Invitational preps schools for competition
Athletes competing at Friday’s Marion Invitational appeared to agree that struggling against tougher competition early prepares them for their season.
The meet was a taste of the performance expected at state, said Noah Dalrymple of Marion, who went to state for high jump last year.
“Our season definitely builds up to state,” he said. “It prepares us for harder competition as the season goes on.”
None of the four area schools had an event-winner, but each had at least two athletes place.
Dalrymple said having the invitational early in the season is important because it provides competition against more schools than most meets do, he said.
“It focuses us for big meets to come,” he said. “It shows us what to expect, in terms of competition.”
Thrower Charlie Nordquist rose to the occasion with a second-place finish in discus and a personal best of 137-feet-4-inches. He also finished sixth in shot put with a throw of 40-feet-9¾-inches.
The hosts came in seventh for the boys and girls. The girls’ 30 points were earned by six competitors, while the 20 points for the boys were earned by five athletes across six events.
Girls top finishers: Girls fourth place, 4-by-400-meter, 4:38.72, fifth place, 4-by-100-meter, 55.35 seconds; Anne Baliel second place, pole vault, 9-feet-3-inches, third place, 200-meter, 28.73 seconds; Michaela Regnier third place, pole vault, 7-feet-9-inches; Emmy Hess fifth place, long jump, 15-feet-9¾-inches, sixth place, triple jump, 32-feet-2¼-inches, sixth place, 100-meter-hurdles, 18.55 seconds.
Boys top finishers: Todd Palic third place, javelin, 146-feet-7-inches; Dalrymple fourth place, high jump, 5-feet-10-inches; Colton Mercer sixth place, 800-meter, 2:11.62.
Marion wasn’t the only team having to rise to the occasion.
Repeat state-qualifier Stephany Meyer of Goessel took fourth in triple jump with 33-feet-4¼-inches.
“I was hoping for 34 or 35 feet,” she said. “It was greater competition than I was expecting.”
Despite tallying four points for her performance, Meyer had to scratch from the long jump because of injury.
“It’s no fun to have to watch others compete,” she said.
“I like to keep the team before my own interests, but you have to do what will keep you in the best shape,” she said.
The Bluebirds rounded out the top-10 for both girls and boys, taking 18 points for the girls, and six for the boys.
Girls top finishers: Girls sixth place, 4-by-800-meter, 12:27.26; fifth place, 4-by-400-meter, 4:52.03; Elsie Clark third place, high jump, 5-feet, fourth place, 3200-meter, 13:52.28; Elyse Boden, sixth place, 3200-meter, 14:51.63.
Boys top finishers: Boys fifth place, 4-by-100-meter, 47.7 seconds; Zackary Guerrero fourth place, 110-meter-hurdles, 19.65 seconds.
Centre girls’ 4-by-100-meter scored the lone points for the girls with a fourth-place finish, but they can still improve, runner Samantha Espinoza said.
“I definitely think we have a chance to make it to state,” she said. “We almost made it last year. We had a different runner last year, but she wasn’t a sprinter, and Carly Deines is.”
Espinoza no longer runs other sprints, but sees it as a benefit in preparing for the relay, she said.
“It’s definitely an advantage,” she said. “Even though I haven’t run that day, I’m already stretched and I know how to warm up.”
The best performances for the boys came from Xavier Espinoza and Jensen Riffel, who each tallied half of the boys’ 12 points.
According to coach Alan Stahlecker, six Centre athletes set personal bests.
Girls top finishers: Girls fourth-place, 4-by-100-meter, 55.11 seconds.
Boys top finishers: Riffel fourth place, discus 124-feet-7-inches, fifth place, shot put, 40-feet-10-inches; Espinoza fourth place, 100-meter, 11.83 seconds, fifth place, long jump, 19-feet-9½-inches.
Junior Caleb VanCuren didn’t place high enough to earn points for the Warriors, but said he was satisfied with his performance overall.
“It’s a good start,” he said. “Around this time last year, I wasn’t close to performing this well.”
VanCuren finished with a 2:21.39 in the 800-meter. Cutting a few seconds down each meet would put him in competition for a spot at state, he said.
While having a major meet early in the season was difficult, competing against athletes from bigger schools gave his motivation a boost, VanCuren said.
“You get here and see all the bigger athletes,” he said. “It’s a different experience. It pushes you to perform on their level.”
The Warriors finished in 12th for the boys and 14th among the girls teams, with two points each.
Girls top finishers: Mya Winter fifth place, 1600-meter, 6:15.58.
Boys top finishers: Taven Scott fifth place, 110-meter-hurdles, 19.95 seconds.
Last modified April 10, 2019