For the second consecutive season, Custer High School is at the top of the Region 8A track and field mountain.
Just as they did a year ago, both the boys and girls teams won the regional crown last Friday afternoon, with the boys bolstered by four gold medals and the girls by seven.
The boys scored 137 points during the course of the meet, just beating out St. Thomas More, which had 132 points. The female Wildcats won in a more dominant fashion, finishing with 177 points, well ahead of second place Hill City at 141.
The Wildcats had two individual region champions, including Nathaniel Youngblood in the 800, who set a new personal record in winning the event in 2:00.22. The other first place came from Isaac Powers in the high jump, who set a personal record of his own by clearing 6-2.
The boys’ other two medals came in the relays, as the team of Blake Boyster, EJ Gonzalez, Micaiah Grace and Youngblood joined forces to win the 1600 relay in a time of 3:35.71, while Gonzalez was joined by Landon Leighton, Sterling Sword and Jace Kelley to win the medley relay in a time of 3:53.39.
AJ Kortemeyer brought the ’Cats a pair of silver medals in the throws, as he placed second in both the shot put and discus with throws of 43-11 and 124-10, respectively. Another second-place finish came on the legs of Kaleb Wragge, who was runner-up in the 1600 at a time of 4:46.75.
There were four third-place finishes for Custer, starting with Daniel Sedlacek in the long jump with a best leap of 19-2 1/2, followed by Kelley finishing third in the triple jump at 34-9 3/4. The 800 relay team of Boyster, Sedlacek, Grace and Damon Hartman finished third at 1:34.36 and the 3200 relay team of Pierce Sword, Preston Drew, Drew Lehman and Jace Oesterling did the same in a time of 9:08.5.
The 400 relay team of Gonzalez, Sedlacek, Danny Fries and Gage Tennyson placed fourth at a time of 46.72, while Tennyson also picked up an individual fourth-place finish in the long jump with a best distance of 18-3 1/2.
Rounding out the fourth-place finishes for the boys were Boyster in the 400 at 55.16, Tucker Youngblood in the 800 at 2:09.47, Miles Ellman in the 3200 at 11:18.85 and Mikael Grace in the 110 hurdles at 18.86.
There were no fifth-place finishes for the boys but there were plenty of sixth-place ones, including two Wildcats—Sterling Sword and Tennyson—in the 400 at 57.64 and 57.84, respectively, and Pierce Sword in the 800 at 2:18.59. Mikael Grace picked up another sixth-place finish in the 300 hurdles at 50.15 and Hartman was sixth in the 200 at 24.38.
A seventh-place finish came from Kelley in the long jump at 18-0, and Justin Doyle finished the discus in eighth place with a top throw of 98-2.
For the Wildcat girls, Kellyn Kortemeyer was once again a double winner in the throws, posting a best toss of 41-5 in the shot put and 112-0 in the discus.
Kadense Dooley was an individual champion on the day, as she won the 1600 in a time of 5:21.96, while also running the anchor leg of the 1600 relay team that placed first in a time of 4:18.42. She was joined by Mallory Delmont, Nancy Falkenburg Brown and Ramsey Karim on the team. Karim had an individual championship of her own at the meet, as she won the 800 in 2:26.09.
Josey Wahlstrom was victorious in the pole vault with a top height of 9-6, and was joined by Delmont, Goldie Whitaker and Sydney Gaulke on the first-place finishing medley relay team, which posted a time of 4:22.09.
The Wildcat girls had several second-place finishes, including Falkenburg Brown in the 400 (1:05.77), Josie Dvorak in the 3200 (13:04.69), Anna Lewis in the 300 hurdles (52.16) and Hannah Golder in the shot put (35-3 1/2). Every athlete at the meet who placed in the top two in an event automatically qualified for this weekend’s state meet if they had not already automatically qualified during the course of the season.
Eva Studt brought home a third-place finish for the Wildcats in the 800 at a time of 2:31.94, while Sierra Oesterling was third in the 1600 at 5:24.44. Lewis was third in the 110 hurdles at 16.56 and the 800 relay team of Whitaker, Gaulke, Wahlstrom and Shaylee Gramkow was third at 1:51.69. Also placing third for the Wildcats was Nicole Johnson in the shot put (32-0 1/2) and Laney Carlin in the discus (94-10).
Two Wildcat relays finished fourth, including the team of Whitaker, Gramkow, Heidi Moore and Tyrae Johnson, which ran the 400 relay in 53.68, and the team of Alyssa Koffler, Emma Helfer, Peyton Helfer and Serenity Meyer, which ran the 3200 relay in 11:01.95.
Individual fourth-place finishes came from Koffler in the 400 (1:08.19), Grace Lewis in the 300 hurdles (54.52) and Moore in the long jump (14-3). Grace Lewis also placed fifth in the 110 hurdles at 17.81 while Johnson did the same in the discus at 89-9. Koffler was sixth in the pole vault with a top height of 6-9, followed by teammate Sierra Swanson in seventh at 6-3. Moore rounded out the Wildcat girls places by finishing eighth in the 200 at 29.36.
The Class A State Track Meet begins Friday in Tea and it concludes the following day in Sioux Falls.