Dakota Relays Day 2 roundup: MVP surges to claim girls sprint medley relay in record time

Inside: Titans shine all over the track, Gregory flies to another relay title and more records tumble in Sioux Falls.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Madalynn Lorang runs the opening leg of the Titans' winning sprint medley relay at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

SIOUX FALLS — The Mount Vernon/Plankinton girls track and field team has its star power in Berkeley Engelland and Reagan Rus.

The two were all over the list of top finishers on Saturday at the 98th annual Howard Wood Dakota Relays. But along with teammates Madalynn Lorang and Alyssa Johnson, they provided a mild surprise by winning the Class A 1,600-meter sprint medley relay title and breaking the meet record in the process.

“I don’t know that everyone knew we were going to perform like that because we haven’t competed that much, we have some new runners,” Engelland said. “This is a big deal and for the young girls, this is really going to give them some confidence.”

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From left, Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Berkeley Engelland, Reagan Rus, Alyssa Johnson and Madalynn Lorang accept the Class A sprint medley team trophy during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

MVP won the title in 4:10.97, topping Sioux Falls Christian’s mark of 4:15.23. The Titans bettered their seed mark coming into the meet by eight seconds.

“They did a great job. They were under a little pressure and they really set us up,” Engelland said of Lorang and Johnson. “I just said, ‘Girls, just chillax and do your thing and we’ll be in great shape.’ And it all worked out.”


“We knew we probably could break the record,” Rus added. “I knew when Alyssa came around the bend, we had a great shot to win and go break the record.”

Strong 200-meter legs from Lorang and Johnson allowed Rus to get to the lead in the 400 and Engelland took it from there in the 800-meter leg.

“The first 200 felt easy and I didn’t have to think much,” Engelland said. “Once I got going on that second lap and I got in a rhythm, I knew we had it in the bag because we had a great start.”

Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Berkeley Engelland crosses the finish line in the girls 400-meter dash at the 98th Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Sioux Falls.
Landon Dierks / Mitchell Republic

Individually, Engelland added a title in the open 400 meters in a personal-best time of 55.61 seconds. The sprint was 2.11 seconds faster than second-place Anna Vyn, of Sioux Falls Christian. Engelland’s time is the fastest in South Dakota this season, besting her own mark of 55.78 from earlier in the season, and the seventh all-time in the state for the girls open 400 dash. She was also third in the 100-meter dash finals in 12.37 seconds, as Elise Wisnewski, of Central Cass (N.D.), won in 12.06.

“It’s been a great day, just amazing,” Engelland said. “I knew I was going out there against some great girls who would push me and I was just hoping for a win and a PR, which I got.”

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From left, Viborg-Hurley's Devin Sayler and Gregory's Kade Stukel sprint in the final leg of the Class B 4x100-meter relay during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Gregory does it again in the boys 4x100

A day after earning the 4x200-meter relay title in Class B, the Gregory High School boys track and field team made it happen again in the 4x100.

The quartet of Eli Fogel, Luke Stukel, Paul Sinclair, Kade Stukel won the event in 44.45 seconds, blazing past Faulkton Area and Viborg-Hurley in the final 100 meters of the race on the strength of Kade Stukel’s final carry in the relay.


“Once I got the baton and I got about 10 meters into it, I figured I could catch him but I just had to stay smooth,” Kade Stukel said.

It was the same foursome that won in the 4x200 relay but Fogel said they didn’t figure the victory was going to be a foregone conclusion.

“Your efficiency has to be there,” Fogel said. “There’s just less room for error compared to the 4x2 and the handoffs and the positioning has to be spot on. … We ran a good race.”

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From left, Gregory's Paul Sinclair, Kade Stukel, Eli Fogel and Luke Stukel receive the Class B boys 4x100-relay trophy during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Gregory’s coach Kurt Stukel said he was hopeful but not surprised by the fact that his team won the two fastest relays in Class B.

These kids, they put in a great amount of work, they’re always in the weight room,” the coach said. “They’re tremendous athletes and this type of success, it doesn’t happen by accident. I couldn’t be happier for them because they deserve it.”

Record breakers

In addition to MVP’s new standard in the girls sprint medley relay, several other meet records were broken on the second day of the Dakota Relays.

A single-year record total of 31 Dakota Relays records were rewritten on the weekend, smashing the old high of 19 in a single meet.

Following up on his meet record in the 800 meters as part of the boys special event on Friday night, Rapid City Stevens’ Simeon Birnbaum clocked 4 minutes, 4.05 seconds in the 1,600 meters to claim another spot in the record books.


For the second consecutive day, Hamlin’s Gracelyn Leiseth bettered one of her own meet records. Having set a new standard in the shot put on Friday, Leiseth’s discus toss of 171 feet, 3 inches, on Saturday set the new high-water mark in meet and state history. Leiseth, a future Florida Gator thrower, ranks No. 3 nationally in the discus.

In the boys discus, Rosemount’s (Minn.) Hayden Bills won the event with a throw of 198 feet, 11 inches. That throw ranks sixth in the nation and broke Andes Central’s Cody Snyder’s meet record from 2010 by seven feet.

Custer’s Ciana Stiefel broke the meet record with a jump of 12 feet, 7 inches, in the girls pole vault. The sophomore’s mark tied for No. 2 in the state all-time.

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From left, Colman-Egan's Reese Luse takes the baton from teammate Josie Mousel in the sprint medley relay during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

The Colman-Egan girls team continued a dominant weekend in the relays, shattering a record that had stood since Burke in 1978 in the Class B 1,600-meter sprint medley relay. Daniela Lee, Lanie Mousel, Josie Mousel and Reese Luze combined for a time of 4:10.01.

After three records on Friday, two more Sioux Falls Christian relay teams notched record times on Saturday. On the boys side, Jahaeim Reuer, Johnny Skyberg, Noah Schroder and Isaac Davelaar set the Class A 1,600-meter sprint medley mark at 3:30.45. The girls 4x100 team of Brenna Beyke, Emma Buys, Ashlee VanDriesen and Mya VanDonge claimed the Class A meet record at 49.66 seconds.

Picking up where she started on Friday, Kelsie Belquist, of New Rockford-Sheyenne (N.D.) claimed the meet records in the 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles in times of 14.26 and 42.87 seconds, respectively. Belquist had already set the 100-meter hurdles record once on the weekend, posting a 14.40 in the preliminary heat.

With a 4x200-meter record already under its belt from Friday, the Bismarck (N.D.) Legacy relay team of Talen Farland, Dylan McGlothlin, Reece Snow and Nathan Mathern grabbed the Class AA 4x100 record, as well, with a time of 41.50. The Sabres also won the 4x400 relay in a record time of 3:18.95.

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O'Gorman's Audrey Meyer and Menno's Ashton Massey lean toward the finish line in the girls 300-meter hurdles during the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic


Top finishers

  • Another Titan from the record-setting relay team, Reagan Rus finished sixth in the girls 100-meter hurdles finals at 15.41 seconds. Kelsie Belquist, of New Rockford-Sheyenne (N.D.), won in a record time of 14.26.
  • Yet another Titan, Reed Rus ran 15.03 seconds in the boys 110-meter hurdles finals to claim third place from lane No. 8. Sturgis’ Aidan Hedderman won the event in 14.62.
  • In the 300-meter girls hurdles, Ashton Massey, of Menno, finished in sixth place (46.27). Reagan Rus, of MVP, was eighth. (46.61). 
  • Gregory’s boys sprint medley foursome of Kade Stukel, Eli Fogel, Luke Stukel, Luke Sinclair finished second in the 1,600-meter relay. The Gorillas posted 3:41.40, while Wolsey-Wessington won the event with 3:39.92. 
  • Mitchell took seventh place in the girls 1,600-meter sprint medley relay in a time of 4:16.25. Lainee Forst, Brooke Bartscher, Lizzie Tyler and Carsyn Weich handled the baton for the Kernels. Brandon Valley won in 4:05.96. 
  • Mitchell was also seventh in the 4x400 relay with Forst, Weich, Mia Mullenmeister and Tyler finishing in a time of 4:07.17. Brandon Valley won the relay in 3:59.93.  
  • McCook Central/Montrose’s Paul Kaffar finished fourth in the boys triple jump with a top jump of 43 feet, 1 inch. Worthington, Minnesota’s Abagotte Opiew won the event in 44-11.5. 
  • Platte-Geddes’ Lee Reiser finished third in the boys discus with a top throw of 169 feet, 9 inches. Chamberlain’s Canyon Burkard made the finals and finished ninth (154-6). In the girls discus, MVP’s Clara Fink was ninth (124-5).  
  • Mitchell Christian only participated in one event during the Dakota Relays but they made it count. The boys 4x100 relay team of Carson Johnson, Jason Baas, Carter Lee and Josh Brandt broke the school record in the event in a time of 46.36 seconds for a top-10 finish in the event. The previous high mark for the Golden Eagles was 46.6.
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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