The Marshall boys' and girls' track and field teams got to get a peek at their competition for next week's Southwest Conference meet during Thursday's Worthington Trojan Relays, and the Tigers found they have a little ground to make up on Luverne.
The Marshall boys' and girls' teams each finished second in the Class AA division, which consisted of eight teams. Luverne won the boys' competition with 165 points, while Marshall was second at 135.5. The Luverne girls had a team score of 191.5, which was 54 points ahead of second-place Marshall.
"I feel like we had a good day. We had a couple kids missing," Marshall girls' head coach Marie Sample said. "Courtney VanKeulen was out of the high jump; Nichole Sample was sick, she ran a leg in the 4x800 but couldn't run the mile or the 4x400. Sarah Buysse has been out since Howard Wood with a hamstring issue."
All the Southwest Conference teams but Redwood Valley took part in Thursday's Trojan relays. Marshall boys' head coach Mike Jacobs said that based on a previous meet in Pipestone, he feels the Tigers and Redwood Valley are fairly even. The concern is making up points to be able to catch Luverne.
"When I look at it we're just about 30 points behind Luverne, but we screwed up two of the relays with a couple of fifth-place finishes that were probably our worst-run relays in quite a while. We had been decidedly faster, so there's room there for improvement, as well as in the triple jump, the long jump and the throws. There are a lot of places we can score better.
"It's happened a number of times where we've been 25 to 30 points behind a team at this race and come out on top a week later at the conference meet," Jacobs added. "It's not an unfamiliar role that we're playing. Guys have a habit of rising to the occasion."
With six first-place finishes, the Tigers had several athletes rise to the occasion Thursday.
Andrew Bell had a big day in the distance events, taking top honors in both the 1,600-meter run (4 minutes, 47 seconds) and the 3,200 run (10:21). He also ran a leg in the winning 4x400 relay team (3:40.36) that also consisted of Promise Nkwocha, Rhett Struve and Sam Marshall.
"Andrew Bell is Mr. Consistent," Jacobs said. "He won the mile and the two mile, and then 20 minutes later ran the 4x400 and gave us an OK quarter at 56 seconds. He's just a very strong competitor for us and has a lot of determination."
Jacobs said Mike Larson has also shown that determination this season, as he did Thursday in the 800 run. He won the event with a time of 2:08.31.
Other winners for Marshall Thursday were Nkwocha in the 300 hurdles (43.92) and Sam Marshall in the 400 dash (53.85).
The Tiger girls were missing some strong competitors Thursday, including sprinter Sarah Buysse, but still had a respectable showing as a team.
"We had a lot of cool things happen," Sample said. "Madi Verschaetse won the 800 and ran a really great race. Claire Boersma won the mile and ran a really great race. Our sprint relays did decent today. Sarah Andersen jumped well, she won the triple jump today."
Marshall had four winners on the day. The Tigers dominated the top spots in the distance events. Madi Verschaetse won the 800 run (2:32.03), Claire Boersma took first in the 1,600 run (5:34.69) and Jackie Turner was the winner of the 3,200 run (12:08.87).
Senior Sarah Andersen added the Tigers' other first-place finish, winning the triple jump with a distance of 34 feet, 4.75 inches.
The Tiger track program was trying to schedule a home meet for this coming Monday, but Jacobs said that now likely won't happen. Their next scheduled competition is the Southwest Conference meet next Thursday in Redwood Falls.
"Luverne beat us by 50 points, but we were missing so many people," Sample said. "But really it was a good day. Haley Bennett PR'd in the discus today. Jackie Turner and Shyla Hansen went 1-2 in the two-mile. A lot of good performances, I'm happy with this going into conference."
Boys AA Team Results: 1. Luverne 165, 2. Marshall 135.5, 3. Jackson County Central 82.5, 4. Worthington 77, 5. Windom Area 68, 6. Montevideo 66, 7. New Ulm 65, 8. Pipestone Area 41.
Marshall Indvidual Results
4x800m: 4. Wade DeAustin, Bilal Ali, Blaine Moran, Walker DeAustin 9:36.
110m Hurdles: 3. Danny West 17.09.
4x200m: 5. Promise Nkwocha, Rhett Struve, Ali, Sam Marshall 1:40.45
1,600m: 1. Andrew Bell 4:47; 5. Mike Larson 4:54.
4x100m: 5. Drew Tykwinski, Salah Haji, Ryan Schultz, John Lothert 48.93.
400m: 1. Marshall 53.85; 7. Haji 57.9.
300m Hurdles: 1. Nkwocha 43.92; 3. Schultz 46.26.
800m: 1. Larson 2:08.31.
200m: 3. Struve 24.24; 8. Bryan Lee Rose 25.62.
3,200m: 1. Bell 10:21; 4. Wade DeAustin 10:49.
4x400m: 1. Nkwocha, Bell, Struve, Marshall 3:40.36.
High Jump: 3. Schultz 5-06; 7. Brandon Verkinderen 5-02.
Long Jump: 7. Struve 18-05.
Discus: 5. Brock Baumgarn 109.
Shot Put: 7. Baumgarn 38-07.
Pole Vault: 3. Tykwinski 10-0; t-8. Noah Henle 7-0.
Triple Jump: 3. Zach Drum 39-07.75; 4. Nkwocha 39-2.5.
Girls AA Team Results: 1. Luverne 191.5, 2. Marshall 137.5, 3. Worthington 92, 4. Pipestone Area 72.5, 5. Jackson County Central 69, 6. Windom Area 61, 7. New Ulm 43.5, 8. Montevideo 28.
Marshall Individual Results
100m: 6. Kendra Soupir 13.92; 7. Brittney Andreas 13.94.
400m: 3. Jenna Christianson 1:05.07.
800m: 1. Madi Verschaetse 2:32.03; 4. Kayla Wartner 2:41.16.
1,600m: 1. Claire Boersma 5:34.69; 4. Shyla Hansen 6:05.51.
3,200m: 1. Jackie Turner 12:08.87; 2. Hansen 12:51.27.
100m Hurdles: 2. Rachel Miller 17.65; 7. Jessica Oaxaca 19.12.
300m Hurdles: 6. Miller 56.20.
4x100m: 3. Andreas, Sophia Buysse, Belle Dieken, Kendra Soupir 56.70.
4x200m: 3. Sarah Andersen, Soupir, Abby Louwagie, Buysse 1:58.97.
4x800m: 2. Boersma, Verschaetse, Nichole Sample, Christianson 10:13.38.
Shot Put: 6. Celeste Werner 29-05.25.
Discus: 3. Haley Bennett 96-08; 4. Werner 92-03.
High Jump: 4. Oaxaca 4-04.
Pole Vault: 3. Miller 7-06; t-7. Soupir 6-0.
Long Jump: 4. Andersen 15-00.5.
Triple Jump: 1. Andersen 34-04.75; 5. Buysse 30-03.25.