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Berkeley Engelland, relay teams power Mount Vernon/Plankinton to third-place finish

The Mount Vernon/Plankinton girls track team took third place at the Class A state track and field championships on Saturday, May 29 in Spearfish.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton hoists their third place trophy following the second day of the Class A high school state track meet at Lyle Hare Stadium on Saturday in Spearfish. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Matt Gade

SPEARFISH - Ask the girls, and they’ll say it’s their coach. Ask coach, and he’ll say it’s the girls.

Either way, the girls are fully buying into the team mentality instilled on the Mount Vernon/Plankinton that head coach Lawron Bohr has talked about all season long.

“I really push a team atmosphere, so they don't let each other down,” Bohr said. “I try and train phases throughout the year too, and just sell it to the kids.

“They just absolutely grabbed hold of what I threw at them this year, and they loved it. Not just liked it, they loved it. And they took it to town. we're gonna have some great accolades when this is all said and done.”

“(Coach) talks a lot about mindset. I think we know more about how to run it than actually just running it,” said junior Maria Baker who was on all three gold medal relay teams. “I think we've gone through the race more than we've actually ran them. It helps us knowing what it's about.”

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Led by freshman Berkelley Engelland, and their relay teams, the Titans captured third place in the Class A state track and field state championships on Saturday at Lyle Hare Stadium on the campus of Blacks Hills State University in Spearfish.

Engelland took first place in the girls 400 meter dash and 800 meter run, along with anchoring the gold medal relay teams in the 1,600 meter relay and the 3,200 meter relay that competed on Friday.

West Central took first place with a score of 82 followed by Custer in second with 66 than Mount Vernon/Plankinton with 53 and Sioux Falls Christian at fourth with 50 points.

After setting a new school record in the 3200 meter relay by 15 seconds on Friday, the Titans were only seeded first in the 1600 meter relay on Saturday.

In the 400 meter dash, Engelland set a personal best by more than two seconds with a time of 58.27.

While seeded fourth going in, Engelland said after about the first 50 meters she never saw her competition the rest of the way.

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In the 800, Engelland while still tired from having finished the 400 a few hours earlier, Engelland was able to break free in the last 100 meters after trailing in second most of the race to finish with a time of 2:21.41 over Beresford’s Laura Bogue with a time of 2:22.10.

“I just really wanted to win it, so I had to go get her. I didn't really have another option,” she said.

The wins weren’t a huge surprise for coach Bohr.

“It just says a lot of how she believed in what we were doing this year. She works hard at all aspects of her track season, we thought she'd be kind of good in the mile run aspect,” he said. “But let me tell you, the 100, next thing you know she's sitting number five in that. So we tried to concentrate on the halves and the quarters just to see if we can have success there. We knew she was capable of doing some great things. And she proved it this week.”

In the sprint medley, the Titans were seeded fourth but freshman Emilee Fox wanted to do what was best for the team. So when coach Bohr told her that putting her on the sprint medley could help the team more than her competing in the open 800, Fox was all on board.

“I talked to Emily about running open half versus the medley and she just said ‘I want to do what's best for the team,’” Bohr said. “Going in, I didn't know she would be able to place 6-7-8 versus if she was in a medley, she would finish 1-2-3 and that would give us more team points. And she just wanted to do what was best for the team. And that's the type of girls they are.

The sprint medley team, consisting of Tessa Pickart, Kyia Schmidt, Baker and Fox, finished with a time of 4:22.10 over second place Sioux Falls Christian with a time of 4:24.71.

“That one was a surprise. The rest of (the relays) we knew what we were capable of,” Baker said. “This one, that was just a blessing in disguise.”

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Only 40 minutes after having just won the 800 meter run, Engelland ran anchor on the 1,600-meter relay team consisting of Fox, Reagan Rus and Baker where she helped the girls set a new school record with a time of 4:06.73 and secure a win over Hill City who finished in second with a time of 4:10.50.

All the hard work the girls have put in over the season and with all the members of the relay teams coming back along with a group of up-and-comers has the girls and coach excited for next year.

“I feel like it's really paid off,” Fox said. “It shows here that we compete every day in practice but we love each other at the same time. I'm really excited for next year.”

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
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