Last weekend, the crew that qualified for the state meet headed down to Sioux Falls to compete for their team in the 2019 SDHSAA State Track & Field Championships. As was the theme of the season, Friday's events included some weather issues: a 1 hour delay due to rain. After the rain passed, the weather changed it's mind, heating up considerably throughout the rest of the meet.
Both the boys and girls went into the meet in Heat #1 (the "slow heat") and ranked 9th overall. Since it was a two-section final, the plan was to race as fast as possible, not necessarily just win the section as the top 8 times would score.
Elise Unkenholz led-off with a personal best 2:26.1 split to put the girls into a lead they would never relinquish. Hailey Uhre made sure the race out of reach for the other squads on the 2nd leg, running a big PR split of 2:22.9. Kasey Van Zee was our 3rd leg and did a nice job holding onto the lead. Bryanna Kuhn had a really strong solo anchor and ended with a PR split of 2:26.7 to give the girls a very solid mark. The girls then looked towards the results of the "fast heat", where their season best 9:54.82 ended up placing them 6th overall to earn 3 points and a state meet medal.
Liam Vidas got the boys 4x800 off to a great start, running a PR split of 2:04.7. Bryton Simons followed Vidas with another great race (his 3rd 800m) running a PR 800 (2:06.5) and more importantly, catching the lead pack. Luke Meyer (2:07.3) and Ethan Schuelke (2:08.3) both ran PR splits while battling Sioux Falls Washington athletes for the heat win, which SFW would ultimately capture. The boys competed hard and ran a season best, but just missed placing by a half-second.
Vidas and Unkenholz ran the 800m legs of the Medley prelims on Friday to help their teams qualify for the finals. In the finals, the boys picked up 2 team points, finishing in 7th place while the girls were 6th.
Jaden Matkins and Van Zee ran in the 800 meter finals, both in Heat #1. Matkins set a new PR in the race, running 2:33.36 to place 18th and Van Zee was 20th in 2:39.57.
The boys placed consecutively in 21st-22nd & 23rd with Simons running 2:08.62, Schuelke setting a PR in 2:08.88 and Ben Jones crossing in 2:10.37.
The 3200 was a mixed bag for many athletes in the field due to acclimation issues with running in snow/rain early in the week and the significantly warmer weather of the late day Friday. For the Raiders, Kuhn excelled in the field, finishing with her highest state track finish ever, passing two girls in the last 30 meters to place 5th in 11:46.56. Uhre struggled a bit with the heat, but hung on admirably for the last medal, placing 8th in 11:51.21. Lucas Steiger was the only athlete in the AA field that approached his PR, moving up from his pre-meet ranking to finish 15th in 10:26.71. Like Uhre, Meyer struggled some and finished 16th, right behind Steiger. Sophomore Hayden Grosz ran even with his pre-meet ranking, finishing in 23rd place.
The athletes handled recovery on Friday evening and had a great mindset heading into Day 2 of the state track meet.
For the girls milers, Uhre ran an intelligent race to finish 6th in 5:17.04, a PR and 9 places better than her pre-meet rank. The effect of two big efforts on Friday showed for Kuhn, as she was back a bit in 18th.
Meyer came back very strong in the 1600 meters, positioning himself well and running a textbook race to place 5th in his first state meet 1600m- and last high school race. You can follow Meyer next year and beyond as he'll be running Cross Country and Track & Field for Colorado Christian University. Vidas was just two seconds out of a scoring, running 4:42.91 which was a gritty effort considering he missed considerable training in the weeks preceding the state meet.
The boys finished in a somewhat unexpected 4th place and although just 5th in the team race, the girls were just 12 points out of the state championship.
1. REST.....Rest, not Half-Way Rest.
2. TRAIN...June 10th @ 6:30 AM we'll start a new training cycle @ Sioux Park. The summer is an opportunity to change the trajectory of your entire running career.
3. THE SECRET... (show up).