By Victoria Dahlin—
The weather cooperated May 15 when both the Rush City boys and girls track teams took Champion Runner-up at the Great River Conference Championships at Hinckley-Finlayson High School.
Kayla Nelson was awarded Most Valuable.
The girls earned 137 points to place ahead of Hinckley-Finlayson with 108, Pine City 80, Braham 60, Aitkin 46, Ogilvie 46 and East Central 43. They only lost to Mille Lacs (Isle/Onamia) with 146 team points.
Earning All-Conference by winning their events were the 4x100m relay team (Morgan Twingstrom, Alecia Meier, Brooke Hein, Keanna Belau), Kayla Nelson (200m dash, 400m dash), Ashley Swanson (3200m run) Belau (100m dash), Twingstrom (100m hurdles) and Meier (triple jump).
Placing second to earn All-Conference Honorable Mention were Nelson (100m dash, high jump) and Terri Jungles (shot put).
“The girls were focused and poised to capture the conference, but they came up a bit short losing to a very talented and well-coached Mille Lacs team,” said Coach Mike Vaughan. “We knew that we had to put together a perfect meet to win because Mille Lacs has been beating us most of the season. Kayla Nelson won the Most Valuable Player (Athlete) of the conference. She has worked very hard this year to become the track athlete she is. I know last season was disappointing because she sat out most of the season with a stress fracture. She has been determined and hungry since the first day of practice. I am very glad she has received this well-deserved award.”
The Tiger boys racked up 174.5 points to place over Pine City with 127.5, East Central 52.5, Ogilvie 46, Braham 38 and Aitkin 26. Only Hinckley-Finlayson finished ahead with 193.5 team points.
Taking All-Conference with firsts in their events were Isaac Johnson (800m run), Daniel Taylor (1600m run, 3200m run), Daniel Weber (110m hurdles) and Johnathan Meilke (discus throw).
Coming in second and earning All-Conference Honorable Mention were the boys 4x400m relay team (Weber, Dalton Huston,Taylor, Johnson), Weber (300m hurdles, high jump) and Max Maher (pole vault).
“The boys also battled hard and fell short placing second,” said Coach Vaughan. “Our boys are extremely talented and any other year would have captured the conference. The Hinckley team they faced was full of superb senior athletes. Despite our Rush City boys performing at their top level, Hinckley was very determined not to let the conference title slip through their fingers.”
The Rush City track and field teams will compete in the Section 5A Championships at St. John’s University at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 30.