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Kimball/White Lake girls capture sprint medley relay for third time in four seasons

The WiLdKats won their second sprint medley relay in three seasons with a time of 4-minutes and 23.37 seconds, beating the Cardinals by two full seconds.

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Kimball/White Lake's Dani Deffenbaugh, left, and Kennedy Leiferman, right, celebrate winning the sprint medley relay on Saturday. Ryann Grussing is in the foreground and Christine Gaulke is in the background. (Ryan Deal / Republic.

RAPID CITY -- Dell Rapids St. Mary had the top time entering the Class B girls sprint medley relay, but Kimball/White Lake had a title to defend.

The WiLdKats won their third sprint medley relay in four seasons with a time of 4-minutes and 23.37 seconds, beating the Cardinals by two full seconds.

After winning the sprint medley in 2018 and 2019, KWL couldn’t successfully defend its title last season due to the pandemic. But the WiLdKats made up for lost time on Saturday.

“We had pretty good confidence,” KWL sophomore Christine Gaulke said. “Two years ago we weren’t ranked first coming in, but we still won.”

Gaulke ran the 800-meter anchor leg of the relay. She was able to hold off DRSM’s 800 runner Madala Hanson for the relay win.

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“I was really nervous not knowing what was going to happen,” Gaulke added about winning the relay. “But it was really exciting.”

Gaulke took the baton from 400-meter run Kennedy Leiferman, who knew Gaulke would close out the relay.

“100 percent,” Leiferman said about her confidence level. “She’s done it the last couple of years so I knew she could get it.”

Dani Deffenbaugh and Ryann Grussing ran the opening 200-meter legs of the relay. The very same quartet and in the same order won the 2019 title in 4:25.88. Leiferman, Deffenbaugh and Gaulke were on the 2018 title team.

On Saturday, DRSM entered with the top seed at 4:21.55 and KWL was second at 4:27.83. But KWL rose to the occasion on the state’s biggest stage.

“We know that we run better with a lot of crowd and competition,” Leiferman said. “I knew that we could do our best and pull it out.”

Leiferman is the lone senior, while the other three runners are all sophomores.

“I am really happy because it’s Kennedy’s last year and we just really wanted to go out strong,” Gaulke said.

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