Stiefel, Boyster shine at Howard Wood

Jason Ferguson
By Jason Ferguson
Two of Custer’s standout track athletes appear to be rounding into their best form as the postseason approaches.
Ciana Stiefel and Blake Boyster both had big days last Saturday at the Howard Wood Dakota relays, with Boyster running a 48.80 to win the 400 meter while Stiefel set a Class A record in the pole vault, clearing 12-7 to win the gold medal. The height moved Stiefel into second-place all-time in the state in girls pole vault and also broke a Howard Wood record that has stood for 15 years.
“Blake has had a goal all year to break 48 seconds,” head coach Karen Karim said. “He came in very focused and ready to go. He looked great. I was excited for him.”
Boyster’s time broke a 40-year-old school record of 48.9 set by Walker Witt in 1983. 
As the top vaulter in the competition, Stiefel had to wait a while to get into the competition, but when she did she put on a show. Karim said it was exciting to see Stiefel handle the pressure of such a big meet, and an audible roar went up from the crowd when Stiefel broke the record.
“She’ just getting better and better. She’s elite,” Karim said. “She still has room to grow and go higher this year.”
Besides the two championships at the meet, the Wildcat relays fared well at the event too. The 400 relay team of Kylee Ellerton, Maya Tennyson, Addie Sander and Jojo Larsen placed third in the Class A race at a time of 51.39, while Larsen, Ramsey Karim, Taylor Busch and Rachel Miklos were third in the 1600 relay at 4:09.99.
In the 4,000 meter medley relay (1,200, 400, 800 and 1600 legs), the team of Keira Alfson, Kiran Pesicka, Brit Wheeler and Busch was fourth at 13:20.29, while the medley relay team of Ellerton, Tennyson, Busch and Wheeler was sixth at 4:22.26.
Larsen brought home the other individual medal for the girls, placing fifth in the 100 at 12.47. The 100 was one of the races where every class of competition competed against each other.
Four relay teams placed for the boys, led by the 1600 team placing fourth in the Class A competition at 44.65. That team was comprised of Sam Gaulke, Alex Van Horn, Gage Grohs and Boyster posted a time of 3:32.82.
Three teams placed sixth, including the 400 team of Danny Immormino, Roland Sedlacek, Cade Lehman and Boyster at 44.65, the 3200 team of Grohs, Gaulke, Jackson Wiles and Drew Lehman at 8:15.98 and the 4,000 relay team of Wiles, Gaulke, Drew Lehman and Alex Van Horn at 11:23.14.
The other placewinner for the Wildcats was Cade Lehman in the triple jump at a top jump of 42-9 1/4.
Karim pointed out all of the girls relay teams had personal records at the meet, and there were many other personal-best marks put up by team members, even if it didn’t result in bringing home a medal.
The day before Howard Wood some of the Wildcats competed in the Sioux Falls O’Gorman meet.
Mical Grace brought home a pair of third place medals from that meet, running the 110 hurdles in 17.69 and the 300 hurdles in 45.47 in the Class A competition. Danny Immormino also brought home a bronze medal, running a personal record 11.53 in the 100.
Colton Coppola finished fifth in the shot put competition with a best throw of 45-9 1/2, while Kian Rusch was sixth in the 800 with a personal best time of 2:18.37.
Rounding out the places for the boys was the 400 relay of Carter Boyster, Kai Rusch, Landon Leighton and Grace at 48.23.
For the girls, Paige Fitzler was the top placewinner, coming in fourth in the Class A 110 hurdle competition in a time of 17.67. The medley relay team of Allyson Cass, Keira Nelson, Hailey Woodward and Mattea Marshall placed fifth at 5:06.42, and Nelson also placed individually, coming in sixth in the Class A 300 hurdles at 54.53. Woodward rounded out the placing by finishing eighth in the Class A 800 at a time of 2:43.92.
May 2 the team hosted the Custer Invitational Track Meet, which was rescheduled from April 20 due to snow.
Both the boys and girls teams had strong meets, combining for 11 gold medals.
For the boys, Danny Immormino ran his way to a gold in both the 100 and 200, finishing with times of 11.54 and 23.94, respectively, the latter of which was a personal record.
Gage Grohs set a personal record in winning the 800 at 2:00.58, while Cade Lehman threw his hat into the 300 hurdle ring and won in a personal record time of 44.16. 
Robbie Emery was victorious in the pole vault, clearing 13-10, while the 3200 relay team of Ender Gossen, Saylor Rice, Sean Shipp and Kian Rush placed first at 10:04.63.
Alex Van Horn rounded out the gold medals by winning the 400 in a personal best time of 52.98.
Grace picked up a pair of second-place finishes in the hurdle events, running the 110 hurdles in 17.48 while running the 300 hurdles in 45.19. Carter Tennyson also improved his personal best in the high jump when he cleared 5-11.
Sam Gaulke picked up a second-place finish in the 400 at a time of 53.16, while Drew Lehman was second in the 800 in a personal record time of 2:00.84.
The Wildcat boys picked up one third-place finish individually, that coming on the legs of Jackson Wiles, who ran a personal-best time of 2:06.87. Another bronze medal came from the 1600 relay team, as Roland Sedlacek, Kai Rusch, Carter Boyster and Cade Lehman combined for a time of 3:51.61.
Thrower Colton Coppola had a pair of fourth-place finishes, posting a best throw of 44-11 in the shot put and a personal best distance of 115-10 in the discus.
Van Horn picked up a fourth-place finish in the 200 with a personal-best time of 24.65, while Shipp was fourth in the 1600 with a personal-best time of 5:05.9. Joel Tramp was fourth in the pole vault with a top height of 11-10, also a personal record.
Landon Leighton was fifth in the 400 at 54.96, a personal-best time, while Kian Rusch was fifth in the 1600 in a personal-best time of 5:11.36.
Sixth-place finishes included Sedlacek in the 100 at a time of 11.99, a personal record, and Kai Rusch in the 300 hurdles in a personal record time of 47.93.
Rounding out the placings was Leighton, seventh in the 200 in a personal-best time of 24.94 and Jackson Drew, eighth in the 800 at 2:19.24.
For the girls, Custer again dominated the throws, with Torri Virtue winning the shot put with a best throw of 36-3, while Alice Sedlacek won the discus with a best throw of 121-2.
Wildcats took five of the top eight places in the shot put, including Emily Borkowski (third, 33-9 1/2), Avari Dorrance (fifth, 32-5 1/2, personal record), Karyn Ellerton (seventh, 32-1, personal record) and Taylor Bland (eighth, 31-3, personal record).
The Wildcats also had five placewinners in the discus, as Virtue finished third in the event (108-1), Borkowski finished fourth (106-2), Dorrance was sixth (96-10) and Ellerton was seventh (94-9).
For good measure, the girls picked up two places in the javelin, as Brook Bennett was third with a personal-record throw of 97-0 and Borkowski was fifth with a best throw of 78-8.
Jayda Bennett won first place in the 100 hurdles with at time of 16.29, while Taylor Busch was first in the 400 with a personal-best time of 1:02.37.
Rounding out the gold medals was Stiefel, whose top height of 11-11 won the event by four feet.
Jayda Bennett won a silver medal in the 300 hurdles in a personal-best time of 49.11, and Busch won a silver medal in the 200 with a time of 28.00. Also bringing home a silver was Alfson in the 3200 at a time of 12:49.22, a personal record.
Third-place finishes included Pesicka in the 800 in a personal-best time of 2:32.51, Addie Sander in the pole vault at 7-10 and Paige Fitzler in the 100 hurdles at 17.32.
Fourth-place finishes came from Ally Cass in the triple jump with a top distance of 28-2 1/2 and Fitzler in the 400 in a personal-best time of 1:03.49. The 1600 relay team of Woodward, Pesicka, Sander and Mattea Marshall also placed fourth in a time of 4:38.71.
Keira Nelson placed fifth in the 300 hurdles at 54.89, while Maya Tennyson was fifth in the 200 at 28.99 and Sander was fifth in the 100 in a personal-best time of 13.83.
Sander also placed sixth in the 200, running a time of 29.04, while Sierra Swanson was sixth in the 3200 with a time of 13:36.15. Seventh-place finishes came from Tennyson in the 100 (13.87, personal record), Woodward in the 800 (2:37.58, personal record) and Nelson in the 100 hurdles (19.16, personal record).
The final placing came from Fitzler, who placed eighth in the 200 in a personal-best time of 29.36.
Postseason competition starts for Custer this week, as the team will head to the Black Hills Conference Meet on the campus of Black Hills State University Friday.
“We hope we can be competitive at the conference meet. We are competing against some pretty big schools. It’s a tough place for us to go make our mark,” Karim said. “Our kids are still improving.”

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