Vermillion athletes earned Big 8 Conference championships in five events as the league conducted its annual track and field meet in perfect weather conditions at Lennox last Friday.
The Tanager teams both placed third in the five-team league. The girls had 73 points, trailing champion West Central with 125 points and runner-up Madison with 109. The boys accumulated 59 points to finish behind runaway champion Madison with 167 points and runner-up Harrisburg, just two points ahead of Vermillion at 61.
Sarah Day and Blair Gilkyson emerged as conference champions in individual girls events. Day won the 400-meter run in 1:00.8. Gilkyson captured top honors in the 1600 in 5:36.2 and also placed fourth in the 800 in 2:31.5.
The VHS girls medley quartet of Paige Olson, Megan Olson, Janani Ragathoman and Sophie Nehlich-Arobba broke the tape in 4:39.4. The Tanagers had the lead after the first two 200s and trailed just slightly after the 400 when Nehlich-Arobba took the baton for the anchor leg.
Tanner Anderson is this year's Big 8 boys mile champ, streaking home first in the 1600 in 4:58.00. He earned another medal with a third in the 800 in 2:08.50.
The other Tanager champion was Will Mart, who won the discus event with a best throw of 134'5".
Other Vermillion girls who placed included Christine Epping, second in the 200 in :27.1; Morgan Hower, fourth in the 3200 in 12:59.7; Valerie Moos, fifth in the 100-meter hurdles in :17.5; Beth Szymonski, second in the discus at 110', and Lacey Leichtnam, seventh in the discus at 82'5".
VHS girls relay teams were second in the 800 in 1:50.9, only 1.7 seconds behind Madison; second in the 1600 in 4:17.6, just 2.5 seconds behind Madison, and third in the 3200 in 10:58.4.
The Tanager boys, who jumped up from a last-place finish in the conference meet a year ago, had a trio of double-placers, including Mart, who was also sixth in the shot put at 41'11". Cody Olson was second in the 100 at :11.6, only :00.2 behind the winner, Madison's William D'Artist at :11.4. Olson also placed third in the 400 in :52.8, followed by teammate Aaron Ruhaak in fourth at :54.7.
Anderson, besides his victory in the mile, placed third in the 800 at 2:08.50. Teammates Austin Krier, fourth in 2:08.70, and Carson Sullivan, fifth in 2:12.20, were right behind him.
Ryan Kost also placed twice, running fifth in the 110-meter hurdles in :17.1 and fourth in the 300s in :45.0. Fellow Tanager Chris Sargent was fifth in the latter event in :46.7. Nathan ford was fifth in the 3200 in 11:41.50 and Alex Robertson fifth in the high jump at 5'5".
Tanager relay foursomes were third in four different events—the 400 in :49.2, the 800 in 1:43.0, the 1600 in 3:34.40 and the 3200 in 8:40.80. VHS was also fourth in the medley in 4:18.60.
The Region 4A meet, if weather allowed, was held at Dakota Valley High School yesterday afternoon. The Tanagers who qualified will compete in the state meet with the prelims of Class "A" at Lennox next Friday and all finals in Sioux Falls the following day.