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Athlete of the week: Winner's Kuil cruising past competitors

WINNER--Off to a blazing start to the track and field season, Cameron Kuil has put a strong claim on the title of South Dakota's fastest athlete. The Winner senior, who currently holds the top times in the state in the 100-meter dash (10.50 secon...

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Winner's Cameron Kuil competes in the boys 100-meter dash at the Class A state meet last year in Madison. (Eric Mayer / Republic)
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WINNER-Off to a blazing start to the track and field season, Cameron Kuil has put a strong claim on the title of South Dakota's fastest athlete.

The Winner senior, who currently holds the top times in the state in the 100-meter dash (10.50 seconds), 200 (21.80) and 400 (49.90), continues to solidify his claim.

On Friday, he continued his winning ways at the American Legion Relays by sweeping the 100- (10.99), 200- (22.44) and 400-meter races at the 13-team event, which included eight Class AA schools.

"He was really looking forward to the test in Pierre," Winner head coach Larry Aaker said. "He wanted to see where he was at and we're very pleased with him coming away with three first-place finishes there."

Kuil went head-to-head with St. Thomas More's Jake Aanderud, who shares the top 200 time with Kuil at 21.80. On Friday, in both the 100 and 200, Kuil was able to get the better of Aanderud by just three-hundredths of a secord in the 100 and 28-hundredths of a second in the 200.

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In both races, Aaker said Kuil's breakaway speed at the end made the difference.

"His closing speed, and the way he closes out races, is top notch," Aaker said. "It's unbelieveable. He's a fierce competitor."

For his efforts early in the season and Friday's performance, Kuil has been named The Daily Republic's athlete of the week, an honor voted upon the newspaper's sports staff.

The future South Dakota State University sprinter entered his senior season after placing in the top three in the 100, 200 and 400 at the Class A state meet last year. Kuil is the defending Class A champion in the 400 and Aaker pointed out everything Kuil accomplished as a junior was in half of a track season.

Plagued by injuries as a freshman, sophomore and half of his junior season, Kuil is reaping the benefits of a fully healthy season.

"Cameron is having a very solid season and we expected that coming into the year," Aaker said. "He's finally healthy and hopefully, we can keep him healthy. He's in pretty good shape right now."

With so much success in the first half of the season, Kuil will now have to find ways to better his times and possibly chase state records. With only four meets, including the Dakota Relays, left before regions, Aaker said there's still work ahead for his speedster.

"His weakness is probably his starts but once he gets going, his closing speed is unbelieveable," Aaker said. "He's really been working on the starts and he's gotten better."

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State meet records for the 100 (10.59), 200 (21.55) and 400 (47.54) aren't outside of Kuil's capabilities and Aaker believe's Kuil's best races are still in front of him.

"His times can come down if he keeps improving his starts," Aaker said. "In the 400, he's just going to keep getting in better and better shape and that time is going to keep getting lower."

Winner next competes at Cecil Johnson Invite on Thursday in Presho.

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