SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Competing in the annual track and field extravaganza of the upper Midwest — the annual Howard Wood-Dakota Relays — several area high school athletes turned in stellar performances Friday and Saturday, including a trio of winning relay teams and an individual first-place finish by Pipestone Area senior Bree Woelber.

Woelber earned three medals at the relays, as she won the 300-meter low hurdles in a sizzling time of 44.66 seconds, after having placed second in the long jump (18 feet, 1.75 inches) and finishing third in the finals of the 100-meter high hurdles (15.48).

Woelber had qualified for the finals with times of 15.25 and 15.28 in the preliminary and semifinal rounds, respectively.

Worthington won the Class A boys’ 1,600-meter sprint medley relay with a time of 3:36.87, as the quartet of Danny Rodriguez (200, 22.9), Will Collin (200, 22.6), Jeremy Clark (400, 50.5) and O.J. Ojullu (800, 1:58.5) put together a fantastic race and earned the first-place trophy.

“We had some awesome individual performances at Howard Wood,” summed up Worthington co-head coach Ken Henkels. “But, those four guys winning that relay was the highlight.

“Each one of them ran a super race and after Clark really gutted out the quarter with his best 400 time ever, O.J. went out fast and took the lead. The second-place team (Tea Area High School, S.D.) came back and caught him, but O.J. pulled away with a very strong finish, after running about a 55-second opening quarter.”

Tea’s second-place time was 3:37.67, while Redfield/Doland (S.D.) finished third in 3:40.17.

Luverne’s girls did the same thing, winning the Class A medley with a time of 4:17.34, while Adrian won the Class A girls’ 4x800-meter relay event, clocked at 9:39.98 — nearly eight seconds ahead the second-place time of 9:47.83 run by Shanley High School from North Dakota.

Section 3A rival Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg ran a third-place time of 9:55.72.

Shanley was also second in the medley with a time of 4:18.94, while Clark/Willow Lake (S.D.) finished third in the 18-team field, clocked at 4:22.43.

Bents breaks WHS shot put record

Individually, Worthington senior Jordon Bents bettered his own school record in the shot put with a heave of 53-10.5, placing him third among the huge field of throwers.

While relay events were divided into three classes (B, A and AA) by school size, all competitors in individual events participated in one large class, known as the high school division.

“Placing high in an individual event is a challenging accomplishment,” noted Henkels. “Both Jordon and Mubarik Musa came up with all-time personal bests and claimed third-place medals, which is really good at this meet.”

Musa came close to winning the 1,600-meter race, finishing third with a PR (personal record) time of 4:20.91. Earlier in the day, Musa had gone out with the leaders in the 3,200-meter run, but was unable to keep up with the fast pace and faded to 16th, clocked at 10:01.09.

Sarah Cham brought home a third-place medal in the girls’ triple jump, sailing 36-5.

Other high-placers for the Trojans, included Tara Svalland (seventh, girls’ high jump, 5-2), Brandon Berger (seventh, boys’ 110-meter high hurdles, 15.62), Berger (seventh, 300-meter intermediate hurdles, 40.75), Junior Nguyen (12th, boys’ pole vault, 12-0) and Ojullu (14th, boys’ 1,600, 4:32.58).

Henkels noted that Ojullu ran a personal best time in the 1,600 and that Berger’s time of 15.17 in the high hurdle semifinals (third-fastest qualifying time for the finals) was also a personal record.

Wilgenburg, Kopplow, Heitkamp, Sawtelle, Veldhuizen, Sumption, Steele earn medals

Six other area girls claimed individual medals at Howard Wood and PA boys’ hurdler Gathin Veldhuizen ran a pair of stellar races in the finals and earned a pair of medals.

Hills-Beaver Creek senior Whitney Wilgenburg and Adrian sophomore Jordin Kopplow finished 3-4 in the huge 3,200-meter field with respective times of 11:28.40 and 11:31.01.

Adrian senior Hailee Heitkamp ran to a fifth-place medal in the 300-meter low hurdles (47.46) and Luverne senior Katlyn Sawtelle did the same in the 100-meter high hurdles (15.86).

PA’s Trisha Sumption and Windom junior Hannah Steele both uncorked throws beyond 39 feet and claimed the fifth and sixth-place medals in the girls’ shot put with distances of 39-10 and 39-1.75, respectively.

Veldhuizen ran strong qualifying times of 15.64 and 15.49 to advance to the finals of the 110-meter high hurdles. In the finals, he raced to a fourth-place medalist performance with an outstanding time of 15.35. He later finished sixth in the 300-meter intermediates, clocked at 40.47.

Luverne’s MaKayla Hohn had a top 10 finish in the 3,200, finishing ninth with a time of 11:38.3, giving Sub-Section 10 a trio of outstanding performances in that event.

The Cardinals had two other relay teams bring home medals, as both 4x200-meter relays teams placed among the top six in Class A. The LHS girls were third (1:47.72), while the boys finished sixth (1:33.23).

Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin’s girls finished seventh in the Class B 4x200 with a time of 1:53.38.

Tags: track and field, pipestone area, sports, prep, trojans, windom, luverne, adrian