.4 and his teammate, Dexter Grosz, took second with a 23.1. Grosz won the 400-meter race with a 51.9. Sayler set a Region 5B record with his finish in the 200.

The Highlanders also won the 800-meter relay (1:33.1) and the 1,600-meter relay (3:40.1). Sayler, Grosz, Steve Bloch and Cody Ehlke made up the 800 four-some and Grosz, Trevor Whitt, Pat Mach and Cody Ehlke made up the 1,600 team.

Scotland also got first-place finish from Dustin Barrett in the high jump with a leap of 5-8.

"We got a couple of surprises in some events and that helped," Pepper noted. "Dexter Grosz has been one kid that has been phenomenal for us. He ran against some good competition today and that's a good omen."

Sanborn Central's Tyler Grassel had a banner day individually by winning three events. Grassel won the 110-meter hurdles (15.9), 300 hurdles (43.3) and long jump (20-4).

Hanson got two wins in relays in the 3,200 (8:52.6) and the medley (3:48.1). Peyton Smith, Jamin Bridge, Jon Hart and Jordan Gau made up the medley team and Tyson Gau, Matt McManus, Hart and Chet McManus made up the 3,200 four-some.

Freeman head track coach Rory Hermsen said the running events were the biggest key to his girls' team finishing in first.

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"We scored there and our distance runners really came through," Hermsen said. "Hurdles were really strong for us with Jessie Waltner, too. Alia Soulek ran pretty well in the mile- and two-mile relay and she's been improving a lot. We didn't run our strongest relay teams today, but we still came out with a win in one of them.

"Now, we're hoping for a top-five finish at state. I think we have a shot to win it, though. That's our goal anyway."

Soulek took second in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:37.9 to Wessington Springs' Molly Kopfmann (5:33.3). However, Soulek came back to beat Kopfmann in the 3,200-meter run with a 12:25.9 to Kopfmann's 13:01.2.

Waltner took first in the 100-meter hurdles with a 16.2 and was second in the 100-meter hurdles (49.3) to Ethan's Shelby Andersen (49.2).

Freeman's relay win came in the 1,600 with a time of 4:23.5. The Flyers four-some consisted of Stefanie Soulek, Hillary Paulson, Dayna Peterson and Waltner.

Freeman' Academy's Nicole Windish was a multiple-event winner with first-place finishes in the long jump (15-10.75) and triple jump (32-9).

Ethan's Johanna Scheich took home first in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Scheich had a 12.4 in the 100 and a 27.0 in the 200.

Mitchell Christian will have one representative at the Class B state meet next week in eighth-grader Mariah Nelson. Nelson threw a 105-0 in the discus to take first place.

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Complete results from the meet are on Page 9.

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