Thinclads have High Hopes for Successful Spring
by Jay Davis
The 2012 Tiger track and field team enters the season with a core group of athletes who were in the upper echelon of the state last spring.
Senior Bailley Friesz and junior Daniel Roberts were on the brink of a state championship, each taking second place at the State A Track and Field Meet last May. Friesz took second in the 400 and Roberts was runner-up in the discus. Eighth-grader Cassi Heumiller was right up front with a third-place finish in the 3200 and senior Kass Keller was sixth in the 400. Roberts placed twice last spring, taking eighth in the shot put, while Bailley Friesz, senior Peyton Friesz and junior Cody Schaefbauer ran legs on the 1600-meter relay team that placed seventh in state.
“They have high hopes and should do well,” said coach Rhonda Frederick.
In addition, the Tigers have sophomores Austin Borah, Mitch Heumiller and Jason Hill and freshman Mason Keller, who all earned trips to state last year. The Lady Tigers add senior Daysia Wiederholt, junior Callie Slater, sophomore Steph Gemar and freshman Maranda Wagner, who all qualified for state last spring.
Filling out the Tiger roster are senior Dylan Mickelson, juniors Grant Brewer, Stephen Gemar, Cody Hanson, Daniel Hintz and Brady Spiry, sophomores Lukas Schwieters and Conner Stoick, and freshmen Kenny Helm, David Jensen and Justin Nobles.
“If the boys can stay healthy, they should have a lot of success,” said Frederick. “We have a lot of kids who do the same things so we’ll have to be creative with our relays.”
The rest of the Lady Tiger roster is junior Ariel Bieber, sophomores Steph Gemar, Kayleigh Henderson, Mary Martin-Goldsmith, Keshia Milliken and Ashton Wiederholt and freshmen Brandi Martian, Rebecca Martin and Sadie Pollock.
“The girls don’t have as much depth,” said Frederick. “But with Kass, Cassi and Steph leading the way, we should be able to score some points.”
The team also had some record-setting performances last spring. Keller and Heumiller set new standards for the Lady Tigers. Keller ran the 400 in1:00.33 in Eureka last spring. Heumiller ran her 1600 at state in a Lady Tiger best 5:25.87. The boys’ 1600-meter relay team that included Borah, Schaefbauer, Bailley Friesz and Anton Bengtsson set a new Tiger mark with a time of 3:31.83. Also during the season, Bailley Friesz set the new 400-meter time at the Eureka Legion meet and boys’ relay teams set new standards in the 400- and 800-meter relays at the Eureka Lions meet.
“The kids are working hard in practice,” said Frederick. “They are pushing each other every day. The practices have been shorter and more productive. We haven’t always had that.”
The Tigers and Lady Tigers open the season at the NSU Indoor Meet on Friday, but it will be just a partial squad for the unsanctioned meet. Frederick said the team will be mostly runners who need some early seasoning and a few who want to get a head start at the indoor meet.
“Thursday will be here soon enough,” said Frederick.
Thursday, of course, is the annual Mobridge-Pollock Early Bird Meet, kicking off the season. The meet will start at 10 a.m. Herreid-Selby Area, McLaughlin, Lemmon, Faith, McIntosh, Wakpala, Bison, Standing Rock and Strasburg are already committed to compete with the Tigers.
“It’s not a lot of teams, but it is a good way to get started,” said Frederick.
The annual Rotary/Tiger Invitational is slated for April 20. The rest of the schedule is on the road. There have been a couple additions to the schedule, setting the Tigers to compete against some of the best athletes the state can provide.
“Bailley and Kass have been invited to run in the special 400 at the Black Hills Relays,” said Frederick. “So we’re taking the entire team.”
The Black Hills Relays, in Sturgis on April 28, will replace the Ipswich meet that was previously on the schedule. The Tigers will also be taking athletes to the Sioux Falls Relays on May 4 and 5. The Sioux Falls Relays will not be for the entire team as there will be qualifying standards that must be met before and runners any throwers can make the field.
The Tigers’ two conference meets are the Big Dakota in Chamberlain on April 17 and the Central South Dakota in Miller on May 12. Other road dates will be in Groton (twice), Gettysburg, Eureka (twice) and Ipswich. This year’s Region 6A Meet will be in Chamberlain. The State A Track and Field Meet will be in Spearfish and Rapid City.