By BRAD SALMEN
The DC track & field team opened the 2019 season with a meet at Rockford Friday, April 5.
While team scores were not provided for the meet, coach Nathan Youngs said he and his staff were very encouraged by the results for the first meet of the year.
“The boys took a big step forward from last year, which is what all the coaches were hoping for. We saw an increase in effort, and we saw competitiveness in all areas, which will set us up to meet our goal of moving up in the conference,” said Youngs. “The girls showed some of the results that moved them up last year, and we saw a few new things that might set us up to move even higher in the conference. It was cool and cloudy, but the girls performed at a high level, and I cannot wait until the next meet to put a few more things together.”
Both the boys and girls had one first-place finish for the meet.
The boys 4×100 relay team of Joel Selseth, Eli Gillman, Erik Koller, and Blake Johnson took first in convincing fashion, with anchor Johnson crossing the finish line a good 20 meters ahead of the nearest competition.
Kezia Lee also took first, winning the girls 200m race.
Also placing in the top-three were:
• Josh DeBoer took second in both the disc and shot put.
• Lily Kraemer took second in the 400.
• Joel Selseth took second in the long jump.
• the boys 4×200 relay (Cayden Schmandt, Ethan Stertz, Christian Johnson, Prestin Bradley) took second.
• the girls 4×200 relay (Kezia Lee, Lily Kraemer, Marianna Aho, and Sophia Hillmann) took second.
• Sophia Hillmann took third in the 400.
• Emily Aho took third in the 800.
• Juan Severson took third in the 800.
• Aleah Vetsch took third in the long jump.
• Eli Gillman took third in the triple jump.
Coach Youngs indicated that for this season, each assistant coach will be providing analysis for their respective areas.
Coach Erica Lindquist (hurdles): I was pleased with the distance athletes’ performances, as it was a great start to the season and many athletes are already ahead of or right at their personal records from last season. I thought they came ready to race and did a great job of pushing past the first meet jitters.
Specifically, Henry Dahlman ran a stellar leg in the 4×800 of 2:16, and was just two seconds off that time in the open 800. He ended the season running that time last year, so he’s already ahead.
Also, Juan Severson ran a personal record of 2:10 in the open 800, which is a standout time especially this early on. I’m excited to see how fast he can go.
On the girls side Jewels Jorgensen ran a great leg in the 4×800 of 2:39 and I’m excited to drop that time closer to 2:30 as the season continues.
Coach Doug Asquith (throws): Overall I was really happy with the effort and results put forth by our throwers. Of the 12 throwers we had at the meet, there were 20 personal records set (some throwers set PRs in both Shot and Disc). Josh DeBoer took second in both Shot and Disc making him the highest scoring thrower at the meet.
Overall it was a meet that confirmed my optimism for this season.
Coach Nicole Eldred (sprints): I thought the meet went well in many ways, especially with athletes stepping up to do events they had not done before.
There were some great races in the boys 100, with some matching their times from last year in the first meet of the season and some setting a new personal best. (New personal best was Joel Selseth). This was spectacular to see in cold weather conditions.
Athletes also got experience with handoffs in the relays. We had some strong times in the 200 also. The boys 4×100 did very well taking first place. The girls 4×200 also ran a great race.
Coach Beau Gagnon (jumps): The meet was a good start to the season for the jumpers, highlighted by the underclassmen.
In the girls long jump, freshman Aleah Vetsch had a solid mark of 14’ 5.00” for 3rd place along with senior Marianna Aho just behind with a mark of 14-3 for 4th.
On the boys side, sophomore Joel Selseth covered 17’ 9.50” for a 2nd place finish and freshman Eli Gillman jumping 16-8.
In the triple jump, two girls nearly cracked the 30-foot barrier with Marianna Aho jumping 29-11. and junior Kiana Keith with a mark of 28-8. On the boys side, two boys had jumps over 37 feet, with Eli Gillman leading the way with a mark of 37-9 for 3rd, and Joel Selseth with a mark of 37-3.5 for 5th.
In the boys high jump, we are improving in our depth with Eli Gillman and 7th grader Monte Gillman both clearing 5-0 as well as three additional jumpers clearing 4-10.
Coach Beth Keskey (pole vault): In the pole vault, the boys both jumped at or near their personal records from last year. We picked up where we left off from last year, which is awesome!
The girls did a great job taking risks, as neither of them had ever jumped before.
I saw some good things. We still overall looked a little uncomfortable on the pole (which is common for the beginning of the season). Looking forward to getting a lot more reps in before the snow comes and back into the swing of things!
The next action for the track & field team is Tuesday at Waconia (weather permitting). The next scheduled meet after that is April 23 at New London-Spicer.