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Track season to start, finally, Thursday

“We might even get on the track Wednesday and work on our handoffs.”
That’s what Mobridge-Pollock track and field coach Cody Stotz said on Tuesday as the team does its best to get ready to compete at the American Legion Relays in Pierre on Thursday.
Hoping the team can get to Tiger Stadium and not have to practice relay handoffs indoors is just an example of the difficulties the snow-filled spring has brought to the track team.
Just when it looked like the Tigers and Lady Tigers were going to get a week on the track, last week’s nine and a half inches of snow (not my measurement) put an end to any on-track running for the time being. As of today (Tuesday), the snow is pretty much gone from the track, but getting through the muck and mud is going to be a problem for a couple more days.
Spending practice in the gym, weight room and hallways has been taxing, not just for the 46-member high school team, but also the middle school team which makes more than 100 athletes crammed into a small area, trying to figure out impromptu ways to prepare for running.
Stotz said the team is getting tired of the mundane practices.
“They are getting a little bored,” said Stotz, adding they are itching for some competition.
How late are the Tigers getting the season underway? The season started with nine track meets on the schedule. With Groton cancelling next week’s meet, there are just four left. That is not much time for the team to get ready to compete at the state and region level.
Stotz said they are looking for places to add to the schedule, but must do so without overtaxing the team with too many meets bunched together.
“We are also looking for a day we can hold the Rotary or at least a home meet,” said Stotz.
As for what to expect when the team finally gets to see competition on Thursday, success will be hard to judge. The Pierre meet is about mostly AA teams. At last years’ meet, the Tigers raced against 13 AA teams and a half-dozen A teams. It will be difficult to garner any hardware. Last year the Tigers placed in three events.
“It’s always a little intimidating to run against AA teams,” said Stotz, “but when it comes down to it, they get to run.”
There are 28 Tigers and 18 Lady Tigers out for the team.
“The boys have some depth,” said Stotz. “We have about eight kids who can run the 400 so we’re pretty crammed there. The girls are a little thin, but we do have some sprinters.”
He added that the throwers have some depth, but need to get to throw. There is long distance talent but a lot of it is young.
“Especially with the girls,” said Stotz.
Last year a foursome of seventh graders ran the 4×800 at regions, took second and ran again at state. They, along with some other talented middle schoolers, will start the season on the middle school team. Stotz said they need to race to show the evidence they are ready to move up. That could be as soon as next Friday at the annual MYO Middle School Track and Field Meet.
Eight Tigers and eight Lady Tigers who competed at state last year are back. Tigers with state experience are senior Noah Feyereisen, junior Kregen Norder and sophomores Cayden Eisemann, Braden Goehring, Bryston Goehring, Gabe Jerome, Gavin Reinert and Zane Reinert. Lady Tigers who went to state last year are senior Hayley Borah, juniors Myia Feist, Tish Mousseau and Kendra Wanner, sophomores Emily Wientjes and Megan Zahn and freshmen Landyn Henderson and Draeya Halsey. The eighth graders who ran at state last year as seventh graders are Mariah Goehring, Emily Hatzenbuhler and Gretchen Olson.
Stotz has a good idea who will run, throw and jump in each event on Thursday, but it will have the feel of an early bird meet.
He and coaches, J.J. Beadle, Mike Norder, Bryan Zahn and Shalena Zeller will have a lot of decisions to make after they’ve seen how things shake out in Pierre.
“From our perspective it’s a little hard to figure out where to put people,” said Stotz. “Hayley Borah and Braxton Albers will run open 400s and our relay teams that went to state will run together.”
Stotz is just happy that everyone finally gets the chance to compete.
“We get the opportunity to run and get some times,” said Stotz, “and we’ll go from there.”
Here are the entire rosters.
Tigers: Seniors- Braxton Albers, Noah Feyereisen, Noah Fried; juniors- Caden Halsey, Jon Keller, Brady Malmedal, Josh Norder, Kregen Norder, Keene Schlomer, Connor Unterseher; sophomores- Michael Borah, Cayden Eisemann, Hudson Filler, Braden Goehring, Bryston Goehring, Gabe Jerome, Chaseten Myers, Gavin Reinert, Zane Reinert; freshmen- Brady Bauer, Ketch Claymore, Chad Good Shield, Caellan McCollam, Ashton Pfitzer, Will Redmond, Parker Schatz, Blaise Thompson, Connor Wipf.
Lady Tigers: Seniors- Hayley Borah, Alyssa Gustafson; juniors- Myia Feist, Shantell King, Tish Mousseau, Kendra Wanner; sophomores- Natalia Gonzales, Liberty Schaefbauer, Brookelynn Vogel, Victoria Vogel, Khloe Wanner, Emily Wientjes, Megan Zahn; freshmen- Morgan Claymore, Draeya Halsey, Landyn Henderson, Emily Holzer, Leah Overland.