By Victoria Dahlin—
In their last two track meets, both the Tiger track teams showed their desire to improve and achieve the goal of taking the conference championships this year.
The boys totaled 131 team points to place second to only Hinckley-Finlayson (144) while ahead of Ogilvie (48), East Central (44) and Carlton (7) in the competition held at East Central High School April 19.
Coming in first for the boys were the 4x800m relay team (Kyle Nelson, Garret Larson, Dan Taylor, Isaac Johnson), 4x200m relay team (Alex Kristofferson, Hunter Leigland, Dan Johnson, Joe Halbert) Taylor (3200m run), Mitch Mallinger (shot put) and Max Maher (pole vault).
“We are not performing at our top level yet,” said Coach Mike Vaughan. “The next few weeks are very important and we hope to train hard and remain injury free. Seniors Dan Taylor and Ike Johnson are running very well at the distance events and our young distance runners are developing and complementing Dan and Ike in those events.”
The Tiger girls tallied 93 points to take second after Mille Lacs (Isle/Onamia) with 185.5 and ahead of Hinckley-Finlayson (86.5), East Central (83), Carlton (59) and Ogilvie (47).
Winning their events for the girls were the 4x200m relay (Sammi Oscarson, Kristy Carlson, Bailey Murawski, Kayla Nelson), 4x100m relay (Morgan Twingstrom, Raven Keehbler, Brooke Hein, Keanna Belau), Kayla Nelson (400m dash), Belau (100m dash) and Terri Jungels (shot put)
“We had some fine performances out of seniors, Ashley Swanson (3200) and Teri Jungles (shot put),” said Coach Vaughan. “Ashley is running strong and confident. Ninth graders Kayla Nelson and Keanna Belau continue to show their strength in the sprints and mid-distance.”
The Rush City track and field teams participated in the Chengwatana Meet in Pine City last Friday with the boys team racking up 134 points to win the contest ahead of Moose Lake/Willow River (119), Hinckley-Finalyson (117), Pine City (101), Braham (58), East Central (20) and Legacy Christian Academy (5).
Taking firsts in their events were Daniel Weber (110m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Daniel Taylor (1600m run, 3200m run), Max Maher (pole vault) and Johnathan Mielke (discus).
“Our boys won and looked strong winning,” said Coach Vaughan. “But much more work needs to be done if we want to be the team we can be. We had a lot of first places, but if we want to compete with Hinckley we need to pick up a few more places in each event. Our developing talent, along with the athletes who take first, makes us a much stronger team.”
The Tiger girls finished with 79.5 points to place third in the Chengwatana ahead of Pine City (75), Braham (64), Moose Lake/Willow River (54), East Central (28) and Legacy Christian Academy (19) and behind Mille Lacs (147.5) and Hinckley-Finlayson (90).
Placing first for the girls were the 4x800m relay (Swanson, Alissa Mell, Oscarson, Kayla Nelson), 4x100m relay (Twingstrom, Meier, Hein, Belau), Meier (triple jump) and Belau (100m dash, 200m dash).
“We still look strong overall, but work and adjustments in practice will allow us to finish much better than we did,” said Coach Vaughan. “We do have a few gaps in the line-up that will be filled. We will need to improve some more in the field events in order to compete with Mille Lacs and Hinckley for conference. We are currently struggling with a few injuries and tired legs, but hopefully those will all clear up by time for True Team and Conference.”
The Rush City boys and girls track teams will compete in the Hinckley Invitational at Hinckley-Finlayson High School at 3:45 p.m. Friday, May 4 before competing in the Section 5A True Team Meet at Sibley East High School in Arlington at 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 8.