Sanborn Central/Woonsocket's Jeff Boschee completes season of stark improvement with high jump title
State track and field got underway Thursday in Sioux Falls
SIOUX FALLS — Sanborn Central/Woonsocket’s Jeff Boschee steadily improved all season in the boys high jump.
At the Class A state track and field meet on Thursday afternoon at Howard Wood Field, the improvement took him right to a state championship.
Boschee, a sophomore for the Blackhawks, was the only Class A jumper to clear 6 feet, 3 inches, allowing him to emerge with a state title.
“I’m just excited,” Boschee said. “I’ve never done that before and I’m just a sophomore, so that was pretty thrilling.”
The title-winning effort completed a pretty incredible climb for Boschee this season. As a freshman in 2021, his best high jump mark was 5 feet, 6 inches, and when he competed for the first time this season, at the Greenway Relays in Mount Vernon on April 22, he cleared 5-foot-4, where he finished 10th in the meet.
From there, he leaped up to 6-foot-2 and reached 6-foot-3 at last week’s Region 5A meet. But Boschee was under the radar for most of the season and was not among the 32 participants in the boys high jump at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays less than three weeks ago, where the region’s best are typically in attendance.
“I just kept working at it,” Boschee said. “I knew I had more to show because I’ve improved so much.”
Matching his region performance once more did the job for a state title on Thursday for Boschee. The competition started at 5-foot-10 and quickly saw the remaining jumpers whittled down to only three after the 6-foot-2 height. Only Boschee cleared 6-foot-3, leaving Lennox’s Layton Smith and Custer’s Mikael Grace behind in second and third place, respectively. When Boschee hit the mat with the winning jump, he could only bring his hands to his face in exhilaration and excitement.
Boschee was seeded second in the field prior to Thursday. He said he was most concerned about competing with Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Reed Rus, who came into the event as the top seed at 6-foot-4. The final podium was filled with MVP’s Jordan Stoltz was fourth in the final standings, with a top jump of 6 feet, while Rus was fifth at the same height. Ethan/Parkston’s Gage Hohn was seventh (6-0).
“I was thinking I was going to have to get to at least 6-4 to win,” Boschee said. “I felt like (Rus) was my main competition and when he went out at (6-0), I knew I had a shot to win it.”
“I knew what the other jumpers in the class could do, and I felt like I was right there too,” Boschee added. “I wanted to show it.”
Back-to-back Bearcats in the Class B 4x800
Freeman Academy/Marion’s 4x800-meter relay team did something many Class B foursomes have sought and not always accomplished at the state meet: repeat as state champions.
The Bearcats’ relay team of Quincy Blue, Malachi Myers, Tavin Schroeder, Thalen Schroeder won the opening track event of the three-day state meet on Thursday in a time of 8:22.75.
It is the third time since 2013 that a Class B 4x800 team has repeated, joining Parker in 2013 and 2014, along with Ipswich in 2017 and 2018.
Veteran runner Thalen Schroeder said he was kind of responsible for making sure most of the band stuck together for another Class B title chance. He said he helped convince leadoff runner Quincy Blue to participate after a long basketball season, plus Malachi Myers returned to the relay team. The three seniors were joined by Schroeder’s younger brother, Tavin, a sophomore, who Thalen said he convinced to be their fourth to tie the team together.
“I was worried and I said, ‘We need a fourth, if we want to do this,’” Schroeder recalled. “He stepped up and he was running below a 2:10 time, 2:08, I think, which was huge.”
The performance was 10 seconds ahead of the school’s seed time for the race, which was in the No. 1 slot entering Thursday. But Schroeder said they were not in a position to take it for granted.
“We all knew we had one purpose, to come in and work,” he said. “We had not run a lot together this season so we knew we had to work for it, because we had not done it enough. … We wanted it and everyone showed that.”
After Freeman Academy/Marion, Burke was second in the race, finishing in a time of 8:30.85 with the quartet of Bryce Frank, Reed Benter, Nick Nelson and Ben Witt. Kimball/White Lake (8:37.17) and Wessington Springs (8:42.17) finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
Kernels get on the board
Mitchell High School’s first podium finish of the Class AA state meet came in the boys long jump behind the efforts of Treyson Schulz.
Schulz, a junior for the Kernels, took seventh place in the event with a top jump of 20 feet, 11.75 inches. Aberdeen Central’s Sam Rohlfs won the event with a leap of 23 feet, 5.25 inches, as he achieved a new Class AA meet record in the event, successfully defending his 2021 state title.
Schulz’s jump came on the final leap of his opening flight and assured him of a top-eight finish, earning Mitchell two team points on the first day of competition. Mitchell’s Lilly Young had the best finish of the day for Kernel girls, taking 13th place in the shot put with a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches. O’Gorman’s Megan VanDenHemel won the event with a throw of 41-5.75.
Around the meet
Here's a list of area placewinners and highlights from the opening day of the 2022 state track meet.
- In the Class B girls shot put, which was won by Estelline/Hendricks’ Danielle Hawley with a toss of 40 feet, 10.75 inches, Menno’s Raygen Diede was second (38-3.5), followed by Scotland’s Delanie VanDriel in fourth place (37-5.75) and Wessington Springs’ Avery Orth in seventh place (36-5).
- A showdown in the Class B girls high jump went in the favor of Arlington’s Hadley Carlson, with a top jump of 5 feet, 5 inches. Lyman’s Skyler Volmer took second in the event, clearing 5-foot-4.
- Lemmon senior Cord Beer outjumped his seed by more than a foot, winning the Class B pole vault with a jump of 13 feet, 6 inches. Menno’s Owen Eitemiller, the Class B champion from 2021, was third at 13-3. Beer was seeded tied for third in Class B with a top mark of 12 feet, 3 inches entering the competition. Platte-Geddes’ Parker Bailey was tied for sixth with a jump of 11-6, while Menno’s Isaac Fergen was eighth at 11 feet.
- For the Class A girls triple jump title, Sioux Valley’s Kamryn Schwartz won a battle of senior standouts, edging Winner’s Ellie Brozik by 1.5 inches. Schwartz won with a jump of 35 feet, 10.75 inches, while Brozik logged a 34-9.25. MVP’s Tessa Pickart (33-9.5), Hanson’s Annalyse Weber (33-7.25) and Winner’s Jenna Hammerbeck (33-5.5) finished 6-7-8 in the event standings.
- In the Class B boys triple jump, Gregory’s Zach Eklund was sixth (41 feet, 2 inches), while Burke’s Sawyer Tietgen was eighth (40 feet, 8.25 inches). Timber Lake’s Hank Kraft won a second consecutive title in the event with a leap of 42 feet, 10.5 inches.
- In the Class B girls 4x800-meter relay, Freeman Academy/Marion was fifth (10:10.34) and Kimball/White Lake (10:14.65) was sixth. Colman-Egan was the champion in the event in a time of 9:52.33. In the Class A race, Chamberlain was sixth (10:01.34) and Ethan/Parkston was eighth (10:04.85), which was won by Sioux Falls Christian’s Class A meet record time of 9:21.54.
- Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Berekley Engelland had the second-fastest time in the Class A 100-meter girls preliminary round in 12.56 seconds. Parker’s Lexi Even had the fastest time at 12.32 seconds.
- In the Class B 100-meter girls preliminaries, Howard’s Melanie Calmus had the third-fastest time in 12.62 seconds. Platte-Geddes’ Briana DeGroot (13.03) qualified for the finals with the sixth-fastest time, while Colman-Egan’s Daniela Lee was the fastest time at 12.50 seconds.
- Gregory’s Kade Stukel logged the fourth-fastest 100-meter time on Thursday in the Class B boys prelims in 11.16 seconds, reaching the finals. Viborg-Hurley’s George Johnson went fastest in 11.11 seconds. In Class A, Custer’s Blake Boyster won the prelims in 10.85 seconds, while Bon Homme’s Isaac Crownover advanced to the finals with a time of 11.27 seconds, tied for fifth fastest on Thursday.