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Chamberlain's Byers eager to shine in season's final track meets

CHAMBERLAIN--It's been an extra-long winter for Chamberlain's Ella Byers. The standout freshman distance runner wasn't able to run for the Cubs until the Southeast South Dakota Conference meet on May 10 in Winner. Byers suffered an injury in the ...

CHAMBERLAIN-It's been an extra-long winter for Chamberlain's Ella Byers.

The standout freshman distance runner wasn't able to run for the Cubs until the Southeast South Dakota Conference meet on May 10 in Winner. Byers suffered an injury in the winter after stepping off a treadmill wrong, according to Chamberlain track and field head coach Jerry Rhodes Jr.

"I know she's been frustrated," Rhodes said about Byers' nagging injury. "That caused some stress for her because she couldn't compete for most of the season. She's been rehabbing and training to get back to where she needs to be. I know she's happy to be back competing."

After sitting out the first month of the track and field season, the state's top cross country runner is back on her feet chasing after the 1,600- and 3,200-meter state championships.

In her first meet back, Byers broke the girls 3,200 SESD conference meet record with a time of 11 minutes, 52.57 seconds. She also took first in the 1,600 (5:25.50) and both times were good enough to qualify for the state meet, which will be held May 27-28 in Madison and Sioux Falls.

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"First time she gets to compete and she qualifies," Rhodes said. "That's pretty cool."

As an eighth-grader last year, Byers took fourth in the 3200 at last year's Class A state meet with a time of 11:40.58 and eighth in the 1600 with a time of 5:24.06.

Heading into this week's Region 6A meet in Stephan, Rhodes said Byers will compete in both the 1,600 and 3,200.

"It's one week at a time and one meet at a time," Rhodes said. "The pressure is there from doing so well in cross country and then not be able to run all track season, the pressure is even higher."

Byers won the Class A cross country meet with a time of 18:41, which was the fastest time throughout all three girls classes at the event. Byers was undefeated on the season, including wins at the Central South Dakota Conference meet and the Region 4A meet.

"We're happy she's healthy enough to run and compete," Rhodes said. "We'll see what happens in regions and state."

In preparation for this week's region meet and next weekend's state meet, Rhodes said they don't want to push Byers too far. Keeping her health and energy levels high are the main concern.

"We are listening to her body and taking it one day at a time," Rhodes said. "This time of the year, workouts are more quality than quantity."

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When asked about Byers' goals for a state title in either the 1,600 or 3,200, Rhodes was quick to point out the young Chamberlain runner has high standards for herself.

"She is internally motivated like you wouldn't believe," Rhodes said. "She is her own worst enemy, I guess."

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELDCHAMBERLAIN
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