SIOUX FALLS — As dominant as Elizabeth Schaefer has been in her track career at Rapid City Stevens, she had one extra hurdle to clear at the Class AA State Track and Field championships.
Ranked second in the 300 hurdles going in, she still completed the sweep by winning both events Saturday for the Raiders.
With that, she completed a stellar prep career for the Raiders during which the Augustana University commit won five consecutive state titles in the 300 and three in the 100. Schaefer’s effort helped lift the Raiders into a fifth-place finish (76 points) in a highly competitive Class AA girls team race behind Sioux Falls Lincoln (88), Sioux Falls O’Gorman (86), Sioux Falls Roosevelt (80) and Brandon Valley (78).
Schaefer, voted as the Class AA Girls MVP track winner, opened the day with an impressive performance in the 100-meter hurdles shellacking the field with a personal record 14.57 seconds in the event.
“The 100 was the toughest this year,” Schaefer said. “I think there were four or five girls under 15 seconds coming in so it was the most stacked hurdle race I’ve ever been a part of. Definitely knowing any of my competitors could win, too, helped push me to a PR, too.”
Following the win in the 300-meter hurdles (44.11), Schaefer admitted to a relief of sorts to have completed her high school hurdles career.
“Actually, it’s kind of a relief to have that behind me. And kind of bitter-sweet I must say too, and kind of emotional,” she said. “Though I have felt a lot of pressure at times, but that hasn’t been all bad. I’ve learned that track season teaches me a lot more lessons than just about track.”
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Other top-five finishes for the Raider girls included Kyah Watson in the 100-meters (fourth), a fourth in the 4X200 relay (Sawyer Enders Erwin, Jayda McNabb, Abbie Noga and Watson) and a third in the 4X400 relay (Schaefer, Carsyn Mettler, Abbie Noga and Kaili Chikos).
Though the Rapid City Central girls did not post a win on Saturday, Cobbler athletes did post some high finishes highlighted by Hannah Young, who took third in the 100-meters and fourth in the 200-meters, and shared second with teammates (Hayleigh Young, Alyssa Burke, Lauren Sperlich) in the 4X200-meter relay.
The Class AA boys' team race was a one-sided affair with Sioux Falls Lincoln (169.50) cruising to an easy win followed by Sioux Falls Washington (94), Aberdeen Central (73) and Rapid City Stevens (57).
Top five-point producers for the Raiders on Saturday included Luke Meyer (fifth in the 1600), the 4X100 relay team of Joe Spray, Nathan Bender, Sam Marchiando and Tyler Bradley with a second-place finish, a second in the 4X200 meter relay (Spray, Bender, Damon Lushbough and Tyler Bradley), and a fifth-place finish by the Raider 4X400 relay squad of Isaiah Morin-Baxter, Zane Stehman, Tanner Smith and Damon Lushbough.
For Rapid City Central (seventh in Class AA boys), the 4X400 relay team (Blake DeVries, Erik Keohane, Jace Oldham and Kayleb Twomey) finished third.
And Sturgis Brown captured the Class AA boys 1,600 spring medley anchored by Friday 800-meter winner Ethan Brenneman and teammates Trevor Christman, Casey Taul and Jared Sailer.
Complete results of Saturday's Class AA action can be found online at rapidcityjournal.com.