Hayfield Vikings claim Gopher track title
Hayfield came away victorious, but just 15 points separated first and fourth- place at the girls’ Gopher Conference Track and Field Meet at Blooming Prairie High School on Tuesday, May 13.
The Vikings finished with 117 total team points. They were followed by Maple River with 113, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale- Geneva 105, Medford 102, Waterville-Elysian- Morristown 99, United South Central 74, Blooming Prairie 57, Faribault Bethlehem Academy 43.
NRHEG claimed two individual conference champions in Caitlin Goette and the 1,600-meter relay team. Goette won the 400 dash with a time of one minutes
and 3.90 seconds and finished
fifth in the high jump. She was also a member of the winning 1,600 relay team along with Jayna Finseth, Raquel Fischer and Journey Utpadel, which finished the
race in 4:30.46. Utpadel also
finished third in the 800 run with a time of 2:37.91.
Some of the Panthers other top performers were Evelyn Nydegger (third in the 400), Tori Vaale (fourth in the
1,600), Micaela Vaale (second
in the 3,200), Annabelle Petsinger (third in the 3,200), Natalie Johnson (second in the 100 hurdles and third in the 300 hurdles) and Diamond Woollard (fourth in the
Micaela Vaale, Tori Vaale, Petsinger and Olvia Kofstad also earned silver in the 3,200 relay.
NRHEG competes at its subsection meet on Thursday at Fairmont.
Medford won as many events, four, as Hayfield, but lacked the depth necessary to come away victorious.
“I am extremely proud of both teams,” Medford head coach Kevin Werk said.
The Tigers were led by senior Racheal Luebbe and newcomers Emma Kniefel and Kiley Nihart.
Luebbe, a 2018 state meet qualifier, claimed individual championships in the high and triple jumps with leaps of
5-feet-5-inches and 33-6.75.
“[Luebbe] has been a stud for us this year,” Werk said. “She is our leading scorer and usually competes in four events every meet. We will
probably reduce that to two or three events for subsections focusing on the high jump.That is her best event and her best chance at making the podium at the state meet."
Luebbe was also a member of the Tigers’ 800 relay team that finished first with a time of 1:53.47 and the 400 relay team that finished second. Both team consisted of Luebbe, Nihart, Kniefel and Brooke Purrier running various legs. Nihart and Kniefel joined the team this season after playing previously playing softball.
“[Emma Kniefel and Kiley Nihart] have been great additions to our team this year,” Werk said. “I think they both have great chances of qualifying for the section meet. They both keep getting better each week.”
Nihart also won the long jump with a leap of 15-10 and Kniefel placed third in the long and triple jumps, and Kinsey Cronin finished third in the shot put with a toss of 34-4.
The Tigers will host their subsection meet on Tuesday, May 21.
“Our subsection is much more difficult than our conference,” Werk said. “There are teams like Byron and Pine Island that are much bigger than we are. We don’t really focus on team scores at subsections, we just try to qualify as many athletes to sections as possible.”
Blooming Prairie failed to capture any individual conference titles, but head coach Chelsea Van Roekel said the team was missing a few key point scorers.
The Awesome Blossoms top finish was the 1,600 relay team of Anna Kittelson, Grace Krejci, Madi Lea and Sierra Larson that placed second with a time of
Larson was also fourth in the 200 with a time of 28.84.
Micalyn Trihus was third in the discus and seventh in shot put, Abby Smith was sixth in the 3,200 run and Rachael Oswald was third in the 100 hurdles and fourth in 400 hurdles with
times of 18.09 and 53.03, respectively.
“Rachael Oswald is a our lone senior and she has been a strong leader all season, “ Van Roekel said. “She continues to take time off of her 100 and 300 hurdle races every single meet, it would be nice to see her compete as long as possible.”
Blooming Prairie travels to Stewartville on Thursday for its subsection meet.