JAY DAVIS: Tigers on brink of history
Mobridge-Pollock sports history has a couple chances to be rewritten this weekend at the State Track and Field Meet in Sioux Falls.
Seniors Steph Gemar and Austin Borah are the Tigers with shots at history in the making.
Gemar is out to defend her state discus championship. If she can pull it off, she will become the first Lady Tiger and just the second athlete in Mobridge history to win back-to-back state championships in one event.
In fact, only one Tiger ever has won two state championships. While Mobridge has had 17 different state title winners (13 individual, four runners from the 2012 state champion 1600-meter relay team), only LeRoy Van Orman, who won the state pole vault title in 1954 and 1955, has repeated as the state champ.
Lawrence Marshall, who won the 100-yard dash, 220-yard dash and broad jump in 1925, is the only Tiger to win state titles in more than one event. Gemar and Borah are both looking to join that ultra-elite list.
Gemar is not only the top seed in discus with a Class A leading 134 feet, 3 inches, she is also fifth in shot put. It will take work to win a second discus title. Mackenzie Huber and Kallie Bell, both of Clark-Willow Lake, have gone as far as 128-10 and 126-2 this year. They are also both right-handed. That means something in discus. Gemar is usually the only lefty in the field and the wind usually favors the majority. She’ll need to go a little wacky in the shot put. Gemar’s career long is 37-4. Emma Johnson of Tri-Valley leads the field at 40-4.
Borah was a member of that 2012 state champion 1600-meter relay team. He is running four events this weekend, the open 400 and the 400-, 800- and 1600-meter relays. If Borah and his running mates can get to three finals, Borah will become the all-time Tiger leader in medals won in state competition. He won seven medals in his first three trips to state.
Getting to that magic number 10 would put him past the nine medals won by Bailley Friesz (2009-2012) and Derrick Orth (1994-1997). Cody Schaefbauer (2011-2013) is one back with eight state medals. Discus state champions Bill Hardcastle (2003-2006) and Daniel Roberts (2010-2013) are tied with Borah, winning seven medals each.
Borah has some Lady Tigers to get past, too. Four girls are tied at the top of the Lady Tiger medal heap. Kelly Palmer (1989-1993), Mandy Shillingstad (1989-1993), Jennifer Wales (1989-1993) and Angie Quaschnick (1997-2000) won eight medals each. Jodi Rabenberg (1990-1993) won seven medals at state.
Borah and his fellow Tigers will have their work cut out for them. The relay teams are not the favorites they have been the last couple of years. In the open 400, Borah is ranked fifth. His qualifying time of 51.4 seconds might not be fast enough this weekend. He has an advantage in the prelims. He will run right beside state leader Trey Furgeson of Lennox, who has run a 49.8.
The relay teams all have to be better than they have been of late. The 400-meter and 1600-meter teams are ranked ninth. The 800-meter team is ranked seventh. Borah and teammates Conner Stoick, Mitch Heumiller, Jason Hill and Mason Keller should have an advantage this weekend. They all know what it is like to compete against the best competition and they have a lot of experience running on the state’s biggest stage.
If things go they way Tigerdom wants this weekend, there will be some good stories to tell in the first week of June.