Competing in the Class "A" division against teams from Omaha, Sioux City, and Sioux Falls high schools as well as others in the four-state area, Vermillion's track and field athletes got their first taste of 2011 competition Monday inside the DakotaDome in the Dan Lennon Invitational and fared well in the process.
"This was a great start for the Tanagers," said Coach Lenni Billberg. "We competed hard and saw many bright spots. We hope to continue our improvements throughout the season."
The Tanager boys' 4×400 relay team streaked to victory in their heat and placed sixth overall in a time of 3:43.55. Running for the Red and White were Aaron Ruhaak, Colin Olson, Tanner Anderson and Cody Olson.
Vermillion relay teams also won their heats in the boys and girls medleys and the girls 4×400. The boys medley team was 14th in 3:56.51, the girls medley team 11th in 4:39.22 and the girsl 4×400 team 14th in 4:36.02.
Cody Olson's sixth in the 400-meter dash was Vermillion's best individual performance among the boys' events. Olson missed fifth place by .02 and fourth place by .03. He also had a good day in his relay events, running three seconds faster than last year's best time on his legs of both the medley and the 4×400.
Ruhaak was 12th in the 400 in :55.08 and Dylan Fischbach 51st in 1:18.28.
Blair Gilkyson led the way for VHS in the girls' events with a sixth-place finish in the 800-meter run in 2:30.18. In the same event Jade Fostvedt was 26th in 2:47.33 and Lexi Regnerus 35th in 2:52.51.
Freshman Nick Jensen placed 21st in the shot put with a heave of 43'1", a seven-foot improvement over his best throw of last season. Alex Robertson placed 20th in the high jump at 5'4", Jay Munger was 41st in the long jump at 15'6 3/4", Nathan Ford came home 26th in the 3200-meter run in 12:07.57, Dylan Fischbach placed 27th in the 1600 in 5:09.32, and Andrew Kost had a preliminaries time of :10.55 in the 60-meter hurdles. In the 800-meter run Brandon Fischer was 28th in 2:19.35 and Alex Osborne 43rd in 2:27.31.
In the girls' 60-meter hurdles Val Moos' time of :10.81 was 17th-best in the prelims, just one slot and .02 out of the last qualifying spot for the semifinals. Carlee Sorensen had a time of :11.07 in that event.
In the 60-meter dash Christine Epping had a preliminaries time of :08.84, Courtney Johnson :09.04 and Emily McClelland :09.55. In the 400 Abreunna Raizola placed 26th in 1:12.83 and Kylie Fischbach 27th in 1:12.99. Ashley Brunick ran the 1600 in 6:21.56, good for 29th place. Megan Olson had a best long jump of 14'5 1/4" for 21st place. The VHS girls 4×200 relay team placed 15th in 1:58.65.
The Tanager tracksters will venture outdoors, weather permitting, on Tuesday at Elk Point-Jefferson's meet at 3:30 and next Thursday at the Vermillion Booster Club Invitational at 2:30 p.m.