Tanagers win State A track crown By Jeremy Hoeck
Yankton Press & Dakotan The last two years had provided the same result for the Vermillion girlsâ�?�? track team: Second-place finishes to St. Thomas More. Yet, in 2008, the Tanagers found a way to edge the Cavaliers and win the schoolâ�?�?s first-ever girls state team title. Vermillion held off St. Thomas More 60-56 Saturday in Sioux Falls at the Class A state meet. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s just really neat to finally climb the hump,â�? said Vermillion coach Jim McGuire, moments after his team was honored at the award stand. â�?�?The girls put in the time and effort to get to this point. I couldnâ�?�?t be prouder and happier for them.â�? Last year, Vermillion senior Alicia Brown won four individual events, but the Tanagers were unable to overcome the Cavaliers. And this year, Brown won one individual race (400-meter dash) but was a member of two winning relays for Vermillion. To win the title, it took a true team effort. â�?�?We all wanted to win a championship, and now it came true,â�? Brown said. â�?�?In the last two years, we knew what it took to get that high. Now we finally got there and weâ�?�?re so excited.â�? Brown, headed to The University of South Dakota to play basketball, won her fourth-straight 400-meter dash title and later finished second in the 200-meter dash â�?�? behind Gregoryâ�?�?s Alexa Duling. Brown also anchored the 400- and 800-meter relays for Vermillion, but it was the Tanagersâ�?�? third-place finish in the 1600-meter sprint medley that likely put Vermillion over the hump in total team points. â�?�?When we got the four-by-two, I thought â�?�?Weâ�?�?re going to get it done,â�?�?â�? McGuire said. â�?�?Our medley relay definitely put us over the top, especially with the 200 coming up.â�? It was in that 200-meter dash where Brown faced off against long-time nemeis Duling, Gregoryâ�?�?s senior leader. Dulingâ�?�?s victory over Brown in 25.82 was her fourth individual title of the meet â�?�? solidifying her as the Class A Outstanding Performer. Duling, also headed to The University of South Dakota where sheâ�?�?ll run track, won the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 100 and 300-meter hurdles. After battling Brown on the track, she said her attempts at convincing the Vermillion senior to run track havenâ�?�?t worked. â�?�?I tried talking her into doing track, but she wants to stick with basketball,â�? said a smiling Duling. â�?�?We could have a killer relay squad if she did. Thatâ�?�?d be cool to be her teammate, instead of racing against her.â�? With only two Gregory girls competing the state tournament, Dulingâ�?�?s performance single-handily earned the Gorillas a fourth-place finish in the team standings with 40 points. â�?�?Our goal was to come away with a top-four finish,â�? she said. â�?�?So, we did what we wanted to.â�? Parkston senior Kelli Fiegen won the girlsâ�?�? discus for the second-straight year with a toss of 137-feet, 8-inches, defeating Beresfordâ�?�?s Alyssa Henrichs by nearly 10 feet. Fiegenâ�?�?s toss was just short of her personal best of 139-10. â�?�?I thought itâ�?�?d be harder because of the wind and cold, but it worked out well,â�? she said. â�?�?But it was a really slow season because of the weather. Our first three meets got cancelled, so we were used to this.â�? In the girlsâ�?�? 1600-meter run, Bon Homme eighth-grader Tara Ronke led with one lap to go, but finished second to Leola/Frederickâ�?�?s Mikayla Barondeau. Still, it was quite an improvement for Ronke, who finished eighth in the same event last year. â�?�?I tried to get out fast, but then I saw her go by me,â�? she said of this yearâ�?�?s run. â�?�?I get nervous easily, so before, I was trying to calm myself down. I was excited to get second, but Iâ�?�?m glad itâ�?�?s done.â�? The Elk Point-Jefferson girls 1600-meter sprint medley squad of Rachel Fehr, Chrissy Strassburg, Hannah Wilkinson and Anna Erickson finished first in 4:24.67. With that performance, the Huskies finished fifth (38 points) in the girlsâ�?�? team standings. On the boysâ�?�? side, Parkston finished third with 40 points behind the performances of Luke Leischner and Alex Muntefering. Leischner took second in the 400-meter dash, while Muntefering finished second in the 1600-meter run. In the 1600, Muntefering was first coming down the home stretch but Hot Springsâ�?�? Eamin Entwisle used a strong finish to win the event. â�?�?I remember getting boxed in, but that happens,â�? said Muntefering, who won the 800-meter run Friday in Madison. â�?�?With like 250 to go, I felt my legs tighten up and the wind just hit me. â�?�?I couldnâ�?�?t do my classic push at the end,â�? he added, with a smile. â�?�?I didnâ�?�?t have any juice left.â�? For the senior to even be running on the final day of the state meet is remarkable, considering he nearly lost his left foot in a February 2007 farming accident. â�?�?It wasnâ�?�?t quite what I hoped, but how can I be disappointed?â�? he said, recapping the state meet. â�?�?I never even expected to be back at this level.â�? Sioux Falls Christian won the boysâ�?�? team title with 69 points, followed by Lennox (51), Parkston (40), Garretson (35) and Custer (32).
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