The Tanager track and field team competed at the Dakota Valley Invite on Tuesday. Four runners qualified for state in individual events, and many more won the gold.
The Vermillion girls finished third overall with 73 points. The boys were fourth with 64 total points.
Senior Justin Sorensen won the gold and qualified for state in the 1600 by over three seconds with a time of 4:36.43.
Sophomores Jakob Dobney and Tommy Nikkel also qualified for state in the 800. Dobney won the gold with a 2:02.81 which was 0.03 seconds ahead of second. Nikkel earned the bronze at 2:03.79. Both beat the state qualifying time of 2:04.14.
All three boys qualified in the 4x800 in the first meet of the season.
Senior Rachel Brady also qualified in the girls’ 800 and won the gold with a 2:23.81. She beat the state time of 2:27.32 and finished nearly 8 seconds ahead of the next runner.
“Qualifying early in the season is always nice because it takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on other events,” said Brady. “It is a really rewarding feeling to have qualified individually for the first time.”
She is looking forward to improving her times and in other events, all while making the most of her final high school season.
“I’m really trying to leave it all on the track and have been trying to just have fun and enjoy the moment,” said Brady.
Many more Tanagers brought home the hardware from this meet.
Freshman Mya DeJong finished third in the high jump at 4-8. She is one jumping height away from qualifying for state at 4-10. Junior Morgan Kerkman placed ninth at 4-04.
Sophomore Taryn Whisler swept the distance events as she took the lead and kept it in both events. She won the 3200 in 12:36.41. Whisler also won the 1600 with a time of 5:37.60.
The girls’ 4x200 placed first with a 1:51.34 with sophomore Ellie Schroeder, Brady, sophomore Lilly Johnson, and senior Kenna Druecker. They are 1.10 seconds from punching their ticket to state.
The girls’ 4x100 also won the gold at 52.60 with Schroeder, senior Fatima Alemam, Druecker, and junior Lexi Saunders.
In the long jump, Saunders earned the silver at 15-10. Alemam placed third with a leap of 15-8.50. Johnson was eighth at 14-7.
Sophomore Riley Ruhaak placed third in the 1600 at 4:51.73. He was 0.41 seconds behind second place.
The boys’ 4x800 A-squad finished second with an 8:32.77 and runners Nikkel, senior Ben Finnegan, sophomore Hunter Lavin, and Dobney. The B-squad placed fourth at 9:49.92 with junior Brady Martinez, senior Regan Heine, senior Mason Schroeder, and junior Evan Rasmussen.
Lavin placed fourth in the 400 at 57.22. Senior Gray Peterson finished at a close sixth with 57.67. Four other runners finished in 57 seconds as well.
Johnson was fourth in the triple jump with a distance of 31-3.50. DeJong placed ninth at 28-11.25.
In the 800, Sorensen placed fifth with a 2:09.29. Finnegan was sixth at 2:10.31.
The boys’ 4x100 placed fourth in 47.82 with junior Brock Voss, sophomore John LaCognata, junior Camerin Davoux, and senior Harrison Freeman.
The boys’ medley also placed fourth with a 4:22.76. The relay was made of freshman Kaleb Preister, Peterson, Davoux, and Rasmussen.
Freshman Zach Brady threw a personal best in the shot put and placed fifth at 39-2.05. Senior Cameron Smith placed tenth at 36-10.
Martinez placed fifth in the 3200 with an 11:05.41.
In the 300 hurdles, sophomore Amber Schulz finished sixth in 55.62.
Freshman Emma Heine threw 29-10 in the shot put to place seventh.
Sophomore Tyson Hage finished seventh in the discus with a throw of 110-3.
Voss placed ninth in the 100 at 12.23.
The team will run, jump, and throw again this Thursday at the Yankton First Dakota Relays, beginning at 1 p.m.