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MVP’s Berkeley Engelland proves top sprinter status after Dakota Relays showing

The sophomore, coming off individual state titles in the 400-meter and 800-meter dash, proved she can compete with the region’s best at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays, only falling to a University of Utah recruit by a combined 0.54 seconds across the 400 and 800-meter races.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Berkeley Engelland (right) runs during the girls' 800-meter special event at the 97th annual Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Friday, May 6, 2022, at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MOUNT VERNON, S.D. — If Berkeley Engelland wasn’t already cemented as one of the state’s top sprinters, she certainly is now.

The 16-year-old sophomore is coming off a freshman season, earning Class A state titles in not only the 4x400 and 4x800-meter relay teams, but also the 400-meter dash and 800-meter dash at the Lyle Hare Stadium in Spearfish in May 2021.

Entering this season, Engelland knew it would be challenging to repeat with top times in the 400 and 800-meter dash. Not only has she posted faster times to sit atop of Class A for the second consecutive season, but she’s also posted top-10 girls times in the state in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter and 800-meter dash.

Approaching the final 30 days before the state meet, Engelland posted Class A’s top times in the 400-meter and 800-meter dash during the LenWood Invitational on May 3. Three days later in the Howard Wood Dakota Relays, Engelland was one of eight invite-only girls to compete in the 800 special race.

She recorded her fastest time yet of 57.24 seconds during the 400-meter dash, along with a personal best of 2:11.75 in the 800-meter dash. She finished second in both events, only falling to Bismarck Century's (N.D.) Erin Palmer, a University of Utah swimming and track and field recruit, by a combined 0.54 seconds.

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“It feels great. Obviously, it would have been better to get first, but I wasn’t expecting myself to make this time and it was a big deal to see where I finished,” Engelland said after her performance.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Berkeley Engelland (right) chases Bismarck Century's (N.D.) Erin Palmer during the girls' 800-meter special event at the 97th annual Howard Wood Dakota Relays on May 6, 2022, at Howard Wood Field, in Sioux Falls.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Engelland came into this year’s track and field season, focusing on her work out regime and her eating habits. Throughout the season last year, Engelland could become so stressed before a meet that she wouldn’t eat.

This year she’s been taking the season one day at a time, not looking too far ahead, so the pressure doesn’t build. In her off time, she’s also dedicated a little more of her time to the weight room to build her endurance and become stronger, rather than just getting back on the track.

“During my off time I try to work as hard as I can, especially in the weight room, so I can get on the track and accomplish what I want to accomplish,” Engelland said. “I’ve also been trying to stay positive and do the things I need to do. My family is always encouraging me to eat more because sometimes during the season I get stressed and tend not to eat.”

The adjustments Engelland has made has improved her time in every event. She lowered her 400-meter dash time by an entire second and she lowered her 800-meter dash time by nearly 10 seconds.

The sophomore still feels she has more to prove, as she hasn’t received any college offers and to her knowledge, still doesn’t believe she’s gained the recognition from college coaches because they haven’t spoken with her.

That added motivation of not knowing what the future holds, has helped Engelland’s drive each and every day as she wishes to fulfill her college dream of getting a full-ride scholarship.

“What keeps me going is that I want to go to college, so it’s now or never for me to try and make that happen,” Engelland said. “I just don’t want to miss out on it so I’m giving my all to get a good offer.”

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Berkeley Engelland (middle) runs during the girls' 800-meter special event at the 97th annual Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Friday, May 6, 2022, at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
Branden is a sports reporter that graduated from Purdue University Northwest with a bachelor's degree in communications and a focus in journalism. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 and covers prep and collegiate athletics. He was also the lead on the Mitchell Republic Full-Court Press, providing a weekly web-exclusive look at high school basketball throughout all of South Dakota. Branden can be reached at bhull@mitchellrepublic.com and found on Twitter at @bhullreports.
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