Top athletes highlight what to watch at the 2023 Corn Palace Relays

Here’s a look at some of the top athletes who are set to compete Saturday.

Several athletes compete in the girls 100-meter dash during a high school track meet on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Wagner.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was published Thursday afternoon, prior to the postponement of Saturday's meet. Options are being considered for a potential make-up date.

MITCHELL — Seventeen teams are set to descend on Mitchell for the 2023 Corn Palace Relays.

Here’s a look at some of the top athletes who are set to compete Saturday.

Mitchell junior Mia Mullenmeister won the 400 meters and was third at 200 meters in 2021 as a freshman, and looks to challenge in the 100 and 200 meters on Saturday, having won both races in the Kernels’ outdoor race at Yankton on April 12.

100-Meter Dash
Mitchell's Mia Mullenmeister, left, and Lizzie Tyler, right, compete with Yankton's Abigail Saylor in a heat in the girls' 100-meter dash during a track and field meet on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 in Yankton.
James Cimburek / Yankton Press and Dakotan

Sioux Falls Lincoln’s Ali Bainbridge, the 2022 Gatorade girls cross country runner of the year in South Dakota, won the 3,200 meters in 2021 and owns the state's best time in the event so far this season at 10 minutes, 49.87 seconds.


MVP’s Berkeley Engelland came in fifth in the 1,600 meters in 2021 and has since evolved into one of the top sprinters and middle-distance runners in the state. Heading into Saturday, she has a top-three time in South Dakota across all classes in the 200 and 400 meters this season.

Fellow Titan Reagan Rus was fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in 2021, the top finish among athletes in the 2023 field.

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McCook Central/Montrose's Brandy Pulse (left) and Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reagan Rus (right) compete during the 100-meter hurdles during a high school track meet on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Wagner.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

Wagner’s Emma Yost, then with Ethan/Parkston, won the Class A girls discus in 2021 and has the fourth-best outdoor shot put throw across all classes (the top mark among teams slated to participate in the Corn Palace Relays) so far this season at 39 feet, 2 inches.

Brandon Valley has the top girls 4x400 and 4x800 relay times, while Sioux Falls Lincoln owns the top mark in the 4x100. The Patriots look to Demond Nave, who has the best 100-meter hurdles time to date, to lead off the relay.

In the boys field competitions, Lee Reiser, of Platte-Geddes, is one of the state’s top shot put and discus throwers. He has the second-best outdoor shot put throw in the state at 59 feet, 4 inches and the third-best discus throw at 159-1.

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Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Reed Rus competes in the 110-meter hurdle during a high school track meet on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, in Wagner.
Zech Lambert / Mitchell Republic

Reed Rus, from Mount Vernon/Plankinton, is tied for the fifth-best high jump in the state at 6-feet, 2-inches.

Ethan/Parkston’s James Deckert owns the top triple jump in the state at 44-5, as well as the third-best long jump in the state at 22-3, both of which he set at the Wagner Invitational on Tuesday.

Brandon Valley’s Tristan Niewenhuis has the top discus performance so far this year, with a throw of 169-3, and he’s tied for 10th in shot put at 47-11. Fellow Lynx Aaron VanHemert has the No. 2 time in the 300-meter hurdles at 40.85 seconds, as well as the No. 7 time in the 110-meter hurdles at 15.72 seconds.


Aberdeen Central’s Aiden Heimann is also near the top of the leaderboards in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, sitting at No. 3 in each.

Lincoln’s Linnea Nesheim has the top times in the field in the 100 and 200 meters so far this season, with her time of 26.21 seconds in the 200 standing as the best outdoor mark in South Dakota so far this season.

Brandon Valley’s Mia Wentzy currently paces the state in the 800 meters and 1600 meters with times of 2:16.44 and 5:08.90, respectively.

Lincoln has the best boys 4x100, while the top three 4x800 teams — Aberdeen Central, Brandon Valley and Yankton — are represented.

In the indoor circuit, Lincoln’s Chris Stanford has the state’s second-best, indoor 60-meter dash time at 7.00 seconds, which he set at the Mount Marty University meet on March 24. Stanford also has the top time in the indoor 100 meter at 10.95 seconds — the only athlete to clock in under 11 seconds. His teammate, Griffin Fischer, has the best indoor 200-meter time at 22.49 seconds.

In the indoor 3200, Yankton’s Dylan Payer (9:56.35) has the No. 1 time in the state in the 3200 meter from his run on March 24, and his time of 4:21.81 in the one mile at the Nike Indoor Nationals on March 12 (which he ran unattached) is the second-best indoor time in the state. Payer also has the third-best outdoor 800-meter time at 2:00.18.

Brandon Valley’s Aaron VanHemert (15.68), Aberdeen Central’s Aiden Heimann (15.99) and Mount Vernon/Plankinton’s Reed Rus (16.17) have the first-, second- and fourth-best indoor times, respectively, in the 110-meter hurdles. Brandon Valley’s Miles Hunt (41.49) is the owner of the best 300-meter hurdle indoor time at 41.49 seconds, while Heimann is second at 41.60.

Zech Lambert is a sports reporter for the Mitchell Republic. He graduated from Penn State University in May 2022 and began at the Mitchell Republic in July 2022. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Zech_Lambert.
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