In its final competition before the Section 2AA track meet, the Marshall track and field team mixed it up a bit for Monday's Hutchinson Relays.
Instead of competing in individual events, the competitors were all grouped together in teams. There were traditional relays like the 4x400-meter relay, and runners also competed in non-traditional events like the distance medley relay, which consisted of a 400 dash, an 800 run, a 1,200 run and a 1,600 run. In the jumping and throwing events, the distances/heights of three teammates were combined for one score.
Fresh off their Southwest Conference championship, the Marshall boys' track team finished in a tie for third in the eight-team event. Willmar won the relays with a score of 196, just four points ahead of host Hutchinson. Marshall ended the competition with 131 points, as did Waconia.
Behind a strong performance from its distance runners, who set two meet records, the Marshall girls' team finished in fourth place with 152 points. The top three squads were Willmar (210), Waconia (164) and Hutchinson (161).
Even with missing one of his top athletes, as Promise Nkwocha was on a field trip, Marshall boys' head coach Mike Jacobs said he thought his squad performed admirably in a tough field.
"Hutchinson has got a really strong team this year, the strongest we've seen from them in a long time. And Willmar has been consistently good but they're even up this year as well," Jacobs said. "It was a tough competition and we're 60 points away, and throw in Promise and it's probably only about a 40-point difference."
Marshall's lone win came in the 4x400 relay. Rhett Struve, Zach Drum, Salah Haji and Sam Marshall combined to run a time of three minutes, 37 seconds.
Struve was also ran the first leg for Marshall's runner-up sprint medley team, the second leg for the third-place short sprint medley relay team and competed for the Tigers' third-place long jump relay team. Jacobs said he has been impressed with Struve's performances down the stretch run of the season.
"We're continue to get good 400 runs by (Sam) Marshall, Struve, and also Salah Haji," Jacobs said. "Struve seems to get stronger as the year goes on and has really improved the last three meets. In the long jump he had a career best of 20-5."
The Tigers didn't get in the top three in either of the throwing events, but Jacobs said his top thrower, Brock Baumgarn, also had a good day.
"He threw a 44-10 in the shot today. He had kind of plateaued around 40 until the conference meet when he hit 45," Jacobs said, "and it's nice to see it two meets in a row now where he's had some very strong tosses."
The Marshall girls' day was highlighted by a pair of meet records.
Marshall's 4x800 relay team of Madi Verschaetse, Nichole Sample, Claire Boersma and Jenna Christianson finished in first place with a time of 9:55, which broke the meet record by 20 seconds. The same group combined to set another record in the distance medley with a time of 12:56, which broke the previous record by minute. Christianson ran the 400, Verschaetse ran the 800, Boersma ran the 1,200 and Sample anchored the relay by running a 5:19 mile.
It was just the type of warm-up Marshall girls' head coach Marie Sample was looking for out of a group that is looking to make noise at next week's section meet.
"For the kids trying to get to state, I know who they are what they're doing and that particular group performed very well today," Sample said. "The Willmar coach even came up afterwards and talked about how good they looked.
"It's just a solid group of kids. They ran three relays together today and they're ready. They came in with tired legs and still performed well and we're very excited about that group.
Marshall's 4x1,600 relay team of Sydney Blomme, Courtney Mauch, Jackie Turner and Shyla Hansen also had a strong day, finishing second in the 4x1,600 with a time of 23:36.
Sample noted that her throwers continued to show great improvement, as well. The group of Celeste Werner, Haley Bennett and Sara Antony took second in the discus (298-10) and third in the shot put (92-00.75), with multiple personal bests being thrown on the day.
The event allowed for more than one relay team from each school to compete in each event and Sample said some of the kids she brought to the competition had only competed in one other meet this year and that Monday marked the end of what was a short track season for many of them due to the late arrival of spring.
"I always hate to see the end of the year and saying goodbye to kids. It feels like the season just started," Sample said. "It's really be a tight-knit group that's become like a family. They're always encouraging each other and the atmosphere they've created has been really motivating, whether it's for a slow runner or a fast runner.
"With our girls that continue the season, we have our minds set on sections and we're excited about what's to come."
The Section 2AA meet takes place May 29 and May 31 at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter
Boys' Team Results: 1. Willmar 196, 2. Hutchinson 192, t-3. Marshall 131, t-3. Waconia 131, 5. New Ulm 113, 6. Dassel-Cokato 104, 7. Jordan 69, 8. St. Croix Prep 45.
Marshall Boys' Relay Results
4x1,600m: 3. Wade DeAustin Andrew Bell, Blaine Moran Mike Larson 18:30.
4x100m: 5. Drew Tykwinski, Brock Baumgarn, Coby Hilton, John Lothert 49.5
Sprint Medley (200m, 200m, 400m, 800m): 2. Rhett Struve, Lothert, Sam Marshall, Larson 3:47
Short Sprint Medley (100m, 100m, 200m, 400m): 3. Tykwinski, Struve, Marshall, Salah Haji 1:41.
Distance Medley (400m, 800m, 1,200m, 1,600m): 3. Ryan Schultz, Bilal Ali, DeAustin, Bell 11:50
4x200m: 5. Zach Drum, Bryan Rose, Trevor Johnson, Lothert 1:41.3.
4x400m 1. Struve, Drum, Haji, Marshall 3:37.
High Jump: 2. Schultz, Brandon Verkinderen, Joe Sullivan 15-6.
Long Jump: 3. Struve, Drum, Hilton 55-9.
Triple Jump: 2. Drum, Lothert, Justin Elton 113-10.
Shot Put: 4. Baumgarn, Brandon Appel, Nick Versaevel 114-8.
Discus: 7. Baumgarn, Appel, Max Roelfsema 282-00.
Girls' Team Results: 1. Willmar 210, 2. Waconia 164, 3. Hutchinson 161, 4. Marshall 152, 5. Dassel-Cokato 136, 6. New Ulm 77, t-7. Jordan 46, t-7. St. Croix Prep 46.
Marshall Girls' Relay Results
4x1,600m: 2. Sydney Blomme, Courtney Mauch, Jackie Turner, Shyla Hansen 23:36
Shuttle Hurdles: 5. Rachel Miller, Jessica Oaxaca, Ashley Dunn, Emily Buysse 1:10.4
4x100m: 3. Brittany Andreas, Kendra Soupir, Belle Dieken, Samantha Giannelli 53.81.
4x800m: 1. Madi Verschaetse, Nichole Sample, Claire Boersma, Jenna Christianson 9:55. meet record by 20 seconds
300m Hurdles: 4. Miller, Oaxaca, Dunn, Lucress St-Louis 3:26.5.
4x200m: 3. Abby Louwagie, Soupir, Sophie Buysse, Dieken 1:56.1.
4x400m: 4. Verschaetse, Sample, Boersma, Christianson 4:21.8.
Distance Medley (400m, 800m, 1,200m, 1,600m): 1. Christianson, Verschaetse, Boersma, Sample 12:56. set meet record by a minute
Shot Put: 3. Celeste Werner, Haley Bennett, Sara Antony 92-00.75.
Discus: 2. Werner, Bennett, Antony 298-10.
Triple Jump: 4. Sarah Andersen, Sophie Buysse, Jenna Kurth 92-01.
Long Jump: 3. Andersen, Louwagie, Emily Buysse.