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The Last Chance Track and Field Meet at Douglas Tuesday was just that, one more chance for athletes to qualify for the Class AA state meet in Sioux Falls next weekend.

For some, that meant it was a chance to qualify for an event they hadn't done in a long time.

Rapid City Stevens sprinter Nathan Bender had already qualified in the 100-meter dash, but decided during the last meet of the regular season to try the long jump.

"I’ve always really liked long jump. When I was in eighth grade I did it and I was pretty good in that," he said. "Last year I focused on sprints, which is my main thing, and then I decided to try this."

As an eighth-grader he was able to clear lengths of 18 feet, and as a sophomore Tuesday it didn't take long for him to make his schedule during the state meet a little more busy.

He faulted on his first jump, but during the second jump he cleared 21 feet, 3 inches.

"I was super excited. I did not expect to jump that far," he said. "I know there’s a lot better competition at state, and I’m relatively new to this. My technique is pretty bad, but hopefully I can clean it up and get better."

Bender ended up finishing second at the event, as Rapid City Central's Julian Swallow won with a mark of 21-4 ¾. Bender won the 200-meter dash with a personal record time of 22.54 seconds.

Bender was also a member of the Raiders' 4x200 meter relay team of Joe Spray, Damon Lushbough and Tyler Bradley that won the race in 1:30.54.

He wasn't the only one trying new things Tuesday.

"We had some throwers running in the 100, people are all over the place," Bender said with a smile. "It’s just what people want to try and want to get better at, we go into it fresh."

Jordynn Toliver of Douglas was one of those people interested in trying something she hadn't for awhile. Before Tuesday, the senior hadn't triple jumped since her sophomore year.

A lightning delay stopped the meet for an hour and 10 minutes right as the girls' triple jump was starting, and Toliver said it was a situation where she wanted to see if she could stretch herself and try something new.

"I hope I can pick it up again," she said laughing during the delay. "My coach said I should try it out again. Coach has been working with me one on one when everyone has done so that helped a lot."

She finished sixth in the event with a mark of 34-3 ¾. Sturgis' Loralee Stock won the event with a mark of 35-6 ¾.

One event Toliver is more familiar with is the 100 hurdles, and she benefited from one of the closest finishes of the day.

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She edged out the defending state champion in the event, Central's Emilee Nickel, with a personal record time of 15.38 seconds to Nickel's 15.51.

Toliver's 15.69 mark in the preliminaries was also a personal record before her performance in the finals.

"It’s pretty intimidating racing against Emilee, with her winning state," she said. "You just have to stay in your own race, I could see her in my peripherals next to me but if you start looking to the side you could get intimidated and mess up."

In the girls' 300 hurdles, Elizabeth Schaefer achieved one of the only goals she hadn't in her decorated career.

Schaefer's mark of 43.62 broke a Stevens record in the event set by Emily DeVries in 2007.

She's come close before, hitting times under 44 seconds in her freshman and sophomore years, which made the moment all the more sweet.

"I’ve always been really close. It’s always been a goal since (ninth grade) and so to get it on the last meet before state of my senior year is really cool," she said. "I knew it felt good. I didn’t know if I was going to get it, but I knew I was going to be in the low 44s or 43s."

It's been something she said she thought about in practice, trying to hit times that would put her on a path to break the record. Now, she has it. 

"It’s ranked really high," she said of where the record stands on her list of career accomplishments. "That record is something that’s been standing for a long time, so it’s a really big accomplishment."

Schaefer's 4x100 meter relay team of Sawyer Enders-Erwin, Abbie Noga and Kyah Watson won in 49.32.

Other boys' winners included: Tyler Bradley of Stevens in the 100 (10.91), Damon Lushbough of Stevens in the 400 (52.62), Ethan Brenneman of Sturgis (1:57.33), Jackson Wilson of Douglas in the 1,600 (4:31.93), Nate Anderson of Sturgis in the 3,200 (11:10.01), Tayler Opstedahl of Sturgis in the 110 hurdles (15.49) and Gavin West of Sturgis in the 300 hurdles (42.10).

In the boys' relays, the Central team of Jace Oldham, Te Jon Rogers, Kayleb Twomey and Jeremy Weidmann won the 4x100 (44.29) and the Spearfish team of Connor Glasford, Ryan Peldo, Ryan Rafferty and Bridger Roberdeau won the 4x400 (3:39.75).

In the field events, Evan Hehr of Spearfish won the shot put (47-3 ¾), Ryan Brink of Stevens in the discus (133-10), Micah Swallow of Central in the high jump (6-2), West in the pole vault (11-10) and Aubrey Williams of Stevens in the triple jump (44-11 ½).

Other girls' winners included: Hannah Young of Central in the 100 (12.39) and 200 (25.36), Lyndey Dean of Spearfish in the 400 (1:02.11), Hailey Uhre of Stevens in the 800 (2:27.38), Alissa Wieman of Douglas in the 1,600 (5:27.46).

In the relays, the Stevens team of Enders-Erwin, Jayda McNabb, Noga and Watson won the 4x200 (1:45.93) and the Spearfish team of Dean, Alexis Louis, Tessa Lucas and Mikayla Tracy won the 4x400 (4:08.97).

In the field events, Angeline Rasby of Central won the shot put (33-3 ½), Savannah Perez of Stevens won the discus (121-6), Olivia Jolly of Sturgis won the high jump (5-0), Cassidy Jorensen of Sturgis in the pole vault (9-10), Makayla Keffeler of Sturgis won the long jump (16-1 ¾).

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Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.