The plan for the first time out on the track in two years for Red Cloud sophomore Jade Ecoffey was to run hard, establish times and go from there.
Douglas sophomore Jason Maciejcza, meanwhile, is learning to put together technique and strength in the throws in just his second varsity meet.
Both came away with two wins Thursday at the Douglas Early Bird Track and Field Meet in Box Elder.
For Ecoffey, she might have to rethink those early-season plans as she won both the 1,600- and 800-meter runs, roaring from behind and sprinting her way to the win in the latter event.
In the 1,600, it was a blazing start that enabled her to run away from the pack.
"I didn't actually think I would get out that fast, being the first meet this season," Ecoffey said after the 1,600. "I wanted to get a steady-based time throughout the season, but I ended up better than I hoped, PRing. I wanted to get a 1:20 through the 400s and just try my hardest."
Ecoffey finished in a time of 5 minutes, 25.82 seconds, running in the slower first heat. She won the event by over a half lap over the second-place finisher.
"I'm in the slow heat, so I really didn't have anyone to gauge off, so I am running against the clock," she said. "I actually did a lot better than I expected to, so I was really happy about the race."
In the 800, she was fifth going around the first corner of the second lap and caught the leaders in the final 100 meters and showed her sprinting speed down the stretch for the win in 2:25.42. Custer's Ramsey Karim was second in to 2:26.48 and 2:26.88 for A.J. Carr of Rapid City Stevens.
"It's really cool because this is the first meet I have gone to in two years, so I am really excited to run track again," Ecoffey said. "I'm just going to go out hard."
Ecoffey said her goal is to make it to the state meet in the mile and 800 and get on the podium.
"I think that is realistic, and I am going to shoot for that all season. Just run hard every meet," she said.
Maciejczak scratched on four of six shot put throws last Saturday in the Rapid City Developmental Meet and still won the event. His strength basically powered him through to the win and he later finished second in the discus.
Thursday, Maciejczak lessened is scratches and again powered his way to the win. He then made it two-for-two by capturing the discus by battling high winds.
"I've fought though a little adversity in the last two meets, but I ended up in first place (Thursday) in both events," he said. "I worked really hard in this off-season and I have so much power now, I just have to learn to harness it. Once I start moving in the right direction, hopefully I can throw a little further."
Maciejczak won the shot put with a best toss of 51 feet, 11 inches. Isaac Perkins of Rapid City Stevens was second at 48-9 and Jarod Duran of Sturgis was third at 45-6.
Maciejczak said he is definitely learning on the fly. It was just his second varsity meet.
"Going from an 8.8 (pounds) to a 12 is a little bit of a learning curve," he said of junior high to high school varsity. "The discus going from a 1.0kg to a 1.6 is definitely a little adjustment, but I definitely got a little stronger since 8th grade, and the technique is better. I just have to get better like I did today."
His distance Thursday was two inches better in the shot put and just under eight feet more in the discus.
"I have to PR every meet to get to state, and hopefully place at the state meet," he said. "If the school records are in sight, whether I get there by the end of the season, they'll be there. I'm just going for a PR every meet, whether that's an inch or 10 feet."
Custer junior Kellyn Kortemeyer also won her two specialties — the shot and discus — for the second straight week. Kortemeyer won the shot put at 43-10, well ahead of teammate Hannah Golder at 34-1½. She also won the discus at 117-10, with Lane Blair of Kadoka Area at 102-11.
Other winners in the girls' division were Jayda McNabb of Rapid City Stevens in the 100 (13.03), Matayah Yellow Mule of Rapid City Central in the 200 (27.34), Cerington Jones of New Underwood in the 400 (1:00.42), Alissa Wieman of Douglas in the 3,200 (12:18.42), Jaylen Nachtigall of Hot Springs in the 100 hurdles (16.70), Anna Lewis of Custer in the 300 hurdles (49.51), Megan Baloun of Stevens in the high jump (5-0), Brekkan Lockhart of Stevens in the pole vault (8-0), Peyton Bagley of Central in the long jump (17-3½) and Bella Jensen of Belle Fourche in the triple jump (36-7).
In the girls relays, the Central A team won the 4X100 in 50.88, the Stevens A team won the 4X200 in 1:51.26 and the Raider B team won the 4X400 in 4:16.92, Custer A won the 4X800 in 10:16.38 and Sturgis A won the 1,600 sprint medley in 4:38.63.
Spearfish sophomore Jaden Guthmiller and Central senior Julian Swallow were also double winners in the boys' competition. Guthmiller won the 100 (11.22) and the 200 (23.03) and Swallow captured the long jump (21-5½) and the triple jump (43-4).
Other boys' winners were Chael Thorn of St. Thomas More in the 400 (53.01), Simeon Birnbaum, of Stevens in the 800 (2:00.14), Keenan Urdiales of Spearfish in the 1,600 (4:44.71), Sawyer Clarkson of Belle Fourche in the 3,200 (9:57.56), Mikael Grace of Custer in the 100 hurdles (16.37), Tanner Lunders of Stevens in the 300 hurdles (42.05), Brayden Delahoyde of Spearfish in the high jump (5-10) and Ashton Dekker of Custer in the pole vault (10-6).
In the boys' relays, Rapid City Central a won the 4X100 in 45.27, Spearfish A won the 4X200 (1:36.93), Sturgis A won the 4X400 in 3:37.45 and Custer A won both the 4X800 in 8:44.97 and the 1,600 sprint medley in 4:01.98.
Up next for many of the area teams is the Queen City Classic in Spearfish April 9.