11 Mitchell area track and field talents to watch this spring

As a new track season continues to ramp up, several Mitchell-area athletes begin their pursuit of repeat state titles and top podium finishes.

Platte-Geddes' Lee Reiser throws the shot put in during the Class B track and field state meet on Friday, May 27, 2022, at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — As a new track season continues to ramp up, several Mitchell-area athletes begin their pursuit of repeat state titles and top podium finishes.

There are bound to be breakout performers along the way, but here are 11 area track and field standouts from last year to keep an eye on as this season.


Melanie Calmus, Howard

Last season, as a freshman, Melanie Calmus recorded a top-four placement in Class B at the state meet in all three sprinting events, including a runner-up finish in the 100-meter dash.

Among returning athletes for the 2023 season, Calmus had the second-best 100-meter time (12.62 seconds) last year, along with the third-best times in the 200 (26.19) and 400 (59.49).

Howard's Melanie Calmus competes in the girls 4x200-meter relay race during the Region 4B track and field meet on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Chester.
Mitchell Republic file photo


Berkeley Engelland, Mount Vernon/Plankinton

One of the elite short- and middle-distance runners in the state regardless of class, Berkeley Engelland is coming off a 2022 season that saw her win the Class A 400 and 800 meters with a runner-up finish in the 200 and third-place mark in the 100.

From last season, Engelland owns the best overall times among all Class A returning athletes in the 800 (2 minutes, 11.75 seconds), 400 (56.20) and 200 meters (25.59), with the second-best 100-meter mark (12.56). She’s also the anchor leg on the Titans’ 4x400-meter relay team that had the class’s fourth-best time last season (4:10.17).

The three-day state track and field meet concluded Saturday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls and multiple area athletes earned state titles in their respective class as well as MVP honors and Gold Medal Award recognitions.

Ashlyn Koupal, Wagner

Though just a freshman, Ashlyn Koupal enters the 2023 season looking for a three-peat in the Class A high jump.

Last season, Koupal’s leap of 5 feet, 7 inches that secured her second straight title stood as the single best mark by a Class A athlete all season.

A new personal best helped the Red Raiders' eighth-grader earn the title

Brandy Pulse, McCook Central/Montrose

The University of South Dakota track and field signee enters her senior season looking to defend her 300-meter hurdles state title in Class A.

Pulse posted the best time in the class last season at the state meet, winning in a time of 46.09 seconds. She also had the sixth-best 100-meter hurdles time in the class (16.10) and finished in fifth place at the state meet.


Lyman's Skyler Volmer approaches the bar during the girls' high jump competition at the 97th Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 7, 2022, in Sioux Falls.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Skyler Volmer, Lyman

Of the Class B athletes set to return in 2023, Skyler Volmer owns the top marks in 100-meter hurdles (15.88) and high jump (5 feet, 5 inches), second-best long jump (16 feet, 10 3/4 inches) and third-best triple jump (34 feet, 2 1/2 inches).

All four events saw Volmer finish on the podium at the state meet, as she was the runner-up in 100-meter hurdles and high jump, third in the triple jump and seventh in the long jump.

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Lyman sophomore Skyler Volmer has managed to be one of the top high jumpers in the state and ranks in the top four in all of Class A in triple jump, long jump, high jump and the 100-meter hurdles.


Jeff Boschee, Sanborn Central/Woonsocket

Having claimed the Class A high jump title as a sophomore last year, Jeff Boschee will be looking for a repeat this season as a junior.

Boschee’s title-winning leap of 6 feet, 3 inches was tied for his best of the season and was second in the class to another entrant on this list.

State track and field got underway Thursday in Sioux Falls

James Deckert, Ethan/Parkston

On the heels of a standout freshman year in 2022, James Deckert is one of the top field athletes coming back to compete this season.


Within the returning Class A ranks, Deckert owns the best distance in the long jump (21 feet, 8 inches) and is tied for the longest triple jump (42 feet, 8 inches). At the state meet, Deckert placed fourth in the long jump and was 13th in the triple jump.

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Deckert's personal best marks in the long jump and triple jump at the Wagner Relays put him among the best in the state with room to improve

Owen Eitemiller, Menno

Among Class B’s returners, Owen Eitemiller ranks at the top in pole vault with a height of 13 feet, 3 inches (1 foot, 9 inches higher than the next-closest competitor) and has the third-best 110-meter hurdles time (16.07).

At last year’s state meet, Eitemiller placed third in the pole vault and narrowly missed the final cutoff in the hurdles, finishing ninth.

Kade Stukel, Gregory

This spring, as one of the top senior sprinters in Class B, Kade Stukel will look to improve on a campaign that saw him post top-four placements in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash at the state meet last season.

Stukel owned the second-best time (23.03) in the 200 among all returning Class B athletes and the fifth-best time (11.16) in the 100. Additionally, Stukel was the lead leg in Gregory’s 4x100-meter relay team that finished as runners-up at the state meet last season and had the class’s fourth-best time for the year (44.95).

Lee Reiser, Platte-Geddes

With the Black Panthers making the jump to Class A, Lee Reiser will have to defend his Class B shot put title from 2022 at a higher division.

Reiser showed immense in-season improvement last season on the way to the state title, finishing with Class B’s longest throw of the season at 54 feet, 8 inches.


Black Panthers' thrower completes a successful May with Class A throwing title

Reed Rus, Mount Vernon/Plankinton

Rus enters his final sports season in a Titans uniform having posted the top leap in Class A high jump last season at 6 feet, 4 inches. Additionally, Rus has the best time in the class among returners in the 110-meter hurdles (15.29) and seventh-best time in the 300-meter hurdles (42.93).

At the state meet last season, Rus placed fifth in high jump and seventh in the 110 hurdles.

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For nearly averaging a triple-double while serving as a leader on and off the court, Rus was chosen as the 2023 Mitchell Republic boys basketball player of the year.

Dierks covers prep and collegiate athletics across the Mitchell Republic's coverage region area, focusing on Mitchell High School football and boys basketball and area high school football, volleyball and basketball, as well as Dakota Wesleyan women's basketball. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Gridiron Spotlight, producing video and providing live play-by-play for the traveling weekly prep football broadcast during its first season in the fall of 2021. Dierks is a Mitchell native who graduated from South Dakota State University with his bachelor's degree in journalism in May 2020. He joined the Mitchell Republic sports staff in August 2021. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @LDierksy.
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