Girls second, boys third at state

Jason Ferguson

Blake Boyster admits it—he was nervous prior to his 400 race at last weekend’s South Dakota Class A State Track Meet.
Once the gun went off to  start the race, however, the nerves went away and it was time to get down to business.
Halfway through the race, Boyster had posted a 24-second split, slower than what he wanted. When a teammate told him that time, he knew it was time to kick in a second gear and go faster.
At around the 250-meter mark, Boyster saw the race favorite, Tommy Nikkel of Dakota Valley, and noticed he was losing steam. It was then that Boyster thought to himself, “I could probably win this if I kicked it in a little harder.”
It was the last 100 meters when Boyster turned on the jets, and he eventually crossed the finish line as a state champion, winning the race in a time of 49.72.
“Having my teammates there cheering for me, hearing the crowd, it made me want to go a little faster,” he said.
Boyster also placed third in the 100 at 11.13 and fourth in the 200 at 22.41, and said he expected the 200 to be a better race for him at the meet, although he did expect to place in the 400. Now the 400 is a race in which he is a state champion.
“It feels great. I feel like I have achieved something pretty big now,” the sophomore said. “Hopefully I can get a lot more from here on out.”
Boyster was the only Wildcat—male or female—to win a championship, although the girls piled up enough points to come away with a runner-up trophy, while the boys finished in third. The two teams tied Sioux Falls Christian for the combined team title, although the Chargers were awarded the trophy based on their boys’ first-place finish in the boys team race.
The girls team was paced by thrower Kellyn Kortemeyer, who placed second in both of the throwing events, with a best throw of 135-5 in the discus and 44-5 in the shot put.
Custer picked up a third-place finish from Kadense Dooley in the 1600 at a time of 5:17.27, while Ramsey Karim was fourth in the same race at a time of 5:17.41. Both girls set a personal record in the race.
“We didn’t win any events on the girls side, but we had several personal records,” head coach Karen Karim said. “You can’t fault someone running faster than they have ever run before and getting beat.”
Karim and Dooley were also a part of the 3200 relay team that placed second, teaming up with Eva Studt and Brit Wheeler to post a time of 9:41.87. Karim and Dooley were also a part of the 1600 relay team, along with Josey Wahlstrom and Jordyn Larsen, that placed third at a time of 4:10.70.
Larsen’s relay medals were part of a strong meet on the track for the eighth grader, as she also placed fifth in both the 200 and 400 in times of 26.42 and 1:00.74, respectively.
Junior Josey Wahlstrom, who like Kortemeyer was a defending state champion, finished fourth in the meet in the event she had previously won a championship in, the pole vault.  Her top height was 9-3. Wahlstrom returned to the track as her first sport back from knee surgery.
Coach Karim pointed out both Kortemeyer and Wahlstrom have another year of track to go and will likely come back even hungrier next spring.
“You have to have been on top to get knocked down. Nobody can stay there every meet, every week, indefinitely,” she said. “I’m disappointed for them, but I’m not disappointed in them.”
Wahlstrom joined Dooley, Shaylee Gramkow and Sydney Gaulke to place fifth in the medley relay at a time of 4:26.54, while Anna Lewis capped off her high school career with a sixth-place finish in the 100 hurdles at 16.33 and a seventh-place finish in the 300 hurdles at 48.36.
Karim and Studt rounded out the placings for Custer by finishing seventh and eighth in the 800 at times of 2:25.70 and 2:26.14, respectively.
The Wildcats finished with 53 points, 13 points behind champion West Central. West Central was something of a one-girl show at the meet, as senior Averi Schmeichel scored 40 of the team’s points, winning the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 200 and long jump.
“They killed us with one star and a couple of other quality sprinters and jumpers,” Karim said. “I knew that we probably would not score exactly the way things were seeded because every time my kids ran seeded races they were fresh. When you put four races on those legs it’s hard to come back with their fastest times.”
After Boyster’s state championship, Mikael Grace was the next highest-placing Wildcat, as he won the silver medal in the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.38. Grace placed second in the race despite not being fully healthy for much of the end of the season.
Gage Tennyson grabbed a bronze medal in the long jump, with a top leap of 21-3 1/4. He was also a member of the 400 relay team that placed third, combining with Daniel Sedlacek, Jace Kelley and Boyster to post a time of 44.24.
Kelley and Sedlacek ran on four and three relays, respectively, that placed at the meet, and Karim said they were invaluable members of the team this year.
“It’s nice to have senior boys who are good athletes running track,” she said.
Three other Wildcat relays placed fifth at the meet. The 800 team of Sedlacek, Tennyson, Kelley and Grace did so in 1:32.48, while the 3200 team of Gage Grohs, Kaleb Wragge, Pierce Sword and Miles Ellman did so in 8:29.47. Ellman joined Sedlacek, Tennyson and Kelley to run the medley relay in 3:46.20. The final relay to place was the 1600 team of Kelley, Sam Gaulke, Wragge and Miles Ellman, which placed sixth at 3:34.48.
The Wildcats got a seventh-place finish in the pole vault from Robbie Emery, who as a freshman pole vaulted for the first time in his life this spring. Emery’s top height was 11-6.
The Wildcat got another seventh-place finish from Wragge in the 800, who posted a time of 2:03.02. The final Wildcat placing came from Ellman in the 1600 at 4:36.94.
Sioux Falls Christian dominated the team competition, piling 113.66 points, nearly twice what second-place Milbank had at 66 points. Custer finished with 53 points.
Like any state meet there were a few disappointments and a few unexpected finishes for the team, but both teams figure to be strong again next year—particularly a loaded girls team that will return the vast majority of points scored at this year’s meet.
“Our kids are achieving and exceeding what the expectations might be for a lot of them,” Karim said. “Hopefully they are getting something out of being a part of a successful team.
“It was a fun season. They did some great things. I thought they represented our school very well.”

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