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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.