Track team gets off to strong start

The Custer High School track team started its season off with a bang last week at the Comet Classic hosted by Rapid City Christian, as a bevy of Wildcats won events or placed high in events.
“It was a great start. A good first meet,” head coach Karen Karim said. “We had some pretty good performances. It was nice to see. There were things we figured out we need to work more on, and we get to see where everyone is at, which is a nice thing.”
Among those who performed well was sprinter Blake Boyster, who blew away the field in three events, winning the 200 (by almost two seconds) in a time of 22.7 seconds, while also winning the 400 handily at 51.28. It appeared Boyster had won the 100 in a school record time of 10.54, but the results of the 100 were later declared invalidated due to faulty timing equipment.
Mikael Grace also picked up a pair of gold medals, as he won the 110 hurdles by three seconds, posting a time of 43.98, while also winning the high jump in his first attempt at the event with a top height of 6-0.
Custer’s other male individual champion was Justin Doyle, who set a personal best with a distance of 47-3 1/2 in winning the shot put. Doyle also placed second in the discus with a top distance of 119-0.
One Wildcat relay finished in first place, as the team of Landon Leighton, Haydn Yackley, Alex Van Horn and Drew Lehman finished at a time of 4:05.91.
Another second place finish came from Miles Ellman, who picked up the silver medal in the 1600 at a time of 4:47.15. Robbie Emery was second in the pole vault with a top height of 12-0. Rounding out the second place finishes were  the 3200 relay team of Sam Gaulke, Van Horn, Kai Rusch and Jackson Drew, which finished with a time of 9:22.26, and the 1600 relay team of Grace, Grohs, Ellman and Sam Gaulke, which finished in a time of 3:46.95.
Gage Grohs finished third in the 1600 at a time of 4:45.40, while Reid Saufley finished fourth in the discus at 109-4. Fifth place finishes fame from Matt Merrill in both the shot put and discus with throws of 35-4 1/4 and 108-2, respectively, Preston Drew in the 1600 at 5:04.88 and the 400 relay team of Leighton, Yackley Cade Lehman and Carter Boyster at 49.04.
Mical Grace finished sixth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 49.25, while Drew Lehman was sixth in the 1600 at 5:07.11. Saufley finished seventh in the shot put at 34-8 1/2 Cade Lehman finished seventh in the triple jump with a personal best leap of 37-2 1/2.
The final placing came from the 800 relay team of Wyatt Busch, Isaiah Savery, Jacob Schuh and Taycen Barnes, which finished in a time of 2:01.36.
Josey Wahlstrom won a pair of championships for the girls, as she brought home the gold meal in the 400 at 1:01.76 while also winning the pole vault with a top height of 9-6.
Wahlstrom was joined as a champion at the meet by JoJo Larsen, who set a personal record in winning the 200 at 25.72, while Ramsey Karim won the 1600 at 5:26.97. The Wildcats also swept both the throwing events, as Torri Virtue won the shot put at 34-1 1/4 and Alice Sedlacek set a personal record in the discus with a best throw of 116-05.
The final championship for the girls came via the 1600 relay, with Karim, Eva Studt, Brit Wheeler and Kadense Dooley combining to post a time of 4:25.64.
Wahlstrom picked up a silver medal in the 200, finishing just behind Larsen at a personal record time of 25.97. Also placing second was Ciana Stiefel in the pole vault with a top height of 9-0. A Wildcat relay team also placed second, as Larson and Wahlstrom teamed up with Kylee Ellerton and Rachel Miklos to run the 800 relay in 1:52.95.
Larsen picked up a third place finish in the 400 at 1:03.99, while Virtue was third in the discus at 103-0, Maya Tennyson was third in the long jump at 14-9 3/4 and Hailee Graf, Ava Miller, Quinn Lewison and Serenity Meyer joined forces to run the 3200 relay in a time of 13:02.11.
Miklos picked up a fourth place finish in the 400 at 1:06.81, while Bailey Cass was fourth in the triple jump at 30-1 1/2.
Custer’s lone fifth place finish came from Wheeler in the 1600 at 5:53.93, while Sedlacek finished sixth in the shot put at 30-8 3/4 and Paige Fitzler was sixth in the 300 hurdles at 53.89. Fitzler also finished seventh in the 100 hurdles at 20.11.
One relay team placed sixth for Custer, as Fitzler, Adela Marakova, Jayden Yates and Ashlyn Snyder posted a time of 1:01.25.
Karim said seeing some of the athletes post personal records at the first meet of the year bodes well for the rest of the season.
“We have some kids who have come in ahead of where they were last year,” she said. “The coaching staff can look where holes are we need to fill in.”
Saturday the team heads to Douglas for the annual Early Bird meet, which is set for a 9 a.m. start.
“Hopefully we get a decent day and get some more people out there,” Karim said. “We’ll move some people around, try to get some other things qualified (for state). We’ll just keep looking ahead.”

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