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Track and field: Bemidji offers local programs a chance to compete

Kaylee Thompson

Spring sports teams in Minnesota have reached the point where they are looking for any way to compete, and the Osakis, Minnewaska and Ashby-Brandon-Evansville track and field teams got that chance by going to an indoor meet at Bemidji State University on April 12.

They were part of 32 programs who took advantage of this opportunity. That led to a long day with so many athletes taking part. The meet started at 11 a.m. and Osakis left at 6:45 p.m. with the 3,200-meter run and the 4x400-meter relay still to be ran.

"Talking to a few other coaches that have been around a long time, they can't remember a meet with this many teams," Osakis head coach Lee VanNyhuis said. "With that many teams placing in the top eight, scoring points is difficult, so points were at a premium. The biggest thing was having the opportunity to compete. Kids play sports to compete, so to get them this opportunity, it was worth it."

The Osakis girls placed 17 overall with 13 points and the boys were 23rd with six. Osakis junior Tianna Stanek, one of the top point-getters for the girls, did not compete due to illness.

Grace Walter got a top-10 finish for the Osakis girls in the 60-meter hurdles as she took fifth place in a time of 10.74. Lauren Savageau was 10th in the 400-meter dash (1:06.18) and eighth in the 800-meter run (2:37.30).

Makenzie Lien had a 14th-place finish in the pole vault (6-06) and Kaylee Thompson paced the Osakis high jumpers with a fourth-place finish after clearing 4 feet, 10 inches.

"Kaylee jumped well," VanNyhuis said. "Good start to the season for her."

VanNyhuis was happy with the way the throwers performed too as four of them finished in the top 15. Elizabeth Hiltner led the girls in the shot put in sixth place with a throw of 35-11, while Elizabeth Pahl was ninth (34-07) and Nicole Loverink tied for 13th (33-01). Jeran Baker added a ninth-place finish for the boys with a throw of 43-10.

Philip Mathews had the top finish for the Osakis boys as he took fourth in the 60-meter dash in 7.35 seconds. Daniel Savageau was 14th in the 1,600-meter run (5:11.18). Jacob Backes and Mathews both ran well in the 200-meter dash as Backes finished eighth in 24.43 seconds and Mathews was 13th in 24.98. Josh Peterka tied for 16th in the high jump after clearing 5-06.

The meet was an opportunity for the Silverstreaks to at least get in a meet and gauge areas they need to improve on once conditions improve and they are able to get outside.

"We know we have a lot of work in a short period of time," VanNyhuis said. "We aren't where we need to be yet. It's a process."

Lakers, A-B-E also compete

The Minnewaska and Ashby-Brandon-Evansville track and field teams also competed in Bemidji.

The Minnewaska girls finished 16th with 19.5 points, and the boys were ninth with 21. The A-B-E girls finished with two points, good for 28th, while the boys were 24th with five points.

The Minnewaska girls got an eighth-place finish from its 4x800-meter relay team. Kristin Glover was ninth in the 400-meter dash (1:06.02) and Emily Kaiser was ninth in the 60-meter dash (8.50) and seventh in the 200 (28.78).

Ellie Danielson paced all Lakers in individual events by taking third in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:31.41. She was also tied for sixth in the high jump after clearing 4 feet, 10 inches. Alexis Piekarski added Minnewaska's final top-10 finish for the girls by taking 10th in the triple jump (31-03).

The Minnewaska boys also had plenty of top-10 results.

Nolan Weisel led the way with a couple fourth-place finishes in the 400-meter dash in 54.61 seconds and in the 800-meter run in 2:11.04. Peyton Johnsrud was fifth in the high jump (5-10) and Mateo Arredondo was seventh in the pole vault (11-00). Jackson Meyer added an eighth-place finish in the long jump (19-04), while Connor Johnsrud was eighth in the triple jump with a leap of 38-08. Gavin Rupp led the way in the shot put by taking sixth after a toss of 45-11.

For the Ashby-Brandon-Evansville girls, Emily Carlson had a 14th-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 11.21. She was also 13th in the 60-meter dash (8.57). Jacey Schlosser had A-B-E's best girls finish as she took seventh in the shot put with a throw of 35-05.50.

Senior James Strese paced the A-B-E boys in that same event as he took fourth in the shot put with a throw of 47-01. Cade Carlson did not quite qualify for the finals but finished 18th in the 60-meter dash prelims with a time of 7.67 seconds.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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