Track team finally gets to compete

Jason Ferguson

In case you forgot, it’s track season. Well, maybe the constant snow and wind reminded you of that.
Such has been the case for the Custer High School track team, as it had its first three meets cancelled by weather before finally getting on the track twice last week. The Wildcats competed April 10 at the Scooper Invitational in Sturgis in gorgeous weather before participating in the Track-O-Rama in Rapid City last Friday in less-than-ideal weather.
Such is life for track teams in South Dakota.
“It was really important for us to get in a meet,” said head coach Karen Karim. “(Sturgis) was very hot, our kids were burning, they were getting overwhelmed with the heat. But at least they got a meet in. Some of our kids got to see where they are.”
The Wildcats saw they were in a pretty good spot considering the early-season weather that has curtailed meets and outdoor practices, including a double gold medal effort from thrower Torri Virtue, who placed first in the shot put with a best throw of 34-8 1/2 as well as the discus with a personal record best throw of 122-3.
The Wildcat girls had a dominant day at the meet, placing four in the top six in the shot put and five in the top seven in the discus.
Other placewinners in the shot put include Emily Borkowski, second (34-7, personal record), Karyn Ellerton, fourth (30-11, personal record) and Avari Dorrance (sixth).
Other placewinners in the discus included Alice Sedlacek, second (119-9), Dorrance, third (112-9, personal record), Borkowski sixth (106-0) and Ellerton seventh (105-8).
Other champions for the girls team in Sturgis included Jojo Larsen in the 100 at a time of 12.30, Ramsey Karim in the 1600 at 5:24.63 and Ciana Stiefel in the pole vault with a personal best of 11-9, which won the meet by two feet.
Among the second-place finishers for the girls at the meet were Taylor Busch in the 400 at 1:03.35, Larsen in the 200 at 27.17 and Brit Wheeler in the 1600 at 5:30.93. The 1600 relay team of Karim, Larsen, Sedlacek and Rachel Miklos also placed second, posting a time of 4:15.75.
Wheeler picked up a third-place finish at a time of 2:31.13, while Keira Alfson was third in the 3200 at 13:26.40. Fourth place finishes came from Sierra Swanson in the 3200 at 13:59.25 and Jayda Bennett in both hurdle events, with a time of 16.44 in the 100 hurdles, which was a personal best, and 50.24 in the 300 hurdles. The 3200 team of Sedlacek, Kiran Pesicka, Mattea Marshall and Hailey Woodward was also fourth at a time of 10:57.
Miklos picked up a fifth place finish in the 400 at 1:04.69 and was also on the sixth-place finishing 800 relay team that ran a time of 1:56.48. She was joined on the team by Busch, Keira Nelson and Paige Fitzler.
Rounding out the placings was Brook Bennett, who placed seventh in the javelin (which is contested at Class AA meets) with a personal best throw of 86-10.
On the boys side, Robbie Emery made it a sweep of the gold in pole vault, clearing a personal best height of 14-0.
Blake Boyster picked up where he left off at the state meet in the 400, as he won the race in a time of 49.45.
The Wildcat boys had a big day in the relays, claiming three gold medals.
The 1600 relay team of Sam Gaulke, Alex Van Horn, Gage Grohs and Boyster won gold in a time of 3:36.58, while the 3200 team of Grohs, Gaulke, Van Horn and Drew Lehman did the same in a time of 8:26.35. The medley team of Landon Leighton, Carter Boyster, Gaulke and Grohs rounded out the gold medal relays with a time of 3:53.56.
The boys picked up one second-place finish on the legs of Cade Lehman, who had a best distance of 41-11 1/2 in the triple jump. Lehman was also on the third-place finishing 400 relay team, joined by Danny Immormino, Roland Sedlacek and Boyster to post a time of 44.88.
The lone fourth place finish is a feel-good story, as Carter Tennyson cleared a personal record height of 5-10, competing in varsity sports competition for the first time in a couple years after battling leg injuries.
“It was nice to see Carter be able to do something,” Karim said.
The Wildcats picked up a fifth-place finish from Drew Lehman in the 800, as he ran a personal record time of 2:07.99. A sixth-place finish came from the 800 team of Leighton, Van Horn, Carter Boyster and Kai Rusch in a time of 1:41.32.
The Wildcats picked up one seventh-place finish from the team’s second 3200 relay team, as Saylor Rice, Kian Rusch, Dylan Frank and Tyler Cooper posted a time of 9:51.75.
Finally, the Wildcats got four eighth-place finishes, including Colton Coppola in the shot put (38-6) and discus (115-9, personal record), Joel Tramp in the pole vault (11-0) and Jackson Wiles in the 1600 in a personal best time of 5:14.32.
The results weren’t as plentiful or the weather as nice in Rapid City, as the athletes were greeted by cold and wind that lasted all day.
“It was really unpleasant,” Karim said. “Those are the days it’s hard to be a track athlete and be out there all day. We didn’t look nearly as good, nor did we feel as good.”
The girls were paced by the 3200 relay team of Wheeler, Sedlacek, Pesicka and Karim won in a time of 10:30.62.
Custer’s medley team of Busch, Wheeler, Kylee Ellerton and Maya Tennyson placed second in the medley relay at a time of 4:36.044, while Larsen placed third in the 200 at 27.31 and fourth in the 400 at 1:03.87. Also placing third was Virtue in the shot put with a best throw of 37-3, which set another personal record.
The team’s other fourth-place finish came on the legs of the 1600 relay team, as Busch, Miklos, Sedlacek and Jayda Bennett combined to run a time of 4:30.51. Bennett also picked up a fifth-place finish in the 110 hurdles at 16.89.
Placing sixth for Custer was Sedlacek in the discus with a top throw of 106-6, and Larsen in the long jump with a personal best leap of 15-8.
On the boys side Cade Lehman brought home the lone gold medal, winning the triple jump with a top leap of 43-8 1/2.
The ’Cats picked up a second-place finish from the 1600 relay team of Gaulke, Van Horn, Blake Boyster and Drew Lehman in a time of 3:45.59, while Gaulke set a personal record on the way to placing third in the 400 at 53.02. Also placing third for Custer was Blake Boyster in the 200 at 23.9 and Gage Grohs in the 1600 at 4:48.83. Blake Boyster was also fourth in the 100 at a time of 11.22.
Tramp picked up a fifth-place finish in the pole vault with a top height of 11-0, while Van Horn was fifth in the 400 at a personal best time of 53.36. Drew Lehman was fifth in the 1600 at a personal best time of 4:55.05.
Two more relays placed for Custer, as the medley team of Leighton, Drew, Jackson Wiles and Carter Boyster was fifth at 4:07.23 and the 3200 team of Wiles, Drew, Kian Rusch and Sean Shipp was seventh at 9:20.83.
Finally, a couple of Wildcats placed in the pole vault at the Center of the Nation meet last Saturday in Belle Fourche. Stiefel won the girls pole vault with a top height of 10-9, while Tramp was third in the boys event with a personal record height of 11-6.
Thursday is supposed to be the Custer Invitational on the Wildcats’ home turf, but the weather forecast has made that meet unlikely to happen—in Custer at least. If the weather is better, the meet may take place in Hot Springs. A scheduled meet for Pierre in Saturday is also in peril and may be rescheduled to Monday.

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