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Items to watch at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays

The 2020 version of the prestigious track and field event was wiped out due to COVID-19. But it returns this year at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls and will again feature a host of the region’s best athletes.

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SIOUX FALLS -- After a one-year hiatus, the Howard Wood Dakota Relays are back on track.

The 2020 version of the prestigious track and field event was wiped out due to COVID-19. But it returns this year at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls and will again feature a host of the region’s best athletes.

This year, it will be a two-day high school division only event. The atmosphere is comparable to a state meet and athletes typically shine on the stage filled with top athletes.

Here are a few items to watch at this weekend’s Dakota Relays:

Special events

The special events -- boys 800-meter run and girls 200-meter dash -- are again filled with some of the top athletes across the state. The 800-meter run is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, while the 200-meter dash will follow at 7:45 p.m.

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In the special boys 800-meter run, Dakota Valley’s Tommy Nikkel, Spearfish’s Keenan Urdialis, Rapid City Stevens’ Simeon Birnbaum, Sioux Falls Christian’s Isaac Davelaar and St. Thomas More’s Cody Farland are among the runners. Davelaar (2:01.63), Farland (2:02.62) and Nikkel (2:04.49) have three of the top-four times in Class A. Birnabum (2:00.14) and Urdialis (2:01.37) have the two-fastest times in Class AA.

In the special girls 200-meter run, White River sensation Caelyn Valandra-Prue headlines the field. Fellow Class B runners -- Dell Rapids St. Mary’s Ella Heinitz (:25.34) and New Underwood’s Cerington Jones (25.88) -- will compete in the race. Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Ellen Merkley (:25.05), Sioux Falls Washington’s Nyanas Kur (:25.07) and Brandon Valley’s Meghan Walker (:25.14) are among the runners.

Evans in crowded 3,200-meter field

Chamberlain’s Kinsey Evans will face some of the state’s best in the 3,200-meter run.

The freshman distance runner has the Class A’s third-fastest time in the event (11:53.99). Hill City’s Abby Cutler, who has the Class A’s second-best time (11:11.55), is also in the race. Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Ali Bainbridge (10:46.72) headlines the event.

MVP girls, Hanson boys among top relay teams

The Mount Vernon/Plankinton girls are the Class A leaders in a pair of relays and will look to back it up at Howard Wood.

The Titans are tops in the 1,600-meter relay (4:18.89) and the 3,200-meter relay (9:57.61). The 1,600-meter relay final is 6:10 p.m. Saturday, while the 3,200-meter relay final is 6:50 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Hanson boys have the top marks in the 1,600-meter (3:40.64), 3,200-meter (8:51.64) and sprint medley (3:51.44) relays.

Fritz to face top sprinters

Winner’s Brady Fritz is among the runners in a host of top sprinters.

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The senior is tied for Class A’s top time in the 100-meter dash (:10.94), with McCook Central/Montrose’s Joe Loudenburg and Wagner’s Matt Link. They’all compete in the event this weekend. Fritz also has the fourth-fastest time in the 200-meter dash (:22.64).

In the 100-meter dash, Sioux Falls Washington’s Matthew Stahl (:10.85) and Viborg-Hurley’s Angel Johnson (:10.86) are also among the sprinters.

Fritz, a Dakota Wesleyan University basketball recruit, will also compete in the long jump and has the best mark (22-6 1/2) in the 20-person field.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
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