BRANDON — A runner-up finish by Matthew Mors in the high jump highlighted the Yankton Bucks’ opening day of the South Dakota State Class AA Track and Field Meet, Friday in Brandon.
Yankton has eight points in the boys’ division and seven points in the girls’ division after the opening day of competition.
Mors posted a season-best 6-5 in the high jump, finishing behind only the top seed, Rapid City Stevens’ Isaiah Morin-Baxter (6-6).
“That was a big deal for him,” Yankton head coach Luke Youmans said of the sophomore Mors. “He had to do a lot of things really well. He had to dig himself out of a couple of holes.”
After needing all three attempts to clear 6-2, Mors and Morin-Baxter were the only two athletes to clear 6-4. Both cleared 6-5 on their first attempt, with Morin-Baxter clearing 6-6 on his first attempt as well.
“I just competed. Mentally I had to stay focused,” Mors said. “I’ve been working really hard all year. My form is coming along.”
Mors will look to carry that momentum into today’s (Saturday) long jump final. He enters the event seeded ninth.
“This is my first year long jumping since seventh grade. It’s been a little tougher,” he said. “I’ve had to learn that form all over again.”
The Yankton Gazelles finished fourth in the 3200 relay, with the foursome of Sydnee Serck, Payton Wolfgram, Thea Chance and Madisyn Bietz finishing in 9:47.12.
“This is a young group for us,” Youmans said. Wolfgram is a junior, Bietz is a freshman, and Serck and Chance are eighth graders. “They were excited about it. They placed higher than their seed, ran a season-best time. It’s hard to be disappointed in that.”
Serck came back to finish eighth in the 800 (2:28.48), with Bietz (2:29.27) placing 10th. Chance just missed the podium in the 3200, finishing 10th in 12:03.40.
“She’s going to be a force for a lot of years to come,” Youmans said of Serck. “There are some really good runners in the state in that event.”
Madison Wuebben posted a season-best mark of 35-1 to place eighth in the girls’ triple jump. Wuebben was also 15th in the girls’ high jump, clearing 4-11.
“That was a nice surprise for us,” Youmans said. “She was doing triple jump and high jump simultaneously, and she had a really good day high jumping as well. She had a near-miss at 5-1, which would have given her a place.
“She’s a girl that’s been on the outside looking in all year. This was a good moment for her, to put it together when it counts.”
Also in the triple jump, Nykki Husman was 18th with a mark of 33-5 3/4.
The Bucks just missed the podium in the 3200 relay, as the foursome of Cole Rumsey, Austin Frick, Will Pavlish and Justin Cap finished 10th in 8:32.70. Pavlish also ran in the 800, placing 18th in 2:08.23.
Sadie Fedders placed 12th in the girls’ discus with a toss of 101-11. In the shot put, senior Lois Bottin (33-6) was 20th, with Fedders (30-5 1/4) 23rd.
Senior Miranda Schulte finished her career with a 17th place finish in the pole vault, clearing 9-3.
Entering as the bottom two seeds in the 24-athlete field, Yankton freshmen Bodie Rutledge (43-11) and Carson Haak (43-4) moved up to 20th and 22nd in the boys’ shot put.
The majority of the Yankton girls’ points could come today (Saturday), with a number of athletes in finals.
“We’re really looking forward to day two,” Youmans said. “Jaiden and Kelsey came in highly-ranked and performed well (in prelims), and both are in a 4-by-200 that is wide open. Both should have a monster day tomorrow.”
Qualifying for today’s finals:
— Jaiden Boomsma was fourth in the 100 (12.34), behind a state-record performance from Harrisburg’s Erin Kinney (11.85). She was also fourth in the 200 (26.46) and is also entered in today’s long jump final.
— Kelsey Oswald was fifth in the 300 hurdles (46.86) and sixth in the 100 hurdles (15.68).
— The Gazelles posted the third-fastest time in the 800 relay, as Madison Schroeder, Cora Schurman, Oswald and Boomsma finished in 1:46.09.
— The Gazelles posted the fifth-fastest time in the 1600 relay, as Annika Gordon, Serck, Josie Jensen and Oswald finished in 4:07.11.
— The Bucks posted the sixth-fastest time in the medley relay, as Owen Warren, Hunter Antrobus, Cap and Rumsey finished in 3:46.74.
— Chance and Bietz will also compete in the 1600 today. The 1600 is the one track event today that did not have prelims on Friday.
The Bucks’ medley finish was especially satisfying, knowing that two of the four runners sacrificed individual entries in order to be rested to compete in that relay.
“We had a couple of upperclassmen, Cap in the 400 and Rumsey in the 800, that wanted to give up their individual races to have a chance to qualify for finals in the medley,” Youmans said. “All four will be well-rested before the medley. They’re excited about it.”
Also competing in preliminaries on Friday:
— Kyler Lillie was 23rd in the 110-meter hurdles (17.63).
—Gordon was 13th in the girls’ 400, finishing in 1:03.01.
— The Gazelles just missed the finals in the 400 relay, as the foursome of Jensen, Schurman, Nykki Husman and Schroeder finishing 10th in 51.17.
— The Bucks just missed the finals of the 1600 relay, as Gavin Fortner, Matthew Mors, Rumsey and Cap finished 10th in 3:35.22.
— The Gazelles were 12th in the medley relay, as the foursome of Schroeder, Schurman, Jensen and Wolfgram finished in 4:27.74.
— The Bucks’ 800 relay finished 13th, with Warren, Antrobus, Cap and Michael Mors finishing in 1:36.07.
— The Bucks’ 400 relay finished 14th, with Warren, Antrobus, Lillie and Michael Mors finishing in 46.62.
Competition begins at 9 a.m. today, with all three classes competing at Howard Wood Field.
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