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Crago, Haring headline Kernel track and field team

After roughly four weeks of practice, the Mitchell High School track and field team is eager to start competing. The Kernels will get that chance for the first meet of the season today at the Dakota Wesleyan University Invite -- an indoor meet --...

After roughly four weeks of practice, the Mitchell High School track and field team is eager to start competing.

The Kernels will get that chance for the first meet of the season today at the Dakota Wesleyan University Invite - an indoor meet - at 4 p.m. at the Corrigan Fieldhouse at the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex. Mitchell, which qualified 31 kids for the state meet last year, has 30 boys and 32 girls on the roster for this season.

Two-time girls high jump state champion Carly Haring and last year's Class AA 400-meter dash runner-up Kyla Crago are the top girls returning, while boys pole vaulters Kiel Nelson and Sutton Carpenter, who finished sixth and seventh at state last year, respectively, return as individual state placers.

Third-year MHS head coach Joe Shepardson said the team began practicing on Feb. 26 and added the group will look to build strength and endurance up to the state meet, which is set for May 25 in Sturgis and May 26 in Rapid City.

"We're excited to get the kids out there and see what they can do," Shepardson said. "We finished really strong last year with a great state track meet. We want to build back up to that level."

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Shepardson noted the team only has been able to practice outside a few times due to cold and wet weather conditions. Along with today's DWU Invite, the Kernels will compete at the indoor Eastern South Dakota Conference meet on Thursday in Brookings. Mitchell's first outdoor meet is scheduled for the Huron Early Bird on April 6 in Huron.

While the Kernels can't qualify for the state meet at indoor meets, Shepardson said starting the season indoors has plenty of benefits.

"It will give us a better gauge of where everybody is," Shepardson said. "After four weeks of practice, it's nice to have someone else to run against."

Along with Haring and Crago, Shepardson said there's a number of girls he's looking forward to following, pointing to Tayler Factor (distance running), Sage Jorgensen (throwing), Tristen Hildebrandt (long jump), Rahni Vaughn (sprints), Hannah Sibson (sprints) and Caitlin Ostbye (sprints).

On the boys side, Shepardson said the Kernels will have 12 seniors competing and they'll help lead the team. Courtney Miller was a part of last year's 4x100 relay team that placed fourth at state and Shepardson said he's excited to see what Miller will be able to accomplish individually in sprints this year.

Sam Jones joins Nelson and Carpenter in the pole vault and Shepardson said all three athletes will push each other. Jacob Jarding and Jarod Uher will be the team's top middle distance runners, while Jared Mauer will be a distance runner. Seniors Tate Larson (hurdles) and Milles Rolle (triple jump) will look to qualify for state, while D.J. Krogman and Jose Tovar will each throw for the first time this spring.

Related Topics: KERNELSTRACK AND FIELD
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