Troy Goehring and Chase Kortan by Troy Goehring

For the second consecutive year in Aberdeen the weather was interesting during the state Hershey Track and Field Meet June 26. With a threat of thunderstorms we escaped during the meet with just a few cooling showers. The trip home was a little bit more interesting, as the storms hit eastern South Dakota during the evening hours. We had several good performances, including a state winner and national qualifier, when Chase Kortan won the softball throw for the third consecutive year. His throw of 183' 4 earned him a place on the Midwest team representing South Dakota in the national meet.

The state place winners from Bon Homme are as follows:

Girls 9-10 years old

Softball throw: Bailey Kortan third 104'4

50 meter dash: Bailey Kortan fourth 8.10

200 meter dash: Bailey Kortan seventh 34.54

Girls 11-12 years old

Softball throw: Sierra Mesman third 121'1

Long jump: McKeely Merkwan seventh 6'41/2

Girls 13-14 years old

100 meter dash: Anna Heusinkveld fifth 14.02

Boys 9-10 years old

Softball throw: Mace Merkwan fifth 119'3

Long jump: Joey Slama third 6' 3 1/2

50 meter dash: Joey Slama seventh 15.82

200 meter dash: Joey Slama eighth 34.10

400 meter dash: Mace Merkwan fifth 1:15.38

Boys 11-12 years old

Softball throw: Chase Kortan first 183'4

100 meter dash: Chase Kortan fourth 13.91

Long jump: Chase Kortan second 7'6

National Meet in Hershey, Penn. August 7

Being asked in early June to make the trip to Hershey, Penn. by Lauren Tolsma the state coordinator was quite an honor. I had no idea what being a chaperone entailed at the time, but I have heard from the athletes from Bon Homme who have made it to Hershey in the past that it is a great trip, so I thought that I would give it a shot.

The Hershey Company pays for everything for about 600 people to go out there. They provide some great meals, entertainment and board the participants and chaperones for three nights. The time spent there is busy going to the theme park, meeting new friends and listening to speeches by Carl Lewis, Raefer Alston and Sonya Richards/Ross. We had a flight cancellation in Detroit, so we missed the opening ceremonies, which was disappointing. I found out that the track meet, which lasts for only about four hours is just part of the experience.

The South Dakota competitors were a super group to be around. It is true that we do have some of the most respectful kids in the nation, as I observed them in airports, on buses and competing throughout the experience. They also were very competitive, as they placed no less than seventh place in any event. We had a national champion, as Peyton Zabel from Pierre won the 9-10 softball throw with a toss of 159'1 1/4.

I think the biggest thing that I took from the experience is the fact that we have had as many people from Bon Homme reach this meet in the past few years. Tara Ronke, Sierra Mesman and Chase Kortan were the recent athletes to reach this special meet. Chase has made the trip the past three summers and should be very proud of that. Chase didn't perform like he wanted to this year, as he finished sixth, with a throw of 165'4 1/2. But making it to this meet is amazing as there were some 400,000 people that competed throughout the nation and to be one of 550 to make it to the national meet is really cool.

All-in-all it was a great trip, exhausting at times, as they kept us really busy. I would make the trip again, as the track meet and the whole trip was an awesome experience.