Rangers off to an early start

Esther Noe
For the first time in nine years, the weather allowed the Hill City High School Ranger Track and Field team to compete in its first meet of the season at the Laura Chord Memorial High School/Middle School Invite in Newcastle, Wyo. 
“When we saw it was going to be 60 in Newcastle and they were having the meet, we talked about it and said, ‘We’ve got to take advantage of it,’” said head coach Joe Noyes. “As coaches, we were really pleased. The kids performed well.”
Noyes said some of the athletes were a little frustrated by the results, but he explained to them that their first meet last year was April 11, which gave them an extra 21 days to train. 
“You are in very different shape over 21 days, and most of the kids still ran at or near where they were, or some faster than where they were, at the start of last year,” said Noyes. “I feel really encouraged about how we performed and where we’re at. It wasn’t just one event but across the board—our sprinters, our jumpers, our throwers, our distance kids—we had PRs (personal records) and all sorts of good things happen in all the different event groups.”
For the Ranger boys, junior Devin Buehler placed second at 52.71 and sophomore Caleb Sobolik placed sixth at 55.17 in the 400 meter run. In the 800 meter run, junior Brandon Escalante got second at 2:08.55, sophomore Tate Grabow got third at 2:10.64 and Buehler got eighth at 2:14.38. 
The Rangers had a nice lineup in the 1600 meter run. Senior Leighton Aves came in second at 4:38.03, Escalante came in third at 4:39.22 and Grabow came in fourth at 4:40.24.
Junior Grayson Rahn placed second in both hurdle events. He got 17.35 in the 110m and 44.06 in the 300m. Sophomore Brensen Veneklasen placed fourth in the 300 hurdles at 45.11. 
Senior Cody Groven placed eighth in discus at 113-02. 
In the long jump, Brensen placed fifth at 18-9, and junior Noah Schelske placed seventh at 18-3. Sophomore Nick Schroeder placed seventh in the triple jump at 39-0 3/4. 
“As a whole, I was just really pleased with how the boys represented the team, good attitude and then just man they worked hard,” said Noyes. “Our throwers performed really well. They were throwing at their PRs from a year ago the first meet out, so it was just a really good day.” 
For the Ranger girls, sophomore Alaina Dean placed fourth in the 100 meter run at 13.27. In the 200 meter run, she placed third at 27.42, senior Sara DuBois placed sixth at 28.02 and senior Riley Wiese placed eighth at 28.28. 
In the 800 meter run freshman Aspen Veneklasen came in fifth at 2:44.54 with sophomore Brooke Thayer-Burke just behind her in sixth at 2:44.96. The girls switched places for the 1600 meter run with Thayer-Burke coming in fifth at 5:56.67 and Veneklasen coming in seventh at 6:07.29. 
In the hurdle events Wiese placed fourth in the 100 at 19.33, and senior Anna Dean placed sixth in the 300 at 52.14. 
Juniors Kylee Alexander and Dakota Allmer placed back-to-back in the long jump. Alexander got fourth at 14-7 1/2, and Allmer got fifth at 14-2 1/2. 
Finally, Alaina Dean won the triple long jump with a personal record of 33-11.
The season started later for the Ranger girls because of basketball season, so some athletes had only been practicing for about two weeks before the meet. 
“They still came, and they still tried and competed. So I was just encouraged,” said Noyes. “To me, that’s just an awesome indication of the attitude and commitment of these athletes to our program.” 
This year there are 50 high school athletes out for track and field. 
“I’m just encouraged. This is probably our fourth year in a row where we had our numbers be in the 50s. It just tells me we’re doing the right things. We’ve got good coaches, we’ve got good athletes, we’ve got good attitudes—we’re doing the right thing,” said Noyes. 
If the weather is good, the Rangers will compete at the Sturgis Invitational at Woodle Field Thursday, March 28 at 10 a.m. 
Should the meet get canceled due to weather, the Rangers will compete at the Queen City Classic High School Meet in Spearfish at Lyle Hare Stadium Friday, Aprril 5 at 9 a.m. 

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